Joe Kermit Hanna

Date of Birth:  December 1, 1916


Place of Birth:  Manhattan, Kansas


Father and Mother’s Names:  Joseph Edward Kimble and Josephine Hope "Minnie" (Reynolds) Kimble Hanna - Adoptive father, Wayne Edmond Hanna.


Date Entered Service:  January 22, 1942 from Fort Riley, Kansas.


Service Branch:  Army Air Corps


Rank/Specialty:  First Lieutenant, Pilot-RB-34 Ventura #AJ-309.


Service ID:  0-730471


Division/Company/Unit info:   IV Fighter Command, Portland Army Air Base, Oregon, HQ & HQ SQ, Portland Air Defense Region.


Riley Connection:  Born and raised in Manhattan, Kansas In 1930, Joe's step-father, Wayne Hanna, was a service manager at an automobile garage.  Joe's step-father owned and operated a service station in Manhattan, KS in 1940. It was a family run business with Joe pumping gas and his mother was the bookkeeper. Joe attended 1 year of college at K-State.


Date of Death (and Age):  March 13, 1944 (age 26) DNB (Deceased Non-Battle).


Place of Death:   SW slope of Hirz Mountain, Shasta Co., California.


Grave Location:  Sunset Cemetery, Manhattan, Kansas.


Bio:  Joe was born 12/1/1916 in Manhattan, KS. His parents moved to Junction City, KS by 1920 where his biological father, Joseph Kimble, managed a coal company. Sometime before 1922, his mother, Josephine, divorced and re-married to Wayne Edmond Hanna. In 1930, Joe's step-father, Wayne Hanna, and mother were in Manhattan, Ks. His step-father was a service manager at an automobile garage. Between 1930-1940 Wayne E. Hanna adopted Joe and Joe assumed the surname of "Hanna".


Joe's step-father owned and operated a service station in Manhattan, KS in 1940. It was a family run business with Joe pumping gas and his mother being the bookkeeper. Joe attended 1 year of college at Kansas State College in Manhattan. He soon joined the Army Air Corps on January 22, 1942 at Ft. Riley, KS. Joe was 5' 9" tall and weighed 183 lbs.


Accident Report:  First Lieutenant Hanna was the pilot of U.S. Army Air Corps RB-34 Ventura #AJ-309. Died in a crash, 23 miles south of Dunsmuir, California when his plane hit the SW slope of Hirz Mountain in Shasta Co., CA. Four other Army personnel perished with the Co-Pilot surviving. After the Army investigation into the crash it was given this designation as to the result and cause: KCRGCW (Killed in Crash, Ground Collision, Weather) (Where pilot flew plane into water, ground or mtn, not due to stall/ spin, fire, structural failure, mid air collision, engine failure, etc.).


More Details:

Aircraft Model: RB-34; S/N #0-730471 (Pilot)

Location: Portland Army Air Base, Oregon;

Squadron: Hq & Hq Sq, Portland Air Defense Region

Place of Departure: Red Bluff, California

Intended destination: Medford, Oregon;

Type of Mission: ferry Date: March 13, 1943;

Time: 13:00 PWT

Location of Crash: SW slope of Hirz Mountain

Reason for crash: Severe icing conditions were encountered, and control of plane was lost.

Number of Persons aboard aircraft: Crew 3 Passengers 3 Total 6


List of Crew (Crew position, Name, Rank, Status)

2nd Lt. Hanna, Joe K. Pilot Fatal

1st Lt. Smith, Robert M. Copilot Survived

Pvt. Lawhon, Boyd P. Engineer Fatal

A/Cadet Martin, G. Passenger Fatal

Cpl. Hazelton, C. D. Passenger Fatal

Sgt. Morris, H. Passenger Fatal


Narrative of eyewitness statements: On March 13, 1943, at 1300 pwt, RB-34 #AJ-309 left Red Bluff, California for Portland Army air Base on a CFR flight plan with clearance to Medford, Oregon only. According to statements by Co-Pilot Smith, a light overcast was penetrated soon after leaving Red Bluff. The flight was continued through layers until the vicinity of Redding, California was reached. The weather closed in and an ascent on instruments was attempted with anti-icing fluid and de-icer boots operating. Extreme icing conditions were encountered and the plane immediately lost stable flying characteristics. A 180 degree turn was attempted.


Passengers were instructed by Lt. Smith to put on their parachutes. Lt. Smith abandoned the plane at approximately 13:15 pwt, after receiving instructions to abandon the plane from Pilot Hanna. The time of the accident was determined as 1320 pwt. It is presumed the plane continued its turn out of control and descended until it struck the SW slope of Hirz Mountain. The plane was completely demolished and the bodies of all but Lt. Smith were found near the wreckage.


RB-34 History:  Lockheed B-37 - In August 1941, large orders for Venturas were placed with Lend-Lease Act money. Among the orders were for 550 armed reconnaissance versions of the Ventura. This aircraft was originally planned to be built under the designation O-56. The main differences between the Ventura and the O-56 were in the engines: rather than the 2,000 hp (1,491 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radials of the Ventura, the O-56 used 1,700 hp (1,270 kW) Wright R-2600-13 radials.


Before completion of the first O-56, the U.S. Army Air Forces dropped the "O-" category used to designate "observation" (reconnaissance) aircraft. The O-56 was redesignated the RB-34B (the R denoted 'restricted' meaning it was not to be used for combat). Before the first of these flew, the design was redesignated again as the B-37 with a higher powered version of the R-2600, later it also was designated the RB-37.




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