|Pilot 1st Lt. Robert Murray Hanson, O-019154 (MIA / KIA) Lucknow, India
Crashed February 3, 1944
Hanson was the highest scoring
Corsair ace, with 25 kills. Assigned to VMF-214, he was credited with twenty victories in just seventeen days. Next, transfered to VMF-215 "Fighting Corsairs" operating from Barakoma Airfield. On November 1, 1943 while flying fighter cover over the American landings at Empress Augusta Bay, he claimed three enemy aircraft before his Corsair was damaged and he ditched into the sea but was rescued by a U. S. Navy destroyer several hours later. Hanson earned the Medal of Honor for his actions between 1 November 1943 and 24 January 1944. Also, the Navy Cross, Air Medal, Purple Heart (posthumously).
Built by Vought. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as F4U-1 Corsair bureau number 56039.
Assigned to the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) to Marine Air Wing 1 (MAW-1), Marine Air Group 12 (MAG-12) to squadron VMF-215 "Fighting Corsairs". No known nickname or nose art.
On February 3, 1944 took off at 9:40am on a mission to strafe targets at Cape Alexander near Rabaul. The weather was scattered cumulus from ground to 5,000' and clear over the target. The formation was over the target by 11:55am and intercepted by approximately fifteen Zeros in groups of three to six. While strafing, Hanson was hit by anti-aircraft fire and his F4U crashed into the sea and cartwheeled. When Hanson failed to return, he was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Hanson was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery, with his name inlayed with gold indicating he earned the Medal of Honor. Hanson also has a memorial marker at Newton Cemetery in Newton, MA.
NARA VMF-215 War Diary February 1944 page 5
"One F4U was reported to have hit the water after a strafing run on Cape St. George. Lieutenant Hanson did not return from this hop. All other planes returned 1310."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert Murray Hanson
Robert Murray Hanson (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Robert Murray Hanson (photo, memorial marker photo)
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February 4, 2018