USS Hanson
USS Hanson 832
Robert M. Hanson

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.

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:

Medal of Honor 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


Robert M. Hanson Award
-Marine Fighter/Attack Squadron of the Year

The Boeing Company

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.


Recipients listed by Year Received Award



2021: VMFA-323

2020: VMFA-232

2019: VMFA-115 MAG-31

2018: VMFA(AW)-242

2017: VMFA(AW)-533

2016: VMFA-121

2015: VMFA-314

2014: VMFA-312

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