The following are accounts from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships and the memories of crew members.
The USS Hanson was launched 11 March 1945 by the Bath Iron
Works Corporation, sponsored by Mrs. Harry A. Hanson, Lt. Hanson's mother. The
ship was commissioned 11 May 1945 with Commander John C. Parham becoming the CO.
In August 1945 the Hanson was converted to a
radar picket ship. Powerful radar equipment scanned the seas for threats long
before they could be seen with the eye. The radar picket served as the long
range eyes of a carrier group.
1945 - 1948
The Hanson sailed for the Pacific on 7 November 1945. She
spent most of the following year operating in support of occupation forces in
Japan. Reporting to the Atlantic fleet at Norfolk on 6 February 1947, Hanson
trained along the East Coast until sailing in late January 1948 for her first
tour of duty with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean.
Her radar was upgraded and on 8 March 1949 she
DDR 832. During her second
deployment to the Mediterranean in the summer of 1949 she took part in two important peace
conferences. As station ship to the United Nations General Assembly at the Isle of Rhodes,
she was the only American warship present as Greece received control of the long contested
Dodecanese Islands. Then she was chosen to transport United Nations mediator, Dr. Ralph Bunche,
to Beirut, Lebanon for peace negotiations with Israel.
The year 1950 saw the shift of problems in geopolitics from Europe and the Mediterranean
to the East, and the Hanson was transferred to back to the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on
12 July to prepare for her role in thwarting communist aggression in Korea.
Her first duty off that war torn country was participation in the brilliant amphibious
operations at Inchon on 15 September 1950, and providing fire cover for the successful
evacuation of Hungnam and Wosan just before Christmas of that year.
1951 - 1952
The Hanson's second combat duty to Korea, September 1951 to May 1952, took her along
the east coast where she engaged in the fleet bombardment of strategic shore targets,
in support of ground troops, where her accurate fire was most effective.
In December of 1951 she stood patrol in the Formosa Straits, serving as a buffer between
Taiwan (Formosa) and the mainland. She also made one of her frequent visits to the British
Crown colony, Hong Kong.
1952 - 1953
Returning stateside to San Diego, the Hanson enjoyed a respite and then rejoined
the war in December 1952 joint task force operations screening the fast carriers
as they launched the aircraft against enemy supply lines and positions. She also
participated in shore bombardment, search and rescue operations, and patrol of
the Formosa Straits. She returned stateside 20 July 1953. The ship received
eight battle stars for its Korean service.
26 October, 1957 found the Hanson
visiting Subic Bay, Philippine Is. when she
was dispatched to Spratley Is. in the South
China Sea to rescue some downed airmen.
Spratley Is. is not much more than a huge
coral reef. The ship arrived at Spratley Is.
on 29 October. The men were found alive and
well, except for one injured, and were taken
aboard the ship. The Hanson then returned to
Subic Bay on 30 October with the airmen on
During the 1957 deployment on a boring patrol of the Formosa Straits the
hum-drum was shattered in the late hours of the night when a Russian cruiser
bathed the Hanson in its searchlight. For many of that crew this was the first
confrontation with an enemy. She also had a brief tryst with a Chinese sub on
While patrolling the Straits of Formosa, within sight of the Communist
mainland, in the fall of 1958, the Hanson witnessed the shelling of the off
shore islands of Quemoy and Matsu, which some thought was the prelude to a
mainland offensive against Taiwan.
Ship's Patch courtesy Allen Norby
In the spring of 1962 and 1963 the Hanson participated in Australia's
celebration of the Battle of the Coral Sea.
Mare Island Naval Shipyard was the site where, in the spring of 1964, the Hansom
FRAM I conversion. The DD designation was resumed at this time. She remained
in this configuration to the end of her U.S. Navy career. This conversion was
completed 6 December 1964. In total the ship made 19 deployments to the
Mediterranean and Westpac.
1965 - 1967
The ship rejoined the Pacific Fleet in early 1965 as a unit of Desron 11. She
was assigned early that summer to the war in Southeast Asia. In July she
shelled enemy targets ashore and, but for brief respites, patrolled and fought
in troubled Vietnamese waters until late autumn.
