In Memory of
U.S. Air Force Captain Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Minnehaha County

January 4, 1925--December 7, 1954
Killed in Non-Hostile Crash of a T-33 Jet Trainer near Lake Huron, Michigan

Garland DuWayne Hanson was born in Rapid City, South Dakota, on January 4, 1925 to Mr. Albert T. Hanson and Mrs. Dorothy Hanson (Borcherding). Garland graduated from Washington High School in Sioux Falls in 1943. He first entered the service during WW II and completed his pilot training “in time to get in three combat missions over Germany.” After WW II, Hanson was discharged, according to a local paper. He married Hazel E. (Sutcliffe) Ferguson in Sioux Falls on April 19, 1946. Garland had a stepson, Larry.

In 1946 or 1947, Garland re-enlisted as a master sergeant in the Air Force in Rapid City. He was later “recalled to duty as an officer and restored to the rank of second lieutenant.” Garland Hanson and his family were then sent to Mitchell Field, New York, where he was promoted to First Lieutenant and where his son, Gary Duane, was born in 1948. Hanson was then sent to Okinawa in January 1949. When he got there, he was assigned as a supply officer for Headquarters Squadron of the 20th Air Force but because there weren’t enough pilots, he was transferred to the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Group. Soon after when the Korean War began the 28th Squadron of which Hanson belonged to was sent over to Itazuka, Japan. From this base, Lt. Hanson flew his first combat mission, flying an F80, and was soon promoted to Captain. A year after arriving in Japan, his family joined him. Their third son, Jeffrie, was born in Okinawa. Captain Hanson was featured in the Argus Leader for shooting down at least one “Russian-made Mig-15 jet” during “aerial dogfights” while he was flying an “American F-80 Shooting Star” jet.

Another pilot in the same dogfight described their encounter this way:

It was a real old-fashioned dog fight. It ranged from 25,000 feet down to 15,000 and back again. And we were going better than 500 miles per hour at the time.

In fact, while he was in combat in Korea, Captain Hanson was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross because he “distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism beyond the call of duty when he aggressively led his flight of four F-80s on a very successful close support mission in the area of Unsan, Korea.”

The citation went on to say:

Captain Hanson exhibited conspicuous skill and leadership in maneuvering his flight on repeated successful rocket and strafing attacks on enemy vehicles, equipment, supplies, and troops. Disregarding personal safety and ignoring continuous concentrated enemy fire, he and his flight were responsible for destroying three trucks, two armored vehicles, one automatic weapon position and inflicted a large number of enemy troop casualties.

The brave and efficient manner in which he directed the attack on hostile forces is exemplary of the finest traditions of the United States Air Force.

Altogether, Captain Hanson flew about 100 missions over Korea. He and his family returned to the United States June 19, 1951. They visited in Sioux Falls in July and then Captain Hanson was to report for duty with “the Air Defense Command in Presque, Me.” Apparently stationed at Stewart Air Force Base in New York with his family, Captain Hanson was assigned to fly the T-33 Jet Trainer.

On December 7, 1954, while flying a T-33 from Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Michigan to Stewart Air Force Base, Captain Garland Hanson “reported he was having engine trouble 15 minutes after takeoff.” For a time he was missing and rescue operations were underway. It was later learned that his T-33 had crashed “about 11 miles South East of Oacoda on Lake Huron, Michigan.”

Captain Garland DuWayne Hanson is remembered by his heroism as a pilot both in WW II and Korea.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Chantelle Rae Janke, 8th Grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota on July 12, 2004. The Daily Argus Leader, December 9, 1954, an application for a SD veteran’s bonus, and the SD National Guard Museum provided information for this entry. No family contact made.