Henry Oliver Hansen
|Henry Oliver Hansen|
December 14, 1919|
|Died||March 1, 1945
KIA Iwo Jima
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||1938–1945|
|Unit||2nd Battalion, 28th Marines|
|Battles/wars||Battle of Iwo Jima|
Henry Oliver "Hank" Hansen (December 14, 1919 – March 1, 1945) was a United States Marine Corps sergeant who was killed in action on March 1, 1945 during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II. He participated in the first United States flag raising over Iwo Jima, and was, for a time, mistakenly identified as one of the six flag raisers in the famous photograph of the second flag raising by Joe Rosenthal.
U.S. Marine Corps
- World War II
Sgt. Hansen was a member of 3rd Platoon of E Company of the 2nd Battalion, 28th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division that landed on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945. On February 23, he was one of members of the 40-man patrol led by 1st Lt. Harold Schrier who climbed Mount Suribachi and raised the first American flag on top of it and were photographed by Marine Corps photographer Lou Lowery. The flag and flagstaff were replaced hours later that day with a larger flag and heavier flagstaff by five Marines from Second Platoon and Navy corpsman John Bradley from 3rd Platoon. The photograph of the second flag raising by Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press became world famous. On March 1, Hansen was killed in action.
There became a disagreement after the battle over the identity of the Marine at the base of the 2nd flagpole in the famous photograph of the second flag-raising. Surviving second flag-raisers of the battle, Rene Gagnon and Bradley, had initially identified this person as Henry Hansen. Over a year and a half later, a Congressional investigation revealed that the Marine was actually Corporal Harlon Block and not Hansen. Ira Hayes, the other surviving second flag-raiser, was instrumental in proving Block's presence in the famous photo. In fact, Hayes had originally told a Marine officer that the flag raiser was really Block, but as the Marines had already made public announcements that Hansen had been identified as a second flag-raiser, Hayes, Gagnon, and Bradley were told to say nothing.
Sgt. Hansen is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific near Honolulu on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. The Henry O. Hansen Memorial Park, in his home town of Somerville, was named in his honor in June 2004.
Military decorations & awards
- Purple Heart Medal
- Combat Action Ribbon
- Presidential Unit Citation with silver 5/16 inch battle star
- American Defense Service Medal
- American Campaign Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with bronze service star
- World War II Victory Medal