Griffin Leggett Healey & Roth Funeral Home

5800 W 12Th St, Little Rock, AR


William Howard Hanks

August 3, 1939November 5, 2019

HMC WILLIAM HOWARD HANKS USNR (Ret.), age 80 of Little Rock, Arkansas was born in Paris, Arkansas on 3 August 1939 and died in Little Rock on 5 November 2019. Enlisting in the United States Navy at the age of 17 in September 1956, he progressed through the ranks and attained his final rank of Chief Hospital Corpsman (Surface Force). Chief Hanks served on active duty in the Navy from 1956-1970, in the Navy Reserve from 1970-1981, and in the Fleet Reserve from 1981-1999. Chief Hanks was a graduate of Catholic High School, Arkansas Baptist College, and attended Ouachita Baptist University (graduate level studies). He was a graduate of the U.S. Navy Hospital Corps School and the Navy Advanced Hospital Corps School, and completed additional studies at San Diego State University, the Naval Medical School (now the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences) and a myriad of professional military courses of instruction at various locations.

While in the active component of the Navy, Chief Hanks had numerous shore duty asslgnments- San Diego CA, Yokosuka Japan, numerous duty sites in the interior of Vietnam and southeast Asia, Bethesda MD, Washington DC, Charleston SC, and Long Beach CA. His minority cruise was as a Hospital Corpsman aboard the USS Oriskany 1959-1960, with subsequent shipboard service as either a Medical Department Representative or Senior Medical Department Representative aboard the USS Colonial, the USS Outagamie County, and the USS Hollister (a destroyer). Prior to his initial tour of duty in Vietnam, Chief Hanks was instrumental in establishing the US Coast Guard clinics/ dispensaries in Sitka AK and other sites in the Alaskan Maritime Frontier Zone. In 1966, while in Vietnam, he was detailed to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) where he served as a field Medical Service Officer. Some of his temporary shore duty assignments included Bangkok, Beirut, and the Bahamas. Chief Hanks served three tours of duty in Vietnam during the Vietnam Conflict, the first was during the Vietnam Advisory Campaign, the second during the Vietnamese Counteroffensive of 1966, and the third was shipboard while aboard the USS Hollister (1969). After his active duty Navy service, Chief Hanks was one of the first civil service employees hired under the Vietnam Veterans Readjustment hiring authority in May 1970 by the US Veterans Administration (US Department of Veterans Affairs). He would serve his fellow veterans as a federal employee in the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Service at VA Medical Center Little Rock and as a Legislative Coordinator with the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) until retiring in December 1995. Chief Hanks retired from the United States Government with 39 years Federal Service.

Chief Hanks was preceded in death by his wife of over 35 years, Patricia R. Brown (Hanks). He is survived by his son James Briscoe Hanks. Chief Hanks was a Roman Catholic, a Member of The Society of The Cincinnati (hereditary descendant of Major Joseph Bowman), and a lifetime member of both the Disabled American Veterans and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. In retirement, he had numerous peer-reviewed articles published concerning genealogy, genomic genealogy and history. Chief Hanks was a 100% Service- Connected Disabled Veteran and had been awarded Navy-Marine Corps Combat Related Special Compensation just prior to his death. Five traits can sum up Chief Hospital Corpsman (Surface Force) William Howard Hanks USNR (Ret.)- Duty, Honor, Courage, Commitment, but most of all Love.

Donations can be made to the Navy & Marine Corps Relief Society, the Disabled American Veterans, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Red Cross, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or the Pulaski County Humane Society. Per his desire, Chief Hanks' remains will be cremated with memorial and graveside services to be held at a future date. Services are entrusted to Griffin-Leggett Healey & Roth.


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William Howard Hanks

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Becky May

November 13, 2019

Several of our classmates and I remember Bill as "Billy White" from Our Lady of The Holy Souls grade school and then again at our 50 year High School reunion in 2007. We kept in touch through the years and exchanged Christmas cards just last year. I always enjoyed our phone conversations.