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  F4U-1A Corsair Bureau Number 56039  
"Fighting Corsairs"

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USMC c1943

Pilot  1st Lt. Robert Murray Hanson, O-019154 (MIA / KIA) Lucknow, India
Crashed  February 3, 1944

Aircraft History
Built by Vought. Delivered to the U. S. Navy (USN) as F4U-1 Corsair bureau number 56039. Shipped overseas to the South Pacific and reassembled.

Wartime History
Assigned to the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC), Marine Air Wing 1 (MAW-1), Marine Air Group 12 (MAG-12), Marine Fighting Squadron 215 "Fighting Corsairs" VMF-215. No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On February 3, 1944 took off at 9:40am from Piva South Airfield (Piva Yoke) on Bougainville piloted by 1st Lt. Robert Murray Hanson on a mission to escort eighteen TBF Avengers from VMF-233 against Tobera Airfield south of Rabaul. The formation included eight F4U Corsairs with Hanson leading the second flight. Other escorting aircraft included eight F6F Hellcats from VF-38 plus twelve SBD Dauntless from VMSB-341.

Inbound to the target, the weather was scattered cumulus from ground to 5,000' and clear over as the formation flew up the Warangoi River arriving over the target area by 11:55am and turned over Tobera Airfield. The formation was intercepted by approximately fifteen Zeros in groups of three to six.

Returning, the formation flew via Kabanga Bay then towards Cape Saint George on New Ireland. Returning, this Corsair attempted to strafe targets at Cape Alexander on New Ireland. While strafing, hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed into the sea and cartwheeled on impact. 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 earned the Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously.

He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery his name with a gold inlay indicating he earned the Medal of Honor. Hanson also has a memorial marker at Newton Cemetery in Newton, MA.

Navy Serial Number Search Results - F4U-1A Corsair 56039
USN Overseas Aircraft Loss List February 1944 - F4U 56039

NARA "VMF-215 War Diary February 1944" page 4-5
"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."
NARA "VMF-215 Aircraft Action Report No. 18 2 [sic 3] February 1944" pages 1-3
(Page 3) "Lt. Hanson did not return from the hop."
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Robert Murray Hanson
FindAGrave - Robert Murray Hanson (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Robert Murray Hanson (photo, memorial marker photo)
History of the Marine Corps Aviation in World War II pages 200 (February 3, 1944 mission)
Target Rabaul pages 300-306

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Last Updated
February 4, 2019


Tech Info

1 Missing

Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
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