This is a picture of my mother, Jane Reynolds Brown Hanson and father, Lt. Richard Milam Hanson.

Dad served in the SW Pacific. It was discovered that he was colorblind and he was assigned to the Quartermaster, which may be in part why he survived the war.

There was one time Dad met up with a childhood friend soon after the liberation of Manila. This friend gave him some war booty he had collected. Amongst these goodies was a set of Japanese watercolor paints. Soon after this reunion Dad was on an inspection trip aboard a DC3 flying over the Philippine Jungles. Since my mother was an accomplished artist and Dad had some paints and brushes he decided to paint a watercolor of the Philippine Jungle to send to his wife. Of course the colors were labeled in Japanese, and to complicate matters Dad is red/green colorblind. He painted what he saw. The painting was mailed home and forgotten. Years later Dad asked mom if she had received this painting. She told him yes she had gotten the painting, but she asked him what had happened to the jungle? Everything was orange and brown. To Dad the colors matched…

The rest of the war booty given to Dad included the following; a pristine Jap 7.7 Arisaka, a whole case (several hundred rounds) of ammo for the rifle. And two live Japanese hand grenades. All of the stuff was fully functional and in “as issued” condition. Dad being a Captain by then crated up his prizes, signed it a “Censored” and shipped it home to Oregon. He assumed it would ship home without inspection, which must not have been the case.

Months later my grandfather got a mysterious crate from the pacific. Granddad opened up the crate and the grenades were the first things he saw! He resealed the crate and stashed it in the corner of the basement for dads return. What nobody realized was the ammo and hand grenades has all be deactivated and rendered safe. Somebody had a lot of time since all 1000 rounds of rifle ammo had had the bullets pulled, and most of the primers had been removed. Due to the berdan primers used in the Japanese ammo it requires the case to be filled with water then a rod just large enough to slide inside the case neck to be inserted, then driven with a hammer to deprime the case, an arduous task to say the least. The rifle is still in my possesion and is shot occasionally. Note; the grenades used by the Japanese in the movie Hacksaw Ridge were very authentic.

This is exactly as I recall from my childhood.

~ Bart Hanson

Stories collected by Jenny La Sala

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