Robert E. Hannigan
Seaman 2nd Class
U. S. Navy
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 10/13/1944 - 06/25/1946
40-millimeter gun crew, USS Intrepid

Robert was born to Thomas Vincent Hannigan, Sr., a commercial plumber, and Delta Taylor Hannigan. His brother was Thomas Vincent Hannigan, Jr. (See OH-483). During the Depression, Robert says, the family did not go hungry. "My dad was fortunate. Working as a plumber he made a pretty good salary," he states. Meanwhile, Robert and Thomas learned the plumbing trade as apprentices. After his brother was married and living apart, their father came down with typhus fever. "I had to drop out of school and support the family," Robert says. By his early teen years he was working for DL Johnson Plumbing Company on a job in Lake Charles during the week and returning to Shreveport on weekends. To earn income for the family he had to drop out of Byrd High School to work full time. Wanting to enlist in the U.S. Navy after World War II began, he persuaded his father to sign papers stating he was17, although his real age was 16. Robert completed boot camp in San Diego, then, in early fall of 1944, boarded the USS Intrepid (CV-11) on which he would serve for the rest of the war. He served as a lookout. At his battle station he passed ammunition to 40-millimeter gun crews. Robert saw combat in major actions such as the battle for the Philippines, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. So steady was the combat that the men rarely had respite from general quarters. Once, Robert recalls, he served 72 hours without rest. "I tell everybody you were as scared as you could get but you did what you had to do," he comments about the war. Japanese kamikaze aircraft twice hit the Intrepid, causing severe damage and loss of life. The ship returned to San Francisco for repairs in November of 1944, then sailed back to the Pacific. In combat off Okinawa in April of 1945, kamikazes again hit the Intrepid causing more loss of life and a large fire. Once more the ship was repaired in San Francisco, and again returned to the Pacific where it continued operations until the war ended. Other than surviving combat, he also weathered four typhoons, one packing winds of 180 miles per hour. Robert was discharged in June of 1946. Back in Shreveport, he worked first for Arklatex Roofing and Sheet Metal Works, then for Richardson Plumbing Company. On November 18, 1948 he married Zelda Malden. (They would have one son, two grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.) In 1954 he went to work for Fitzgerald Mechanical, where he was employed for 21 years. He and his son, a contractor, also went into business together. Meanwhile, Robert worked as a teacher at Caddo Detention Center and served as chairman of the board of the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission. An ordained Baptist minister he pastors a church at San Patricio.