George Ervine Hannan

NO. 17685  •  23 August 1927 – 2 October 1950

Killed in Action October 2, 1950, near Wonju, Korea, aged 23 years.

George Ervine Hannon was born at Mobridge, South Dakota on 23 August 1927, the son of Colonel and Mrs. William Seaton Hannan. His early education was secured in a number of South Dakota schools, and In 1945 he graduated with honors from the high school of Pierre, South Dakota.

Soon after his high school graduation, he met his future wife, Miss Georgia Banks, at a Prisoner of War Camp in Wyoming, where his father was Commanding Officer and Georgia's father was Post Engineer.

On his eighteenth birthday, George reported for Induction in the Army and spent some weeks at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. Soon after his Induction he received an appointment to the Military Academy from Senator Harlan Bushfield of South Dakota and was sent to Amherst College as a Student In the USMA Preparatory School there. After a year of training be received a discharge from the Army to enter West Point In July 1946.

His first year was not the easiest plebe year ever spent at the Academy, and he seemed to appreciate his upper class years more than did most cadets. Always a studious person, George managed to survive, and his graduation in the middle of his class was a major victory. During his four years as a cadet, he participated In many extra- curricular activities, Including work with the Howitzer, the Camera Club, the Concert Orchestra, and the Record Lending Library. He was a co-founder of the Record Library, and In his First Class year served as president of the organization. Athletically inclined, his forte was handball, at which sport he easily held his own against all comers.

On 6 June 1950 two of his three goals were reached. He was commissioned in the United States Army and assigned to the Signal Corps, and Graduation Day was made complete by the traditional West Point wedding to his longtime sweetheart, Georgia. Unfortunately, both graduation leave and honeymoon were abruptly cut short in July by movement orders for preparation for overseas shipment. Just three months later he was to give his life In attaining his third goal - that of bringing only honor to his loved ones and to West Point.

He reported to the 205th Signal Repair Company, Fort Lewis, Washington, on 26 July 1960, and on 4 August sailed for the Orient. After a short stay in Japan, George landed at Pusan, Korea, on 16 September.

Although with his unit In Korea only a very short period before his untimely death, George made an Indelible impression upon both the officer and enlisted personnel of his company by his remarkable ability to understand the situation and solve the problem at hand. On one occasion he led a convoy of trucks almost one hundred miles over unchartered roads, with the constant threat of the enemy to his flank, in order to get back to his unit.

On the night of his death, his signal repair unit was attached to the Sixth Republic of Korea Division, a very fluid organization. When word reached George that approximately 2,400 North Korean troops were almost upon them, there was no hope of an organized withdrawal. Being In a walled enclosure, their only hope of escape was in fleeing over the far wall. The proximity of the enemy was disclosed when one man was wounded by small arms fire. George's Distingulshed Service Cross citation reads in part ". . . With total disregard for his own safety Lieutenant Hannan maintained his position, although wounded several times, until all the enlisted men had cleared the area. When the enemy stormed into the compound, by sheer weight of numbers, Lieutenant Hannan was overwhelmed. The gallant sacrifice of life and heroic action of this oflicer saved the remainder of the detachment from certain annihilation. . ."

George Is survived by his widow, Mrs. Georgia Banks Hannan, of 1731 Princeton Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota; his parents, Colonel and Mrs. William S. Hannan, of 902 East Capitol Avenue, Pierre, South Dakota; his brother, William S. Hannan, Jr., of Austinville, Virginia; and his sister, Mrs. William A. Griffith of Palmerton, Penn. His family and friends knew him to be a person of high ideals with a great capacity for leadership. An editorial written after his death said in part, " …George Hannon was a gentleman by nature, a soldier by profession, and an officer by merit and Act of Congress…he died in the performance of duty assigned to him In the service his country . . . we hope his sacrifice will promote the cause of peace in a better world. . ." . George’s remains were returned to United States for burial and on 28 May 1951 he was laid to rest with all military honors at Riverside Cemetery in his home town of Pierre, South Dakota. Quite appropriately, the memorial services were closed with the words, "He gave his life so that others might live ... no higher tribute can be paid to any man ... Well done, good and faithful servant."

- His widow Georgia and his classmate Harold G. Nabham