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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Marine Corps Reserve

Robert Murray Hanson

  • Rank: First Lieutenant (Highest Rank: Captain)
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Marine Fighting Squadron 215
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Marine Corps Reserve
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: November 1, 1943 - January 24, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Bougainville Island & New Britain Island

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as fighter pilot attached to Marine Fighting Squadron 215 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, 1st Lt. 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 during the action. Cut off from his division while deep in enemy territory during a high cover flight over Simpson Harbor on 24 January, 1st Lt. 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 U.S. Naval Service.

Medal of Honor Recipient Robert M. Hanson
Medal of Honor Recipient Robert M. Hanson
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Massachusetts
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: August 19, 1944

    Boston, Massachusetts by Maj. Gen. Lewis G. Merrit to his Mother Mrs. Harry Hanson

  • Born: February 4, 1920, Lucknow, India
  • Died: February 3, 1944, at sea, Papua New Guinea
  • Buried: A.B.M.C. Manila Cemetery (Wall of the Missing); Newton Cemetery (MH) (L-118) (IMO) Newton Center, Massachusetts, Manila, Philippine Islands

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