1Lt ROBERT M HANSON
VMF-215, U.S.M.C. Reserve
New Britain Island
1 Nov 1943 & 24 Jan 1944
On 1 Nov 1943, 1Lt Hanson was flying cover for landing operations at Empress Augusta Bay. He engaged 6 enemy torpedo bombers alone forcing them to jettison their weapons harmlessly into the sea and splashing 1.
On 24 January 1944, Hanson was providing cover over Simpson Harbor when he found himself separated from his flight, while deep in enemy territory.
1Lt. Hanson pressed on and engaged enemy interceptors as they were orbiting to jump US bombers.
Hanson splashed 4 Zeroes and probably a fifth.
Hanson achieved 5x Ace status accounting for 25 enemy kills.
1Lt Hanson was shot down twice; first over Bougainville when a Zero caught him alone and sent him to the drink. Hanson paddled for 6 hours before being picked up by USS Sigourney.
He was last seen on February 3, 1944, while returning from a cancelled sortie, Hanson was attacking a target of opportunity, the lighthouse on Cape St. George, that was the source of intense anti-aircraft fire on the flight out.
His aircraft has hit by groundfire and crashed into the sea.
Capt. Harold L. Spears, the flight leader, watched as Hanson attempted to land his Corsair in rough seas.
He cart-wheeled and the plane disintegrated.
Hanson was also awarded the Purple heart, Navy Cross and Air Medal.