[Eugene Ralph Hanks oral history interview (Part 1 of 2)]
In this two-part oral history, fighter ace Eugene Ralph Hanks discusses his military service with the United States Navy during World War II. In part one, he describes his experiences as a fighter pilot with Fighting Squadron 16 (VF-16) in the Pacific Theater. Special focus on a combat mission on November 23, 1943 in which Hanks scored several aerial victories against a formation of Japanese fighter aircraft. He also discusses incidents from his flight training and briefly describes his post-war assignments.
Sections of the interview may be difficult to hear due to background noise and spots of faint audio.
Oral History Item Type Metadata
Eugene Ralph Hanks was born on December 11, 1918 in Corning, California. He joined the United States Navy in 1941 and graduated from flight training the following year. A member of Fighting Squadron 16 (VF-16), Hanks served two combat tours in the Pacific Theater, one aboard the USS Lexington (CV-16) and one aboard the USS Randolph (CV-15). He remained in the military after the war and went on to command Joint Tactics Squadron 1 (JTS-1), Fighter Squadron 142 (VF-142), and Fighter Squadron 51 (VF-51). He also served as a test pilot and flew with the Blue Angels, the Navy’s flight demonstration squadron. Hanks retired in 1969 as a captain and passed away in 2014.