Kent’s Don Hanson, who served five years aboard a U.S. Navy battleship during World War II, died Nov. 3 at age 96.
Hanson, a member of Auburn VFW Post 1741, served as a gunner’s mate in charge of a rapid-firing gun turret aboard the USS Idaho in the Pacific theater.
The “Big Spud,” a sturdy and resilient battleship, which primarily supported the fighting ashore with bombardments and antiaircraft fire, earned seven Battle Stars in its prime.
“You heard of all the stories about the guys who were lost there. We saw this,” Hanson said in a 2014 interview with the Reporter from his East Hill home, where he lived since 1968. “We were like spectators while guys were dying.
“I’m not a hero,” he quickly added. “The guys who are heroes – and you will hear me say this again and again – are the guys who never came back.”
Hanson had been a life member of the VFW and Disabled American Veterans for more than 50 years.
For the full 2014 story, see online.
Mike Sepal, U.S. Army retired and VFW Post 1741 member, offered the following prayer in honor of his friend:
The Sailor’s 23rd Psalm
The Lord is my pilot, I shall not go adrift;
He lighteth my passage across dark channels;
He steereth me through the deep waters,
He keepeth my log.
He guideth me by the evening star for my safety’s sake.
Yea, though I sail mid the thunders and tempests of life,
I shall fear no peril, for Thou art with me,
Thy stars and heavens, they comfort me.
The vastness of thy sea upholds me.
Surely fair winds and safe harbors shall be found
All the days of my life;
And I shall moor, fast and secure, forever.