Returning to San Diego in December 1965, Hanson operated along the coast of
California until she deployed for the Orient on 17 July 1966. She steamed via
Hawaii, Midway, Guam, and Subic Bay (her usual ports of call) to Vietnam and
anchored in the Saigon River 13 September. The Hanson operated in the war zone
until relieved on 6 January 1967. During the deployment her 5 inch guns fired
over 9,000 rounds at enemy targets. She also pulled plane guard duty, patrolled
the shoreline to interdict infiltration of supplies and troops from the North,
and refueled helicopters. Returning to San Diego 11 February 1967, Hanson
operated along the West Coast.
I was encouraged to submit this event to the website by Marty Sullivan. It is my understanding other
crewmembers took pictures of this incident, but the Navy confiscated the film.
near a floating dry dock and Hanson was trying to get a closer look when we collided. I went to great
lengths to have the Russian lettering on the hull translated. It means "Rescuer" or "Lifesaver".
This incident happened on Hanson's next to last cruise.
From other sources:
Pacific 05/06/71: The USS Hanson (DD-832) collides with the Soviet fleet tug Diomid in the
Korean Straits, causing minor damage but no injuries. The Hanson conjectures the accident
was caused by a deliberate attempt by the tug (with an icebreaker bow)to ram the Hanson. A
sliding collision, however, was the only result.
In April 1972 the Hanson departed San Diego with only three days notice to
fight the Tet offensive. Numerous accomplishments were logged during this
deployment. Of note were:
- While in transit to the Gulf of Tonkin, a Russian bomber (Bear) flew
past very low (due to low cloud cover) and passed abeam within 200 yards.
Checking out the battle group.
- May 1972: "Freedom Train" (later called "linebacker") night raids were
conducted off North Vietnam. Hanson engaged in over 30 of these
raids, including entering Haiphong Harbor with another Gearing class DD to shell the airport. A
few days after the harbor at Haiphong was mined.
View News clip
- 10 May 1972: USS Hanson participated in Operation Custom Tailor, a
history making strike that assembled the most formidable cruiser/destroyer
armada in the Western Pacific since World War II. During this strike
military targets within four miles of Haiphong, North Vietnam were hit, and
enemy opposition was heavy. All told, USS Hanson spent 183 out of 214 days
at sea during the April-November deployment, expended 14,486 rounds of 5"/38
ammunition and successfully completed 97 underway replenishments.
- June 1972: During night raids Hanson dueled with North Vietnamese 155
millimeter coastal batteries near Hon La and Hon Mat islands and was hit
numerous times. The shells used by the North were anti-aircraft, so most
damage was shrapnel punctures to the aluminum superstructure. During one
daylight raid the Hanson was struck by three Chicom rockets, with one
unexploded warhead landing within a few feet of a damage control party in
the main deck passageway.
- July 1972: The Hanson lost her main gyro and steering engine and put in
at Subic Bay for repairs. The author believes the replacement parts were
obtained from an East Coast FRAM I DD which was damaged beyond repair by a
river launched mine, shortly after arriving on the gun line in 1972.
- 10 November 1972: The Hanson returned to San Diego for her post-deployment
stand-down, an INSURV inspection and decommissioning
preparation. Following the Christmas holidays, Hanson went through tender
and DATC availabilities and came to her final resting place at Quaywall
South Six, U.S. Naval Station, San Diego. View News clip
A Hanson Battle Flag
Photo Courtesy Marty Sullivan
Marty says this tattered flag flew on the Hanson during Linebacker II and
Custom Tailor combat operations in May and June of 1972. During these operations
in the North Hanson experienced frequent enemy fire and hits while doing night
time shore raids. The most memorable raid was the shelling of the Haiphong airport
days before the harbor was mined. Destined to be burned, the flag was rescued and
preserved for posterity. We thank Marty for sharing this with us.
The Hanson remained a unit of Destroyer Squadron One, home ported in San
Diego until 5 March 1973. On that day a reorganization within the
Cruiser-Destroyer Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, resulted in Hanson being
administratively reassigned to Destroyer Squadron 23, a subsidiary of
Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla 11, home ported in San Diego. Commander Ian M. Watson
remained in command until 31 March 1973 when the ship was decommissioned.
At 1000 Saturday, 31 March 1973 Commander Watson directed the Command
Duty Officer of the Hanson to haul down the colors and secure the watch, thus
ending 28 years of faithful service in the U.S. Navy.
View Ceremony Program
On 18 April 1973 the Hanson was transferred to Taiwan (whose Strait she had
so faithfully patrolled for so many years) and was commissioned the Liao Yang
DD-21 in the Republic of China Navy.