Hanson’s background as an aerospace contractor and licensed pilot brought her to Dayton to work at the University of Dayton. In addition to a stint at Lexis-Nexis, she also worked at Kroger before retiring in 2007. During that time, she became an aviation subject matter expert. But although she wrote many factual copies over the years, she never thought of writing fiction.
Until he found out about his father’s story.
“I joined a writing group about four years ago,” Hanson said. “I had to learn to give myself permission to embellish stories while writing fiction. And how to write from the heart.”
He felt his father’s story begged to be told, but he didn’t have all the details about the crew and their daily lives. After discovering that few printed materials exist about the LST, she decided to write a fictional story, based on the facts he had, to honor his father and his shipmates.
“One of the first things I did was go to the LST 325 Museum in Evansville, Indiana,” Hanson said. “They have the last operational LST from the WWII era.”
Hanson has been sailing since 1975 and during a transatlantic voyage he said he felt what his father must have felt when he was on watch early in the morning on a moonless night with a sky full of stars. But for him, it was not so peaceful.
“They had to constantly worry about submarines,” Hanson said. “Thinking about the LST and its crew is very sobering.”
Hanson began writing the history of the LST crew with only logs and diaries. But with that he was able to pinpoint, with some precision, the ship’s route and how many soldiers were on board. He made a sketch and the story began to come to life.
“All these guys were kids,” Hanson said. “70% were under 20 years old, including the officers. And they were all scared and nervous.”
Hanson said he wanted to avoid making his book another “Band of Brothers” story, and instead draw enough from real life to make it a true human story about what life was like for men on this kind of ship.
“I just wanted to tell the story of the men and honor what they did,” Hanson said.
It took Hanson more than two years to research and write his first book “Heroes All.” She opted for self-publishing and created his own website. The book became available for purchase in mid-April. Vice Admiral Andrew L. Lewis, retired from the USN, told Hanson that he “did it.”
Hanson is working on her second book now, her mother’s story of the Dust Bowl days in Kansas and Missouri. The book is set in the small town of Orrick, Missouri, where her mother was born.
LST 325 will make a trip up the Ohio River this September and Hanson hopes to be on board, although this is not confirmed. The ship will arrive in Cincinnati on the morning of September 27 and will be open to the public for several weeks afterward. She will also speak at the LST Association Meeting on October 1st. 19 with Lewis.
“My book is a tribute to a small group of America’s greatest generation,” Hanson said. “It is written to honor these sometimes forgotten and unsung heroes.”
To learn more about Hanson and his books, log on to combinemindscreative.com