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William Hanlon


Date and Place of Birth: April 15, 1921 Sacramento, CA
Date and Place of Death:    December 12, 1943 Bogue Sound, NC
Baseball Experience: College
Position: Catcher
Rank: Lieutenant
Military Unit: US Marine Corps
Area Served: United States

William C. Hanlon, the son of Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Hanlon, Jr., was born April 15, 1921 in Sacramento, California. Hanlon was a football star at Sacramento High School and was the varsity baseball team catcher at Stanford University in 1941.

Hanlon entered service with the US Navy and was assigned to a Marine Corps dive-bomber squadron at MCAS Cherry Point in North Carolina. A pilot, Lieutenant Hanlon took dive-bomber training at nearby Bogue Field, located on Bogue Sound, North Carolina. Specialized training facilities were established in the surrounding area to support the training of the dive-bombing squadrons. Dive-bombing circle targets were constructed on nearby islands, and vertical targets were built for low-level bombing practice, while a maneuvering target boat was also used on the Neuse River to practice attacks on shipping.

On December 12, 1943, Lieutenant Hanlon and his rear seat gunner were flying a Douglas SBD Dauntless that was practicing dive-bombing attacks. After going into a dive at 8,000 feet, Hanlon lost control as the plane began to go into a spin. Unable to regain control, it crashed into the bay, killing both men aboard. The bodies were recovered several days later.

William Hanlon is buried at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Sacramento.

Oakland Tribune – December 14, 1943
Stanford Baseball 2012 Record Book

Thanks to Astrid van Erp for help with this biography

Date Added May 6, 2013. Updated September 10, 2017

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