Honoring & Remembering

Second Class Boatswain Mate Marvin Hanson was born to Irving and Rosie Hanson at Meckling.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1942. His first train ride took him to Des Moines, IA where he was sworn into the Navy on Oct. 7, 1942. Training camp took place in Great Lakes Training Center in North Chicago, IL.  After his 30-day stint there, Melvin was sent home on a 10 day leave. His next destination was aboard a Merchant Marine ship, in California, headed for Noumea, New Caledonia.

On New Year's Eve of 1942 he was assigned to the USS President Jackson as a seaman.

Like many of the ships at that time, his was a converted luxury liner. In 1941, it became an attack transport ship for the US Navy. It was part of the Pacific Fleet. 

�There were hundreds of feet of steel cable, booms and winches to hoist boats in and out of the water; trucks, guns and supplies were transferred in and out of the holds where they were stored and had to be put in boats and taken to beaches,� said Marvin.

The first battle he was in was Feb. 17, 1943. It was a torpedo attack. 

�There was a tanker ship with us.  If it had been hit there would have been a huge explosion.  I was very scared.� 

It was a daily struggle to control the islands.

�November 1, 1943,they landed third Division Marines on Bougainville,� he said. �When the wave hit the beach, the ship had to get under way to repel enemy aircraft. On Nov. 8, we went back to reinforce the Marines. Again and again we went back out to sea to repel bombers. There were about 100 planes out there and 45 dive bombers got through our fighter planes. Five bombs fell around us.

�A 500 pound bomb hit the king post (a bib pipe about three feet across and 40 foot high that holds the booms used to unload the ship and is the crows nest as well) and bent the firing pin so it didn't explode.  It hit the hole where there was 40 barrels of aviation gas was stored, so I guess someone was watching over us.�

The USS President Jackson also made several trips to Australia and New Zealand to transport troops for R&R.  �It also took on wounded and rigged up jigging that allowed us to bring three stretchers off a landing craft at one time,� he said. �An operating table was set up in the mess hall and we transported wounded to a hospital ship.  This took place during the battle for Iwo Jima.�

The USS President Jackson earned eight battle stars in the South Pacific.

One of the hardest parts of being in the Navy was not getting mail on a regular basis.  Sometime it was four months before any mail would arrive.

Marvin was transferred from the ship in May, 1945.  He was sent to Norfolk, VA for harbor tug duty, moving and decommissioning ships for seven months.

He was discharged on Dec. 28, 1945.

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