Honoring Lance Corporal Michael Hanks

“Our family cannot find the words to thank you for this amazing experience, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.”

April 28 - May 1, 2023 Camp Pendleton, CA

We were honored to host the family of Marine and Silver Star recipient, Lance Corporal Michael Hanks. LCpl Hanks was killed in action on November 17, 2004.

Silver Star Citation

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Lance Corporal Michael W. Hanks, United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving as Fire Team Leader, 1st Platoon, Lima Company, Third Battalion, First Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, FIRST Marine Division, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Central Command, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM II from 8 to 17 November 2004. On 8 November 2004, while clearing enemy strong points during intense urban combat, Lance Corporal Hanks' team was ambushed and two Marines were mortally wounded. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, he placed his own body toward the enemy and dragged his remaining Marine out of the impact zone. Quickly assessing the situation, he directed a Squad Manned Automatic Weapon rocket into the enemy stronghold, eliminating four insurgents. As a remaining insurgent attempted to escape, Lance Corporal Hanks drew his pistol and eliminated him. Continuing the attack, Lance Corporal Hanks came upon two armed insurgents preparing to ambush passing friendly units. He quickly engaged the enemy, killing both insurgents. On 10 November 2004, as the platoon pressed the assault, Lance Corporal Hanks identified two escaping terrorists who had wounded a fellow Marine. He courageously exposed himself to a hail of enemy fire and killed the two terrorists at close range. As heavy enemy fire continued to impact around him, he retrieved and carried the wounded Marine to safety, saving his fellow Marine's life. On 17 November 2004, again disregarding his own personal safety, he bravely charged into a heavily-fortified enemy position. During the ensuing firefight, Lance Corporal Hanks was mortally wounded. By his bold leadership, wise judgment, and complete dedication to duty, Lance Corporal Hanks reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

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Over the weekend, Michael's family stayed near Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, revisiting many of the places where Michael trained and spent his time during his enlistment. They took part in the "Speak Their Names" hike, a tribute hike that leads to the memorial crosses above Camp Horno on Camp Pendleton, honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Additionally, they enjoyed a memorable whale-watching excursion off the picturesque coast of Dana Point.