BURTON R. HANSON, ENS, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Burton Hanson '40

Date of birth: February 14, 1918

Date of death: February 28, 1942

Age: 24

Lucky Bag

From the 1940 Lucky Bag:


Loss

"Oily" was lost when USS Jacob Jones (DD 130) was torpedoed on the morning of February 28, 1942 by U-578 off the coast of Delaware.

From the March 3, 1942 Naval communique reprinted in the April, 1942 issue of Shipmates:

The USS JACOB JONES, a World War destroyer, was sunk by an enemy submarine off Cape May, New Jersey, just before dawn on February 28, 1942.

There were only eleven survivors consisting of nine engine room ratings and two apprentice seamen. Factual information in regard to the circumstances that led to the sinking is sparse because of the lack of deck ratings among the survivors. It has been established, however, that prior to receiving the first torpedo hit, the enemy submarine was not sighted nor was the torpedo.

The first torpedo blew up the bow and apparently killed all the personnel on the bridge as well as the men sleeping in the forward living compartments. The second torpedo, which was fired after the submarine circled ahead of the JACOB JONES, blew up the stern and all the depth charges.

The only survivors, except one man from the after engine room, were in the amidship section when the stern was blown up.

His father was listed as next of kin.

Career

From History of Class of 1940:

Olie, a native of Wisconsin, was on the swimming team at the Academy. A genial, easygoing gentleman, he faced life and academics with equanimity. On graduation, he reported to light cruiser BROOKLYN (CL-40) in Pearl Harbor. After a year in the Hawaiian area and a goodwill trip to New Zealand, the ship was transferred to the Atlantic, where it was involved in "neutrality patrols" and convoy protection. In July; 1941, it was a unit of Task Force 19 in the initial occupation of Iceland. Olie served as radio officer until detached in December of 1941. On December 20, 1941, he reported on board recommissioned four-piper JACOB JONES (DD-130) at Boston Navy Yard as gunnery officer, in charge of the ship's four 4-inch guns, two torpedo mounts, and a depth charge battery as the country mobilized all available anti-submarine capability to meet the Nazi U-boat threat. By January, 1942, the ship was involved in convoys to and from England. On February 6, after a stormy crossing, JACOB JONES released the last ships of eastbound convoy ON-59 south of Newfoundland and was assigned to hunt U-boats on the East coast, where Allied shipping was being ravaged.

On February 28, 1942, off the Delaware Gapes, German submarine U-578 torpedoed JACOB JONES in a night surface attack. The four-stacker broke in two and most of its crew was lost, including Ensign Hanson. Olie was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart. His friends and shipmates remember him with great affection and a deep sense of loss. Ray Hundevadt

Related Articles

Hugh D. Black '26, Thomas W. Marshall, Jr. '30, and Norman C. Smith '42 were also lost when the Jacob Jones was torpedoed.


Class of 1940

Burton is one of 91 members of the Class of 1940 on Virtual Memorial Hall.