TRAVERSE CITY (AP) – A U.S. Marine sergeant from northern lower Michigan has been killed in combat in Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced Wednesday. It was his second combat tour there, his father said.
Justin M. Hansen, 26, of Traverse City was killed Tuesday in combat in Badghis province, the Department of Defense announced Wednesday night. He was part of the 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion from Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Hansen was a 2003 graduate of Kingsley High School, where he played football. His father, Rick Hansen of Williamsburg, said that along with two tours of duty in Afghanistan, his son also served in combat in Iraq.
Hansen’s father said his son was no stranger to the insurgents that U.S. forces faced.
“I said, ‘Do you get real close to these guys – the enemy?’ And he said, ‘Oh yeah. Someday we’ll sit down in a corner and we’ll talk about it,”‘ he told the Traverse City Record-Eagle. “That day never came.”
Lifelong friend Jon Walton said Justin Hansen was “always full of energy, always up for something new.”
“And he was the most committed person I’ve ever met,” Walton said. “Whatever he did, he did 110 percent.”
Amanda Herrick, who graduated from Kingsley High a year before Hansen, said his loss was being strongly felt.
“We are still a small community. Everybody knows everybody,” Herrick said.
Kingsley is about 12 miles south-southeast of Traverse City.
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