Sergeant Joshua E. Hansen United States Army (retired) Josh started his own motorcycle repair business in the 90’s, JH Racing, and traveled all over America as a mechanic for professional motocross/supercross racers. After 9/11, he enlisted in the Army Reserves at the age of 30. He volunteered for his first tour of duty in Iraq in 2004-2005 and served with the Army Reserve Unit 659th Engineers. When he returned home, he had difficulty adjusting to civilian life and decided to volunteer to go back to Iraq in 2006-2007 with the 321st Engineers. Josh served in Iraq as an IED Hunter in support of the 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Expeditionary Forces in and around Fallujah. His unit (call sign Pathfinder 1) cleared routes of improvised explosive devices. While on route clearance Josh’s vehicle sustained eight direct hits by IEDs, over a 7-month time period, which caused multiple injuries before he was medevac’d out of Iraq on March 15, 2007.
Josh lost six great men in combat (three from his company) before returning home for a challenging healing process. He was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress and suffered from neck and back pain, migraine headaches, etc. Josh has experienced the pain of war and is still working to overcome those challenges presented to him as a result of his service to the country. He relates to the emotional and physical struggles that Veterans are faced with each day. Josh’s official retirement from the Army was on March 13, 2010, and he was subsequently awarded the Bronze Star Medal on May 16, 2013.
He has been married to his wife, Melissa, for 21 years. After years of being foster parents, they adopted three wonderful children. Their oldest daughter is now in the Army Reserves.
While struggling to find the drive to enjoy life again, Josh lost four men to suicide here at home. He decided that since it was his duty to lead in combat he needed to start doing the same thing with Veterans here at home. He made it his goal to help other Veterans find the road to recovery so that they could start to enjoy life again. In August 2014, along with his wife (Melissa Hansen) and co-founder (Laura Cantin), Josh founded and began running Continue Mission.
Narrative of Bronze Star Medal Written by CPT Eric Coulson:
“SGT Hansen, United States Army distinguished himself with exceptionally meritorious
conduct in the performance of outstanding service to the United States as a Team Leader for
2nd Platoon, Alpha Company, Task Force 321 Engineer at Camp Ramadi, Iraq from 20
September 2006 through 15 March 2007 during OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM 06-08.
On 20 February 2007, while participating in route clearance in East Karmah, his patrol
was engaged by multiple improvised explosive devices (IED) causing multiple casualties in the
patrol; one IED caused the RG 31 to be blown onto its side. SGT Hansen dismounted to assist
in the recovery of the RG 31. While dismounted, the Soldiers on the ground were engaged by
small arms fire. SGT Hansen stayed outside to give cover fire while the rest of the dismounted
Soldiers got in their vehicles. His bravery and selfless service is an example for the Soldiers
within his platoon.
On 21 February 2007, SGT Hansen willingly volunteered to be the commander of the
lead vehicle for the patrol to go back into the Karmah area where the day prior, the patrol had
12 IED finds, four detonations on vehicles, and sustained five casualties. During the mission,
SGT Hansen found an IED and had a detonation on his vehicle; he continued the mission and
extracted a sniper team out of the area. SGT Hansen’s personal courage and dedication to the
mission went beyond the call of duty and further contributed to the accomplishment of the
After personally experiencing eight major IED attacks, SGT Hansen continued to deal
with his injuries and continued to volunteer to be the lead vehicle’s commander or driver in the
patrol. SGT Hansen helped 2nd Platoon accomplish over 125 missions, most of these missions
in the lead vehicle of the patrol. SGT Hansen’s loyalty, honor, and personal courage kept his
Soldiers’ motivation high and fears low, making his team the main team to lead 2nd Platoon’s
route clearance operations during OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM 06-08.
On 15 March 2007, while performing route clearance on School Road, SGT Hansen was
driving the lead RG 31 when it was struck by a surface-laid IED, causing minor damage. While
pulling the vehicle out of the kill zone, it was struck again by an IED directly underneath the
driver and passenger. SGT Hansen disregarded his own wounds and immediately started to
assist the truck commander whom was wounded and having trouble breathing. SGT Hansen’s
wounds were serious enough to require evacuation from the Iraq theater.
SGT Hansen’s willingness to learn and teach other Soldiers in the platoon the methods,
operations and responsibilities of the lead vehicle in route clearance operations led to the
success of the mission and the survivability of the Soldiers in the patrol.
By willingly traveling on the most dangerous and IED-laden routes in Area of Operation
Raleigh, SGT Hansen saved an untold amount of lives and military equipment. He ultimately
enabled the free movement of maneuver forces so they could accomplish their mission and help
bring stability to A1 Anbar Province.”
We honor you, Joshua Hansen.