Marine LCPL
Gregory, MI
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Memorial Location: 

Greenwood Cemetery
Grand River Avenue at Cemetery Road
Fowlerville, MI

Killed while engaged in combat operations in the Anbar province, Iraq. Assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, CA.

Lance Cpl. Michael W. Hanks was born October 7, 1982 in Howell, Michigan. Michael is survived by his parents Michael L. Hanks and Karen (Brandt) Hanks, his older sister Melissa Hanks-Gladstone, 26, his younger brother Clinton (C.J.) Hanks, 21, his niece Mikah Gladstone, 4 and his nephew Tucker Gladstone, 2.

Michael attended Fowlerville Community School from 2nd grade until 10th grade, where he participated in baseball, and was a member of the high school wrestling team. Although technically from Gregory, Fowlerville was always “home.” During his teenage years Michael set his goals on the military, focusing on the Marine Corps and the illustrious title of “The Few and The Proud.”

Michael joined the Marine Corps on January 30, 2001, and attended recruit training with 1st Recruit Training Battalion, MCRD, Parris Island, South Carolina, graduating on April 27, 2001. On July 11, 2001, he joined 3rd Battalion 1st Marines as a Rifleman with 1st Platoon, Lima Company. On June 3, 2002, Lance Cpl. Hanks was attached to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, where he participated in operations Infinite Moonlight, in Jordan, and Eager Mace, in Kuwait. Upon returning from deployment on December 16, 2002, Lance Cpl. Hanks was redeployed to Iraq from January 15 to May 23, 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom I. In May of 2003 Lance Cpl. Hanks received a formal commendation from the Marine Corps for saving the life of an Iraqi civilian. After returning home it was Hanks sense of honor and responsibility to his country, his devotion to his fellow Marines and his deep belief that he was playing a major role in liberating the Iraqi people, that led him to volunteer for his second tour. On June 18, 2004, Lance Cpl. Hanks was deployed to Iraq in support of Iraqi Freedom II, where he served as Fire Team Leader. During this tour, he distinguished himself as a leader throughout many combat operations in Fallujah, Iraq. Lance Cpl. Hanks was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for gallantry. On two separate occasions Lance Cpl. Hanks disregarded his own personal safety, exposing himself to enemy fire while saving a fellow Marine. On November 17, 2004, during an intense firefight Lance Cpl. Hanks would charge a heavily fortified enemy position and would be mortally wounded. His military awards and decorations include, the Purple Heart, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat “V” for Valor, National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terror Medal.

According to all who served with Lance Cpl. Hanks, his men would follow him anywhere. He was known for his ability to keep up moral in his unit with his sense of humor and ability to make everyone laugh. He was a true Marine. He had a strong devotion to his family, his friends, his country and the Corp that he proudly served. Because of these values he paid the ultimate price. He is greatly missed and fondly remembered. Somewhere in the great beyond he is waiting and still watching our backs.

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