Sgt Justin M. Hansen
Staff and wire reports
Sgt. Justin M. Hansen, 26, of Traverse City, Mich., died Tuesday while conducting combat operations in Badghis province, according to the military. Hansen was assigned to 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, out of Camp Lejeune.
Hansen’s father, who confirmed the death earlier Wednesday, said his son died after being shot while on a house sweep. Hansen was on his second deployment to Afghanistan and also deployed once to Iraq, his father said.
Rick Hansen said his son was no stranger to the insurgents that U.S. forces faced.
“I said, ‘Do you get real close to these guys — the enemy?’ And he said, ‘Oh yeah. Someday we’ll sit down in a corner and we’ll talk about it,’ ” he told the Traverse City (Mich.) Record-Eagle. “That day never came.”
Hansen, a 2003 graduate of Kingsley (Mich.) High School, played football in high school.
Lifelong friend Jon Walton said Justin Hansen was “always full of energy, always up for something new.”
“And he was the most committed person I’ve ever met,” Walton said. “Whatever he did, he did 110 percent.”
Amanda Herrick, who graduated from Kingsley High a year before Hansen, said his loss was being strongly felt.
“We are still a small community. Everybody knows everybody,” Herrick said.
Kingsley is about 12 miles south-southeast of Traverse City.
Hansen joined the Corps seven years ago, according to TV stations WWTV/WWUP.
Rep. Dan Benishek...
Sergeant Hansen was killed during combat operations in Badghis Province, Afghanistan on July 31, 2012. Justin had previously served in Iraq and was serving his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.
A gifted athlete, Sergeant Hansen served as captain of the track, wrestling and football teams for the Kingsley High School Stags during his high school career. Sergeant Hansen also enjoyed outdoor activities such as snowboarding and was an avid motorcyclist--often doing these activities with members of his family.
Sergeant Hansen graduated in 2003 from Kingsley High School and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 2005. He attended the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton, California, where he graduated with honors. In 2006, Sergeant Hansen was selected to participate in and graduated from the Basic Reconnaissance Course in Coronado, California. He was also stationed at Camp Schwab with the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion in Okinawa, Japan.
He was later deployed with the 31st Expeditionary Marine Unit and joined the Special Operations Command in 2009. His honors include the Purple Heart, two Combat Action Ribbons, two Good Conduct Medals, certified Corps Parachutist, and a brown belt in the U.S. Marine Corps Martial Arts program.
Sergeant Hansen is survived by his parents, Ms. Vickie Hayes of Vanderbilt, Michigan, and Mr. Richard Hansen, of Williamsburg, Michigan. Sergeant Hansen is also survived by his stepmother, Shawna Hansen; stepfather, Steven C. Cornell; sisters, Adrienne (Matthew) Russell, of Traverse City, Morgan Compton and Veronica Compton of Kingsley; stepbrothers, Jeremy Borey, of Chicago, IL, and Adam Cornell, of Traverse City; stepsister, Jessica Borey, of Elk Rapids; grandparents, Wayne and Ardyce Hansen, of Traverse City, Ken and Sandra Sleder, of Traverse City, and Carol Hays, of Jackson; niece and nephew, Madison Goodwin and Garrett Russell, of Traverse City; aunts and uncles, Steve Hansen of Pacifica, California, Richard and Sue Costlow of Traverse City, USAF Chief MSgt. Erick M. and Mary Hays, of Benton, Louisiana, Lonnie and Valerie Schaub, of Grand Rapids, Dave and LeAnne Sleder, of Traverse City, Jeff and Bev Sleder, of Katy, Texas, and Kathy Sleder, of Fort Collins, Colorado; as well as a large extended family throughout the United States.
I can find no words that can fully express my gratitude for his service to our country or for the sympathy I feel for family, friends, and loved ones by the loss of this young man. I know Justin's memory will live on through our actions and conduct towards others. To Justin's family, I can offer only the hope that you will find solace in the loving embrace of your family, friends, and the kind providence of God. I am well aware that my words will not soften your overwhelming grief, but I am reminded of the words of President Lincoln, written to a mother during the Civil War, ``I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.'' On behalf of the citizens of the First District of Michigan, I would like to express my profound sadness for the loss of Sergeant Justin Hansen. Northern Michigan has certainly lost one of its finest, and his memory and service will not be forgotten.
LANSING, Mich.—By order of Gov. Rick Snyder, U.S. flags on all campuses of Western Michigan University and throughout Michigan will be lowered to half-staff Friday, Aug. 3, in honor of Marine Sgt. Justin M. Hansen, of Traverse City, Mich.
Hansen, 26, died July 24 while conducting combat operations in Badghis province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Hansen graduated from Kingsley High School in 2003, joined the Marines in 2005 and attended the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton, Calif. He was first stationed at the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion at Camp Schwab in Okinawa, Japan, and later deployed with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. Hansen joined the Special Operations Command in June 2009. He served a tour of duty in Iraq and was serving his second tour in Afghanistan.
Hansen received a Purple Heart, two Combat Action Ribbons and two Good Conduct Medals.
Former Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm issued a proclamation in 2003, requiring U.S. flags to be lowered to half-staff throughout Michigan and on Michigan waters to honor Michigan servicemen and servicewomen killed in the line of duty. Michigan was among the first states to honor its fallen sons and daughters by lowering flags.