US Stamps

1945 Christmas card to U.S. Naval officer keeps it all in the family

Nov 24, 2023, 8 AM
Capt Harry J. Hansen, while on active duty in the western Pacific in December 1945, received this Christmas card from his son, Harry J. Hansen III. Their story has a surprise ending.

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

What could be a better morale booster for a Naval officer than a Christmas card from home with your son pictured wearing a Navy uniform? That’s what Capt. Harry J. Hansen received in December 1945. The image above shows the card and the envelope.

Hansen was captain of the USS Storm King (AP-171), an auxiliary transport named after Storm King Mountain in the state of New York.

In December 1945, the war was over, and Storm King, which had joined the Naval fleet in 1943, was engaged in returning servicemen serving in the Pacific home to the United States.

An interesting footnote is that the young man shown in the photograph, Harry J. Hansen III, also became a career U.S. Navy officer, retiring as a captain — an instance of life caught in the act of rhyming.

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