Hank, William Edwin, LCDR

Fallen
 
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Last Rank
Lieutenant Commander
Last Primary Designator/NEC
111X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Surface Warfare
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1942-1942, 000X, USS Laffey (DD-459)
Service Years
1925 - 1942
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Virginia
Virginia
Year of Birth
1902
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Sheila Rae Myers, HM3 to remember Hank, William Edwin, LCDR.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Norfolk
Last Address
Toledo, Ohio

Casualty Date
Nov 13, 1942
 
Cause
Hostile-Body Not Recovered
Reason
Torpedoed
Location
Pacific Ocean
Conflict
World War II
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
MH 384 (memorial)

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 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

From the Wikipedia entry for the USS Laffey (DD-459):
The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal was just about to begin when the Japanese force, a group of two battleships, one light cruiser and 14 destroyers, under Vice Admiral Hiroaki Abe, appeared on the horizon. Laffey lashed out at the enemy with gunfire and torpedoes. At the height of the violent battle, the battleship Hiei came through the darkness and both ships headed at full speed for the same spot. They missed colliding by 20 feet (10 m). Laffey unleashed her torpedoes and, using all her firepower, raked the battleship's bridge, wounding Admiral Abe, and killing his chief of staff. Admiral Abe was thereafter limited in his ability to direct his ships for the rest of the battle. With a battleship on her stern, a second on her port beam, and two destroyers on her port bow, Laffey fought the Japanese ships with the three remaining main battery guns in a no-quarter duel at point-blank range. She was hit by a 14-inch shell from Hiei. Then a torpedo in her fantail put Laffey out of action. As the order to abandon ship was passed, a violent explosion ripped the destroyer apart and she sank immediately with heavy loss of life.

From various accounts in newspapers:
Once LCDR Hank knew the ship wasn't going to make it with all the damage, he ordered his men to abandon ship. Those who could got into liferafts or jumped into the water wearing life-preservers. LCDR Hank and three other officers remained on the forward deck. A final torpedo strike was the ending of the ship and LDCR Hank went down with his ship.
   
Comments/Citation

Service number: 059696

Navy Cross
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander William Edwin Hank (NSN: 0-59695), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the Destroyer U.S.S. LAFFEY (DD-459), during action against enemy Japanese naval forces off Savo Island during the Battle of Cape Esperance on the night of 11 - 12 October 1942. Boldly engaging a Japanese force of two destroyers and a cruiser, Lieutenant Commander Hank, despite his extremely hazardous position in a leading group and the terrific fire of the enemy, fought his ship with devastating effect upon the opposing vessels. Directing the fire of his guns with cool and daring accuracy, he enabled the LAFFEY to sink one hostile destroyer, to damage another, and to assist in the sinking of a cruiser. By his indomitable fighting spirit, expert seamanship, and gallant devotion to duty, he contributed largely to the success of the battle and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Action Date: October 11 - 12, 1942
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Commanding Officer
Division: U.S.S. Laffey (DD-459)

Navy Cross
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander William Edwin Hank (NSN: 0-59695), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the Destroyer U.S.S. LAFFEY (DD-459), during an engagement with Japanese naval forces near Savo Island on the night of 12 - 13 November, 1942. On this occasion the force to which Lieutenant Commander Hank was attached engaged at close quarters and defeated a superior enemy force, inflicting heavy damage upon them and preventing the accomplishment of their intended mission. This daring and intrepid attack, brilliantly executed, led to a great victory for his country's forces. By his indomitable fighting spirit, expert seamanship, and gallant devotion to duty, Lieutenant Commander Hank contributed largely to the success of the battle and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
General Orders: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 320 (November 1943)
Action Date: November 12 - 13, 1942
Service: Navy
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Commanding Officer
Division: U.S.S. Laffey (DD-459)


The information contained in this profile was compiled from various internet sources.
   
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Command at Sea

 
 Duty Stations
US NavyUSS Saratoga (CV-3)
  1926-1926, 000X, USS New York (BB-34)
  1934-1935, 000X, USS Badger (DD-126)
  1935-1938, 000X, USS Hull (DD-350)
  1938-1940, 000X, Bureau of Navigation
  1940-1942, 000X, USS Saratoga (CV-3)
  1942-1942, 000X, USS Laffey (DD-459)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-42)/Cape Esperance (Second Savo)
  1942-1942 Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-42)/Guadalcanal-Tulagi landings
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1921-1925, United States Naval Academy
 Other News, Events and Photographs
 
  May 01, 1940, Promoted to Lieutenant Commander
  Jan 13, 1943, Commanders of Lost U.S. Destroyers1
  May 21, 1944, USS Hank (DD-702) launched1
  Nov 14, 2017, General Photos3
 Military Association Memberships
World War II FallenThe National Gold Star Family RegistryUnited States Navy Memorial WW II Memorial National Registry
  2017, World War II Fallen
  2017, The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2017, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page
  2017, WW II Memorial National Registry
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