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Dale Merlin Hansen
Dale M. Hansen, Medal of Honor recipient
Born (1922-12-13)December 13, 1922
Died May 11, 1945(1945-05-11) (aged 22)
Place of birth Wisner, Nebraska
Place of death KIA on Okinawa
Place of burial initially the 1st Marine Division Cemetery Okinawa
Later reinterred in Wisner Cemetery in Wisner, Nebraska
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1944-1945
Rank Private
Unit 2nd Battalion 1st Marines
Battles/wars World War II
*Battle of Okinawa
Awards Medal of Honor
Purple Heart
Other work Farmer

Private Dale Merlin Hansen (December 13, 1922 – May 11, 1945) was a United States Marine who earned his nation's highest military decoration — the Medal of Honor — for his outstanding heroism on 7 May 1945 in the fight for Hill 60 on Okinawa. He was killed by enemy sniper fire three days later.

Early yearsEdit

Dale Hansen was born in Wisner, Nebraska. While attending the schools of Cuming County, he helped out on the family farm, and after graduating from high school in Wisner in 1940, he worked full-time on the farm.

Marine Corps serviceEdit

Hansen was inducted into the Marine Corps Reserve on 11 May 1944. He completed recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California, and was then assigned to the Infantry Training Battalion at Camp Pendleton, California, where he underwent four weeks of infantry indoctrination and two weeks of training with the Browning Automatic Rifle. With that weapon he turned in a score of 175 to become an Expert Automatic Rifleman.

Private Hansen sailed for the Pacific theater on 12 November 1944, with a replacement draft, and the following month, joined Company E, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, at Pavuvu in the Russell Islands. There, he underwent "bazooka" training before sailing with the 1st Marine Division for maneuvers at Banika Island and Guadalcanal in February 1945.

Late that March, after a few more days back at Pavuvu, the division left for Okinawa where Pvt Hansen landed with his unit on Easter Sunday, 1 April 1945. The action which brought him the Medal of Honor occurred in the battle for Hill 60 on the southern part of the island where his determination and total disregard of personal danger helped his unit take a well-defended enemy position.

Pvt Hansen was killed by a Japanese sniper on 11 May 1945 in the Wana-Dakeshi Ridge fighting.

The Medal of Honor was presented to Pvt Hansen's parents on 30 May 1946, by the officer in charge of the Midwestern Recruiting Division as part of Wisner's Memorial Day observance.

Private Hansen was initially buried in the 1st Marine Division Cemetery on Okinawa, but his remains were returned to the United States in 1948 for burial in Wisner Cemetery in Wisner, Nebraska.[1]

Medal of Honor citationEdit

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to


for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company E, Second Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryūkyū Chain, 7 May 1945. Cool and courageous in combat, Private Hansen unhesitatingly took the initiative during a critical stage of the action and, armed with a rocket launcher, crawled to an exposed position where he attacked and destroyed a strategically located hostile pillbox. With his weapon subsequently destroyed by enemy fire, he seized a rifle and continued his one-man assault. Reaching the crest of a ridge, he leaped across, opened fire on six Japanese and killed four before his rifle jammed. Attacked by the remaining two Japanese, he beat them off with the butt of his rifle and then climbed back to cover. Promptly returning with another weapon and a supply of grenades, he fearlessly advanced, destroyed a strong mortar position and annihilated eight more of the enemy. In the forefront of battle throughout this bitterly waged engagement, Private Hansen, by his indomitable determination, bold tactics and complete disregard of all personal danger, contributed essentially to the success of his company's mission and to the ultimate capture of this fiercely defended outpost of the Japanese Empire. His great personal valor in the face of extreme peril reflects the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.


Posthumous honorsEdit

Camp Hansen, one of the ten Marine Corps camps on Okinawa comprising Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, is named in honor of Pvt. Hansen.

In 1967, a three-tiered display was commissioned by the Marine Corps and given to the city of Wisner, Nebraska, Hansen's hometown. It features an oil painting of Hansen wearing his Medal of Honor, a brass plaque recognizing his achievements, and a reproduction of the citation honoring Hansen. It currently is on display at Wisner-Pilger High School.

See alsoEdit


PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

Further readingEdit

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