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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS Feed Texas Flying Legends Heroes: Merton Hansen
Merton Hansen
Merton Hansen with his wife, Jeanne, after being reunited with his L-5.

June 13, 2013 - Along with an awesome collection of World War II aircraft, the Texas Flying Legends Museum will bring a number of WWII veterans to AirVenture in a C-53 transport. Here is the fourth in our series of profiles of those veterans, Navy observation pilot Merton Hansen.

Merton Hansen began flying in the Civilian Pilot Training Program and at the University of South Dakota before serving in the Marine Corps. He trained in Stinsons, and the SNJ Texans, receiving his wings at NAS Pensacola.

Mert first flew SBD dive bombers then volunteered with the VMO-5 Marine Observation Squadron that was formed at Quantico. The unit was assigned to the 28th Marines of the 5th Division.

In January the squadron prepared for combat at a secret destination - it was kept secret until the last possible moment. Turns out it was Iwo Jima, and Mert flew at least 28 combat sorties over the island in L-5s at extremely low altitudes.

He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for one particular mission on Iwo Jima. Sixty-seven years later, Mert was reunited with his L-5 aircraft.

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