Fletcher Hanks Jr., the son of cartoonist Fletcher Hanks, Sr. died on March 16, 2008.

Both “I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets!” an “You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation!” are dedicated to this courageous man.

Fletcher Hanks Jr.

OXFORD, MD.  Oxford native, globe trotter and pilot for China National Aviation Corporation during World War II Fletcher Hanks Jr. died March 16 at Memorial Hospital at Easton after an auto accident March 8 on the Easton Parkway. He was 90.

Hanks, known for his action-adventure life and strong opinions, is best known for his experience "flying The Hump," both in wartime and years later in the commemoration of his fallen comrades, and his book, Saga of CNAC 53, which chronicled those events. He often said his life's work was remembering his 23,000 friends who died in the war.

From July 1942 to August 1945, Hanks, sometimes called "Christy" by his colleagues, flew 347 trips in unarmed C-47s delivering supplies to inaccessible areas of China using a path from India over the south ridge of the Himalayas called "The Hump." Years later, in 1997, he returned to China and he and a group of Chinese soldiers found the wreckage of CNAC 53, the airplane piloted by American Jim Fox and his Chinese co-pilot and operator.

He wanted to work for cooperation between China and the United States.

At age 87, to mark the anniversary of the war's end, Hanks attempted another trip, this time in a vintage C-47, however he couldn't raise the needed $350,000 to make it happen.

It was Hanks' involvement with CNAC that led him to his wife of 40 years, Jane "Red" Foster, who was a volunteer with the American Volunteer Group, better known as the Flying Tigers which sometimes received supplies from CNAC. The two did not meet again until 1964 at a CNAC-AVG reunion.

Prior to his work in China, Hanks graduated in 1941 from Lehigh University where he ran on the track team and was a wrestler. He became a barnstormer with biplanes and went on to a civilian pilots training program to get his commercial pilots license.

As a Pan American Airways pilot, he flew supplies in India and was a co-pilot for Pan Am going to Central and South America.

"We could see the war was coming on the horizon," he said in a interview. "We thought Pan American would fly all the foreign flights."

 He was in Alaska hauling armor and supplies to the Aleutians before war was declared. Once he had to fly in 6,000 pounds of cow manure for the commander's wife who wanted a flower garden.

In 1942, Japan landed troops on Atu and then on Kiska at the end of the Aleutians. "They expected the U.S. Navy would steam north leaving Midway," he said. "The Navy was slow to respond and fortunately stayed around Midway."

 Hanks flew a DC-3 and at one time took out sick and wounded over the 20,000-foot-high Canadian Rockies. However, they didn't have a pressurized cabin and many of the wounded died.

After the war and because of his entrepreneurial spirit, Hanks returned to Lehigh to help raise funds to build quarters on campus for the college's fraternities. His salesmanship skills were legendary during his college days. To help pay his tuition, he was an agent for 13 newspapers, waited tables in the prep school's dining hall, sold stationery, and peddled shirts, socks and other men's attire bearing the Real Silk label.

 He eventually returned to Oxford, where to keep busy, he invented the hydraulic conveyor clam-digger that still is in use today. That invention landed him an appearance on the television game show, "What's My Line?" He had a seafood packing business and retired from that in 1978.

Like his father before him, Hanks was elected to the Oxford Town Commission and served in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Hanks, who was not a cat lover, tried to introduce an ordinance to require cats to be licensed. The measure failed.

Even in retirement, Hanks remained involved in business, through the community. He was an organizer of the Bay Bridge Swim until 1992 and founded the Oxford Triathlon, which was moved to Cambridge in 1980. He chaired that group until 1992 and even set a national record for 65- to 69-year-olds in the 10-mile run.

His book was published first in 1998 after his trip back to the Himalayas and he was honored in 2003 by the Oxford Community Center and the Oxford Library as a "Scribe of the Shore."

Hanks had five children from his first marriage.

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“Fletcher Hanks was a twisted dude." -R. Crumb.