Hanson, Robert Murray, Capt

MIA/POW
 
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 Service Details
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Last Rank
Captain
Last Primary MOS
7598-Basic Fixed-Wing Pilot
Last MOSGroup
Pilots/Naval Flight Officers
Primary Unit
1944-Present, 7598, Missing In Action
Service Years
1942 - 1944
Official/Unofficial USMC Certificates
Golden Dragon Certificate
Shellback Certificate

Captain

 
 

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 Personal Details 

23 kb

Country of Birth
India
India
Year of Birth
1920
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Cpl Elizabeth Davis to remember Marine Capt Robert Murray Hanson.

If you knew or served with this Marine and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
 
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Order of the Golden Dragon Shellback


 Military Association Memberships
World War II Fallen
  1944, World War II Fallen


 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
HANSON, Robert M., 1st Lieutenant, USMCR. Father, Rev. Harry A. Hanson, 31 Brooks Ave., Newtonville, Boston, Mass + HANSON, Robert Murray, 19154, VMF-215, MAG-14, 1st MAW, FMF, New Britain area, February 3, 1944, killed in action + HANSON, Robert Murray, Captain, O-019154, USMC, from Massachusetts, Manila American Cemetery + HANSON, Robert M, CAPT, O-19154, USMC, from Massachusetts, location New Britain Island, date of loss February 3, 1944

The most successful Corsair pilot in the Navy or Marine Corps was Marine Lt. Robert Murray Hanson of VMF-215 with 25 victories - all made between August 1943 and February 1944, scoring 20 of these kills in a 17 day period. The son of missionaries, he was born in Lucknow, India, and became the heavyweight wrestling champion of the United Provinces before the war. On a bicycle trip in pre-war Europe, he was in Vienna in 1938 when the Nazis took over. He attended Hamline University in St. Paul, where he continued wrestling.

VMF-214
Hanson started his combat career with the original VMF-214, when the unit was known as the "Swashbucklers," before Pappy Boyington and the "Black Sheep" assumed the squadron number. Other pilots noted Hanson as somewhat belligerent, who easily took a dislike to other fliers. But he was an excellent gunner. On Hanson's first combat mission, August 4, 1943, he flew wing for 1stLt. Stanley "Chief" Synar. Returning from a strafing run against the Shortlands, the Swashbucklers were jumped by the Japanese. One pounced on Chief, dived and then came up beneath him. His gunfire struck the cockpit and injured Synar. But Hanson got behind Synar's attacker, and "shot his ass off," only to get shot up himself, his Corsair taking a 20mm rounds between the guns, in the flap, and in the right stabilizer. In a probable case of mistaken identity, Hanson reported his victim as a Zero, although the more experienced Synar described the white spinner, in-line engine, and rows of exhaust stacks that almost certainly indicated a Ki-61 Tony. Later that month, in a landing mix-up, he stomped on his brakes, flipping over and destroying his Corsair (#18072). The next day, August 26, Hanson scored his second victory on a B-24 escort. His supercharger was acting up, and he lagged behind his division, permitting him to surprise a lone Zero that rashly attacked the Corsairs. Hanson's first shots had little effect, but he closed in, gave another burst, and the Zero flamed from the wing root and went down.

VMF-215
His first combat tour with VMF-215 included the Bougainville landings on November 1, 1943. He achieved ace status that day when he downed a B5N and two A6Ms over Empress Augusta Bay at about 1345 hours. He was shot down himself and was shortly picked up unhurt from the water. But during his second combat tour, he really ran up his score, shooting down Japanese planes in clumps of three, four and five. On January 14, 1944 he downed five Zeros, on the 24th he claimed another four, on the 26th three, and on the 30th two Zeros and a Tojo. On February 3, 1944, one day before his 24th birthday, Hanson participated in a fighter sweep. On the return flight, he left his flight path to strafe a lighthouse on Cape St. George, New Ireland, that had proved troublesome as a enemy flak tower and observation post. His friends watched from above as Hanson's big blue-gray Corsair ran at the tower, its six machine guns peppering the structure. Suddenly, they were horrified to see Hanson's aircraft shudder as its wing disintegrated from flak hits. The young ace tried to ditch, but his aircraft hit the surface, cartwheeled and crashed, leaving only scattered debris. Hanson was the third and last Marine Corsair pilot to receive the Medal of Honor and the youngest.
   
