S.E. Michigan
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Donald "Hoppy" Hanson
War: World War II, Korea, Vietnam
Branch: Navy
Unit: VR 721, Panter Jets (aboard USS Kearsarge
Highest Rank: Commander
Birth Year: 1924
Decorations: Air Medal - 2 stars; Navy Commendation with Combat Designator - 2 Stars; American Campaign; WWII Victory Medal; Navy Occupation; China Service; Korean Service - 3 Stars; United Nations Service Medal; National Defense; Armed Forces Expedition; Korean Presidential Commendation


Donald Hanson enlisted in the Navy in 1942. He was commissioned as an Ensign in November 1943. He spent WWII as a training officer. His training included Flight Instruction, Jet Training, Gunnery Training, Photo Training, and Nuclear Weapons Employment. After the war, Donald completed his studies at the University of Minnesota.

Most of his active duty was spent in Korea with the F9F Panther Jet. Hanson flew a total of 70 missions, 51 combat and 19 defensive. After one of his missions he landed his plane on the Carrier and there were over 300 holes from enemy fire.

Hanson got his nickname because he liked flying low. During one training flight, he and two trainees flew under telephone wires. Although he was reprimanded, he felt he got off easy. From that time on, the other flyers called him "Hoppy."

Hoppy retired in 1964 as a Navy Commander. He and his wife now live in Novi, Michigan at Fox Run Residents. Both he and his wife have been very active in a variety of volunteer activities.