PEOPLE--UNITED STATES

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.


Photo #: NH 106213

First Lieutenant Robert M. Hanson, USMCR


Halftone reproduction of a photograph, copied from the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 201.
Robert M. Hanson was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" while serving as a Fighter Pilot attached to Marine Fighting Squadron Two Hundred Fifteen (VMF-215) against Japanese forces over Bougainville Island and New Britain Island, from 1 November 1943 to 24 January 1944.

U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 60KB; 580 x 765 pixels

 


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):

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life and above and beyond the call of duty as Fighter Pilot attached to Marine Fighting Squadron TWO HUNDRED FIFTEEN in action against enemy Japanese forces at Bougainville Island, 1 November 1943; and New Britain Island, 24 January 1944. Undeterred by fierce opposition, and fearless in the face of overwhelming odds, First Lieutenant Hanson fought the Japanese boldly and with daring aggressiveness. On 1 November, while flying cover for our landing operations at Empress Augusta Bay, he dauntlessly attacked six enemy torpedo bombers, forcing them to jettison their bombs and destroying one Japanese plane in the action. Cut off from his division while deep in enemy territory during a high cover flight over Simpson Harbor on 24 January, First Lieutenant Hanson waged a lone and gallant battle against hostile interceptors as they were orbiting to attack our bombers and, striking with devastating fury, brought down four Zeros and probably a fifth. Handling his plane superbly in both pursuit and attack measures, he was a master of individual air combat, accounting for a total of 25 Japanese aircraft in this theater of war. His personal valor and invincible fighting spirit were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."



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To the best of our knowledge, the pictures referenced here are all in the Public Domain, and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose.





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