Honoring & Remembering

Clayton Hanson, left, is pictured with two of his shipmates.

Seaman 1st Class Clayton Hanson was born Feb. 14, 1931 to Irving and Rosie Hanson. He was born in the Roy Groves home in Meckling.

It was two weeks after his high school graduation in 1949 that Clayton enlisted into the Navy in Sioux City, IA. Two weeks later he was on his way to San Diego, CA, where he spent a month in boot camp at the San Diego Training Center.

After a 10-day leave, he reported back to San Diego to wait for his orders. Clayton was assigned to the USS Thomas Jefferson APA 30. A week later they headed out to Hawaii loaded with cargo which included cars, tanks, and all kinds of naval supplies. They did the same thing in the two trips that were made to Guam.

On one of those trips while aboard the USS Thomas Jefferson going to Hawaii, the chaplain came on deck and talked to a friend of Claytons. He told this friend about the fact that his dad had been on the Arizona when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. When a ship comes into port they may raise the colors for the Arizona. The chaplain wanted to do this in honor of his dad, but needed some others to help him. This friend asked Clayton to assist them and he did. This is a memory that Clayton revisits every time he goes to Hawaii.

His classmate, Lyle Kaiser and he joined the Navy together. They also went to boot camp together and both were assigned to the USS Thomas Jefferson. Their enlistment was for one year, but could stay on longer. Clayton and Lyle were in for a year and a half when they decided to get discharged. They joined the Reserves and shortly after, the Korean War started. This precluded that they were going back.

Clayton was flown to Tokyo, Japan, took a train to Sasebo, Japan (which wasn't first class) to board the USS Dixie, a repair ship. He ran the captains boat for about four months as well as manning the other boats.

They went to Pusan, Korea about four times to repair any type of small ship, such as a destroyer. It was amazing all of the equipment that the USS Dixie carried in order to repair the ships. Among the supplies that they had were huge rolls of metal to repair what had been torpedoed or bombed.

While in the service, Clayton managed to see a few guys from Meckling. He saw Edward Long, Mel Hanson, Vern Hanson, his brother, and Dick Trudeau. He also saw Max Brown from Vermillion. He ran into his brother, Vern, when in Sasebo, Japan sometime in 1953.

Clayton said, At the time I hated to leave home, but as I grew older, I was glad I did and ended up appreciating the experience. Of course, I met a lot of characters, but some of my navy buddies have remained my friends for life.

This time when Clayton was discharged, he did not join the Reserves. He went home. Meckling looked pretty good.

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