WWII veteran’s remains to be buried in Laramie on Saturday


By Mary Rucinski

Laramie Boomerang

Via Wyoming News Exchange

LARAMIE — The remains of Machinist’s Mate First Class George Hanson, killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, will be escorted by motorcade from Denver International Airport to Laramie on Wednesday for burial on Saturday.

Hanson’s remains are expected to arrive at the Delta Airlines terminal of Denver International Airport at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday. Hanson will be buried in Greenhill Cemetery at 11 a.m Saturday.

Born in Pennsylvania in 1909, Hanson moved to Laramie with his mother in 1916. He stayed in Laramie throughout his teen years but did not go to school past the ninth grade, according to an April Boomerang article. Hanson worked for Union Pacific after leaving school.

Hanson enlisted in the United States Navy when he was 19. He became a Machinist’s Mate, whose job is to operate, maintain and repair machinery on the ship. Hanson re-enlisted in 1940.

Hanson was a sailor on the USS Oklahoma, which was active in World War I and the Spanish Civil War before moving to the Pacific.

The USS Oklahoma was stationed at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii when the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service attacked the United States military base on December 7, 1941.

The USS Oklahoma capsized after being hit by aerial torpedoes during the surprise attack.

The ship capsized 12 minutes after being hit. Hundreds of sailors were trapped inside. The banging of the crew members trapped inside the ship continued for three days. Of the USS Oklahoma crewmembers, 429 were killed in the attack, including Hanson.

Most crewmembers could not be identified after the attack, so they were interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. In 2015, the U.S. Military planned to begin identification work on the USS Oklahoma sailors killed in the Pearl Harbor attack.

Hanson’s remains were among those to be identified by a Defense Department laboratory in Hawaii. In December 2018, Hanson’s remains were positively identified after nearly eight decades.

The public is encouraged to show up for the procession along roadsides and overpasses to render honor as Hanson’s remains are escorted from Denver to Laramie, as safety allows.

At 8 p.m. the escort will depart DIA via Pena Boulevard to Tower Road, then to 104th Avenue, then to Interstate 25 northbound to the Colorado-Wyoming state line. It will continue on I-25 to Interstate 80 West to Laramie. The escort will exit I-80 at exit 316 (Grand Avenue) and take Grand Avenue to S. 22nd Street. It will end at 2133 Rainbow Ave., the location of Montgomery-Stryker Funeral Home at approximately 10:45 p.m.

The Federal Protection Agency oversees the Dignified Honors Motorcades in the State of Colorado and nearby areas.

Director of the Federal Protection Agency Leah Mondy said that police, fire and EMS departments will be along the route to render honors.

Mondy continued, “We do not want people to stop on the highway, that is a safety hazard for them and us.” Mondy explained service roads and side roads are ideal for being along the route.

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