First Lieutenant Robert M. Hanson, USMCR, (1920-1944)
Robert Murray Hanson was born on 4 February 1920 in Lucknow, India. He moved to Newton, Massachusetts with his family, then returned to India after school to become a wrestling champion of the United Provinces. While attending Hamline University at St. Paul, Minnesota, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve from Massachusetts in May 1942. Completing flight training in February 1943, he was designated an aviator and commissioned a Second Lieutenant. After briefly serving at the Marine Corps Air Base at Kerney Mesa, San Diego, California, he transferred to the First Marine Aircraft Wing and departed in June for combat duty to the Pacific war zone. In September, he was promoted to First Lieutenant.
During November 1943 to January 1944, Hanson served as a Fighter Pilot attached to Marine Fighting Squadron Two Hundred Fifteen (VMF-215) in aerial combat against the Japanese over Bougainville Island and New Britain. For his time in the area, he was accountable for downing 25 enemy aircraft. For his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" on these occasions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. On 3 February, he was killed in action when his plane crashed into the sea while on a mission over Rabaul, New Britain. Robert M. Hanson is marked at Newton Cemetery, New Center, Massachusetts and is listed on the "Wall of the Missing" at Manila Cemetery, Manila, Philippine Islands. Hawaii
USS Hanson, (DD/DDR 832), 1945-1973, was named in honor of First Lieutenant Robert M. Hanson.
This page features the only image we have concerning Robert M. Hanson.
Medal of Honor citation of First Lieutenant Robert M. Hanson, USMCR (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 201):
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