Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy
Edward William Hanson was born in Alexandria, MN and lived there until he left to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in 1907. He graduated with the class of 1911 and was commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy.
During his first few years in the Navy, he performed assignments appropriate to a naval officer of his rank. Lieutenant (j.g.) Edward W. Hanson's first sea command began in 1917 when he became commanding officer of the USS Dale (DD-4), a Bainbridge-class destroyer. From 30 June to 1 August 1917, the Dale patrolled the entrance to Manila Bay then sailed to join US Patrol Squadrons based on Gibraltar, arriving there on 20 October. She then patrolled and escorted convoys in the eastern Mediterranean until the end of the war.
Hanson was awarded the Navy Cross during his command of the Dale for actions during the summer of 1917. The abbreviated version of the citation reads: "The Navy Cross is awarded to Lieutenant (j.g.) Edward W. Hanson, U.S. Navy, for exceptionally distinguished service in the line of his profession in command of the USS Dale in making the trip of 11,000 miles from Manila, PI, to Gibraltar, under very unfavorable weather conditions, the southwest monsoon being then at its height, and arriving in the Mediterranean with his vessel in readiness for immediate participation in the operations against enemy submarines in the Mediterranean and later in the Atlantic. " Hanson relinquished command of the Dale on 1 July 1918.
In the early 1920's, Hanson served on the staff of the Harvard Naval Science Department at Harvard University and, in 1925, he was transferred to the Naval War College in Newport, RI.
On 26 June 1938, Commander Hanson began serving as the 28th Governor of American Samoa, and as Commandant of Naval Station, Tutulia, Samoa. He believed that the native Samoans had a good way of life and did little to interfere with established practices on the islands. When his governorship ended on 30 July 1940, Hanson was a Captain.
Captain Hanson was Commanding Officer of the Heavy Cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35) in 1942. As a member of the two task forces commanded by Vice Admiral Halsey, they had carried out attacks on the Marshall and Gilbert Islands, and were retiring eastward on 1 February 1942. On the 20th of that month, they were involved with action off Rabaul when it appeared that the Japanese was gathering their forces at Rabaul, New Britain, preliminary to launching an offensive. The Indianapolis was the Flagship for the Commander-in Chief of Task Force Eight, Rear Admiral Robert A. Theobald, during the Battle of Midway and Aleutians, 4-7 June 1942.
After his promotion to Rear Admiral, Hanson commanded the 15th Naval District in the Panama Canal Zone. Later, he was placed in command of Battleship Division 9, which consisted of the Battleships USS South Dakota (BB-57) and USS Alabama (BB-60). Hanson also served on temporary duty in BuPers, U.S. Navy.
In August 1945, Hanson relieved Rear Admiral William R. Furlong as Commander, Navy Yard, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; he also was made Acting Commandant, 14th Naval District. Edward William Hanson retired from the Navy as a Vice Admiral.
Hanson died at age 70 in San Diego, CA. He was survived by his wife, Nina A. Hanson, who died in 1974. She is buried with her husband.
VADM Edward W. Hanson has Honoree Record 3281 at MilitaryHallofHonor.com.
Bio compiled by Charles A. Lewis
Nina A Hertzberg Hanson
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