Honor your hero with thoughts, memories, images and stories.
Justin told me when I ask why are you joining the Marines. Dad a father came on the radio after the battle of Faluhja saying how proud he was of his son whom he had just lost in that battle. "Dad I cannot sit here back at home while my peers are fighting and dying over there for my freedom. I have too go."
Out of basic in San Diego California, Justin was invited too try out for 3rd recon. Upon graduating he did two tours one in Okanawa and one in Iraq. Then Justin joined MARSOC now called he Raiders. The Tip of the Spear. Another tour Afganistan. This would be Sgt. Hansen's last tour. He was killed n action taking out a high valued target they had been after this bomb maker for years. A midget. The midget is dead. So is my son. 7/24/2012 RIP Sgt. Justin M. Hansen
Justin enlisted in the USMC in 2005 and attended the School of Infantry at Camp Pendelton, CA, where he graduated with honors. In 2006 he was selected for and graduated from the Basic Reconnaissance Course in Coronado, CA. He served with the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion at Camp Schwab in Okinawa Japan, where he deployed with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. Justin joined the Special Operations Command in June 2009 and served two deployments to Afghanistan. He received a Purple Heart, two Combat Action Ribbons and two Good Conduct Medals. He was also a Corps parachutist and earned a brown belt with the Corps' Martial Arts Program. Justin was a motorcycle enthusiast, and with the assistance and expertise of his Uncle Lonnie, customized a 2009 Harley-Davidson Road King, which was featured in the April 2012 issue of American Iron Motorcycle Bagger magazine. He was a life-long fan of the University of Michigan and Detroit Lions football teams, and he represented the USMC at the Super Bowl XLV in Dallas, TX in 2011.
A few years ago a Recon brother shared this about Justin. I have shortened it a bit, but feel that it provides a small, but accurate, glimpse of Justin: "Justin "Hansel" "Lenny" Hansen could have done anything he wanted with his life. As one of the hardest working and definitely the most competitive men I've ever known, that was his privilege. Anything in life. His love of football, his work ethic and dominating competitive spirit could have meant an entirely different set of life experiences with a likely promising professional career to follow. Instead, Justin chose to dedicate his life to his country and, above all else, the men he served with. We first met at the Recon Indoctrination Program at a dilapidated (possibly condemned) squad-bay (large room) on Pendleton where we were assigned to live with 30-50 other would-be Recon Marines. We graduated together from Basic Reconnaissance Course six months later and shortly after, Justin, myself and nine others volunteered to head out to Japan where we would finish the remainder of our 4 year enlistments. The eleven of us pretty much spent the next three years doing everything together. Together, we traveled to the Philippines, Hong King, South Korea, Thailand and eventually Kuwait and Iraq. Justin and I fought in the Philippines. I mean, we literally came to blows and grapples--over a chair and who would sit in it. It was just that way sometimes; anything could become a competition. He wiped the floor with me in front of everyone. He captained the flag football team he helped assemble and led them to back-to-back championships on Okinawa year after year. His recruiting tactics involved berating you, questioning your honor, your sexuality, your work ethic, basically anything so long as you were on his team so that he could lead, compete and inevitably win. Killed in the pursuit of a high-value target in Afghanistan on July 24, 2012--a Tuesday--some of his team told us his final words were, "I got him". And, of course, he had."
I had the honor of teaching and coaching Justin Hansen while he was a standout athlete at Kingsley High School. When I say "honor of teaching and coaching", I'm not sure that word does it justice. Over time, Justin went from player/student, to a role reversal of someone which I admired and became MY role model. Justin was a prime example of someone who maximized every second of life and every fiber of his body. He was an incredible competitor who people gravitated towards and his leadership skills made all those around him better. Justin has not only left a legacy on our community, but all of northern Michigan. It is amazing how seven years after his tragic death, he is still a living legend in our community. Justin came back to speak to our team once while on leave. He had an incredible message that day. The main focus was simply, "Work hard and good things will happen". That was Justin. The hardest working, most intense individual I've ever coached in 29 years of coaching. He worked hard for achieve every goal in his life. He has been an amazing role model and story of how to live life which we will continue to share for years to come. Although he is gone, his legacy and impact on high school football players and our community will live on forever. After his death, our community created two large football venues which have acted as a platform for honoring veterans and fallen heros. Thousands of fans giving standing ovations in honor of veterans, fallen heros, and those family members who struggle every second of their lives with the loss of a loved one. Although Justin is gone, he continues to touch and have an impact on so many lives. I believe in life, we need to try to live our lives with our glasses half full. Justin's was overflowing ALL the time. I cherish the time I had with this wonderful person. Thank you for the continued lessons Justin!! Coach Wooer
Justin was drawn to high values and morals at an early age. He set goals higher than most peoples expectations and then surpassed those goals. He was attracted to those who had a drive to succeed and not give up . He knew at an early age not what he wanted to be but who he wanted to be. He was always willing to take the time to help and encourage others towards their goals. He made freinds quickly and whore his beleafs where they could be seen easily.he placed high values on family. He had a love for his country and the history of his country. He had a great appreciation for the freedom and opertunity that being an american allowed him and he new that the sacrifice of others had provided that freedom. He realized that freedom wasn’t free and had a drive to share the cost whatever it was.
About four weeks ago my son, Sam’s Lacrosse team played a game in the honor of fallen soldiers of MI. He was lucky enough to be playing for Justin. Although due to a injury he could not play that game, but he did get to spend some time Justin’s father, Rick. Upon parting ways Rick place a special coin in my son’s hand. Coming from a military family my son was beyond speechless and tears. He recognized the significance and was truly honored. I wanted to Rick to know this made such a impact on my son that I can not even express. We are truly grateful and blessed with this honor. Sam immediately asked his father to help make a special holder so it could be placed in honor in our home. We now and always will have Justin, his family and all of the gold star families in our hearts and prayers.