Other Comments:

Medal of Honor
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to FIRST LIEUTENANT ROBERT M. HANSON UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS RESERVE for service as set forth in the following CITATION: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a fighter pilot attached to Marine Fighting Squadron TWO FIFTEEN in action against Japanese forces at Bougainville Islands, November 1, 1943, and New Britain Island, January 24, 1944. Undetered by fierce opposition and fearless in the face of overwhelming odds, First Lieutenant Hanson fought the Japanese boldly and with daring aggressiveness. On November 1, 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 during the action. Cut off from his division while deep in enemy territory during a high cover flight over Simpson Harbor on January 24, 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 great personal valor and invincible fighting spirit were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
   
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  1943-1943, 7598, Marine Barracks NAS Miami



From Month/Year
- / 1943
To Month/Year
- / 1943
Unit
Marine Barracks NAS Miami Unit Page
Rank
Second Lieutenant
MOS
7598-Basic Fixed-Wing Pilot
Location
Not Specified
Country/State
Florida
 
 
 Patch
 Marine Barracks NAS Miami Details

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Type
MSG/Security
Existing/Disbanded
Disbanded
Parent Unit
Marine Barracks
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Company
Created/Owned By
Not Specified
   

Last Updated: Aug 16, 2017
   
   
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29 Members Also There at Same Time
Marine Barracks NAS Miami

Blackmon, Albert Mercer, Capt, (1942-1944) 75 7598 First Lieutenant
Baker, William Orval, 1stLt, (1943-1945) 75 7598 Second Lieutenant
Balch, Donald Luther, Maj, (1938-1958) 75 7598 Second Lieutenant
Ball, James Eugene, Capt, (1943-1944) 75 7598 Second Lieutenant
Daly, John Joseph, 1stLt, (1943-1944) 75 7598 Second Lieutenant
Fox, James Washburn, 1stLt, (1941-1945) 75 7598 Second Lieutenant
Fritzie, Herbert Henry, 1stLt, (1942-1944) 75 7598 Second Lieutenant
Hathway, Alonzo Newton, Capt, (1942-1944) 75 7598 Second Lieutenant
Herndon, Dorman Howard, Capt, (1942-1944) 75 7598 Second Lieutenant
Houston, John Henry, 1stLt, (1942-1944) 75 7598 Second Lieutenant
Jacobson, Joseph Edward, 1stLt, (1942-1943) 75 7598 Second Lieutenant
Jensen, Bernard Charles, 2ndLt, (1942-1943) 75 7598 Second Lieutenant
Leach, Jesse Murray, 1stLt, (1942-1944) 75 7598 Second Lieutenant
Lizer, James Warren, 1stLt, (1942-1944) 75 7598 Second Lieutenant
Parks, James Pennington, Capt, (1942-1943) 75 7598 Second Lieutenant
Strickland, William Elijah, Capt, (1942-1943) 75 7598 Second Lieutenant
Taylor, Gilford Dudley, Capt, (1942-1943) 75 7598 Second Lieutenant
Schroeder, Howard James, 1stLt, (1939-1944) 75 7598 Master Technical Sergeant (Grade 1)
Campion, Thomas James, 1stLt, (1943-1944) 75 7599 Second Lieutenant
Carpenter, Jarvis Helon, 1stLt, (1943-1945) 75 7599 Second Lieutenant
Clark, Lenard Lee, 1stLt, (1943-1944) 75 7599 Second Lieutenant
Grover, Lyman Hamilton, 1stLt, (1942-1943) 75 7599 Second Lieutenant
Grubbs, Willard M, 1stLt, (1943-1945) 75 7599 Second Lieutenant
Turner, James Roy, Maj, (1942-1952) 75 7599 Second Lieutenant
Desens Jr, Richard William, 2ndLt, (1940-1943) OF Second Lieutenant
Haberman, John Raphael, 1stLt, (1942-1946) OF 2543 Second Lieutenant
Harris, Leonard W, 2ndLt, (1940-1943) OF Second Lieutenant
Horner, Theodore Joseph, LtCol, (1942-1969) OF 1055 Second Lieutenant
Nyomo, Andrew Steve, Pvt, (1942-1944) OF 522 Private 1st Class

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