Branch: U. S. Air Force
Rank: Lt. Colonel
Date of Service: 1941 – 1968
Home Town: Bagley, MN
Born in Tromso, Norway December 28, 1918 to Bendik and Fina Hanson, Frithjof Johan Hanson was the oldest of six children. He was baptized at Dom Kirke, the northernmost Protestant Cathedral in the world. Although not yet four years old, he immigrated in 1922 with his family to a farm in rural Clearwater County near Bagley, Minnesota. He was confirmed at Zion Lutheran Church. He attended District 30 Hillside school through the 8th grade. Around the age of 16, Fritz worked on a farm near Hallock. Then he went to the Twin Cities and worked in the Ford plant building cars until he entered the military.
Enlisting on September 17, 1941, Fritz entered Army Air Corps basic training and then graduated from radio operator school at Scott Army Air Field, Illinois on March 27, 1942. He attended Officer Candidate School and was commissioned in July 1943 as a second lieutenant. Upon completing signal officer school, he was assigned to an Army Air Field in Georgia where he trained radio operators until the end of World War II. He was honorably discharged June 10, 1946. He worked as a Veteran’s Service Officer in Clearwater County and remained in the reserves until being called back late in 1951. Fritz transferred to Oslo, Norway in 1952 with the Northern Allied Forces Europe. In 1954 he was assigned to Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. In 1956 he attended the University of Illinois earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Electronic Engineering in 1958. After completing his degree, Fritz was assigned to Goose Bay Air Force Base in Labrador, Canada. In 1961 he was stationed at Tinker Air Force Base, Midwest City, Oklahoma. He served one year at HQ MACV J-6, Saigon, Vietnam from November of 1965 to October of 1966. He finished his career at the 3rd Mobile Communications Group at Tinker before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in September 1968. Fritz entered federal civil service at Tinker Air Force Base working for the Directorate of Logistics, Air Material Command, retiring from federal civil service in 1982. His awards and decorations include: the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the WWII Victory Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with bronze star, the Air Force Reserve Medal with hourglass device, the Air Force Long Service Medal with four oak leaf cluster, the Good Conduct Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with three bronze stars, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
Fritz married Geraldine Marie McMartin on June 5, 1948 in Bagley, Minnesota. They were blessed with three children: Candis, Eric, and Kristin. Proud of his Norwegian heritage, he served as president of the American-Scandinavian Cultural Interest Group of Norman, Oklahoma. In retirement, Fritz and Gerry enjoyed traveling, dancing, visiting with friends and family, and Fritz kept busy golfing and fishing. They regularly visited Fritz’s beloved family in Minnesota. His brothers Oswald (Connie), Orville (Rose), and Harlan (Flo) Hanson and his sisters Hennie (Joe) Merseth and Signe (Don) Bergeson welcomed them with open arms and have many fond memories.
At the age of 86, retired LtCol Frithjof Johan Hanson died March 11, 2005. He was laid to rest alongside his wife, Gerry, at Arlington Memorial Gardens, Midwest City, Oklahoma. He is survived by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Blessed be his memory.