On June 4, Earl H. Hanson, 95, of Ballard, will be honored with a Purple Heart for bravery in action during the Normandy Invasion in WWII. The medal will be presented by acting LCDR Naval Commander Jack Smock, Jr. at the Bozoo Ruritan and Community Building in Ballard, at 1 p.m. on June 4.
During the Second World War, Hanson served as an E3 Electrician Third Class in the Normandy Invasion on June 6, 1944, serving on the USS Rich, a DE 695 destroyer, which was blown up two days later on June 8. Hanson normally would have been at his post below decks in the engine room, but on that day he was on the top deck helping to man the guns when the ship was struck by mines. He suffered multiple wounds and contusions, broken ribs, a punctured lung and internal injuries.
Hanson’s daughter, Sharon Mullins reports her father has spent all his life in Cornstalk, WV. In 1999, he moved to Ballard, where he now lives. Mullins said her daughter, Jeanette Sibert, is the one who contacted Commander Smock to have the Purple Heart awarded to her grandfather. Smock will be bringing a Naval contingent with him to the presentation, and, she said, that the junior ROTC will present the colors. The event promises to be a proud day for the family and the many friends of Hanson.
Mullins asks that anyone wishing to attend the ceremony in Ballard to honor her father, Earl Hanson, to please call her at 304-753-9126 for more information. The address of the Ruritan Center is 103 Pinhook Road in Ballard.