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USS Hanson USS Hanson 832


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Robert M. Hanson
Robert Murray Hanson

February 4, 1920 - February 3, 1944)

U.S. Marine Corps: 1942 - 1944
World War II: 1942 - 1944 (KIA)

Marine 1st Lt. Robert Murray Hanson was born 4 February 1920 at Lucknow, India, the son of Methodist missionaries. He joined the Marine Corps' Aviation Cadet Program shortly after the outbreak of World War II and trained as a fighter pilot with the 25th Marine Fighting Squadron. He was commissioned a 2d Lt on February 1, 1943, and designated a Naval Aviator at NATC Corpus Christi, Texas, on February 19, 1943.

Medal of Honor Hanson was credited with downing 20 Japanese planes, in six consecutive flying days. He shot down a total of twenty five enemy planes before his own crashed into the sea near Rabaul, New Britain on 3 February 1944, ending his life, one day short of his 24th birthday. He was also awarded the Air Medal and the Navy Cross.

He was posthumously promoted to Captain and awarded the Medal of Honor for shooting down six torpedo bombers over Bougainville in November 1943.

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to


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. Undeterred 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.



Presented by the Marine Corps Aviation Association (MCAA)
Ref.: MCO 1650.29H, 22 Sep 2010
Category: MCAA/Unit
Name: Robert M. Hanson Award
-Marine Fighter/Attack Squadron of the Year
Sponsor: The Boeing Company
History: Established in memory of Captain Hanson. Marine Aviator, fighter ace, and Medal of Honor winner, killed in World War II after shooting down 25 enemy aircraft. Awarded to recognize the superior performance of a Marine fighter/attack squadron.
Eligibility: All F/A-18A/C/D squadrons, Regular or Reserve.
Criteria and Period: The most outstanding Marine fighter/attack squadron. The award covers the period from 1 January through 31 December immediately preceding the nomination period.
Selection/Presentation: Selection made by CMC Aviation Awards Board and presented at the annual MCAA Reunion and Symposium.
Nomination Due Date: Due 1 February to CMC (ASM)

List of ROBERT M. HANSON AWARD recipients

Listed by Year Received Award - Squadron
2013 VMFA-251
2012 VMFA(AW)-533
2011 VMFA-232
2010 VMFA-112
2009 VMFA-122
2008 VMFA-232
2007 VMFA(AW)-242
2006 VMFA(AW)-332
2005 VMFA(AW)-242
2004 VMFA-312
2003 VMFA-323
2002 VMFA-251
2001 VMFA(AW)-121
2000 VMFA(AW)-332
1999 VMFA-312
1998 VMFA-122
1997 VMFA-312
1996 VMFA-232
1995 VMFA(AW)-332
1994 VMFA-312
1993 VMFA-312
1992 VMFA(AW)-242
1991 VMFA-235
1990 VMFA-115
1989 VMFA-451
1988 VMFA-115
1987 VMFA-115
1986 VMFA-323
1985 VMFA-212
1984 VMFA-112
1983 VMAT-101
1982 VMFA-115
1981 VMFA-235
1980 VMFA-323
1979 VMFA-333
1978 VMFA-531
1977 VMFA-112
1976 VMFA-323
1975 VMFA-323
1974 VMFA-232
1973 VMFA-333
1972 VMFA-115
1971 VMFA-115
1970 VMFA-212
1969 VMFA-251
1968 VMFA-314

Further reading: