LOFTON R. HENDERSON, MAJ, USMC

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Lofton Henderson '26

Date of birth: May 24, 1903

Date of death: June 4, 1942

Age: 39

Lucky Bag

From the 1926 Lucky Bag:

Loss

1926 Henderson 4.jpg

Joe was lost on June 4, 1942 when his Douglas SBD-2 Dauntless dive bomber was shot down during an attack on the Japanese aircraft carrier Hiryu. He was the commanding officer of Marine Scout-Bombing Squadron (VMSB) 241; they had been stationed at Midway Atoll from April 17, 1942.

Biography

"My mother's favorite picture done by Lou Goodale Bigelow in Coronado. LGB was a local San Diego/Coronado studio of two very talented women photographers: Lou and her assistant, a Marine wife, Jeanette Merritt Atkinson. (photograph and other proof-poses in my possession)". Roy and Robin Adair, June 26, 2011

From Find A Grave:

Joe was born in Lorain, Ohio and graduated from Lorain High School. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy graduating with the Class of 1926. Unlike their Naval counterparts who had to "go to sea" for 2 years, those who chose the Marine Corps option could go directly to Pensacola for flight School. While he was there, he broke his leg and disqualified for further flying. He was sent to Tientsin, China where he spent a year with the China Marines. After the Marines left China, Joe managed to pass the flight physical and was sent back to Pensacola where he won his wings.

He flew with Gen C. Frank Schilt and the Marines in the Nicaraguan Campaign. He returned to Pensacola in 1932 as a flight instructor and met my mom there. They were married on 19 May 1933 and honeymooned across country to his new duty station, Coronado CA.

Navy Cross

"Joe getting ready for a flight at North Island, Coronado, CA probably between 1933-1935 before leaving for a tour in Quantico." Roy and Robin Adair, June 26, 2011

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Major Lofton Russell Henderson (MCSN: 0-4084), United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession while serving as Squadron Commander and a Pilot in Marine Scout-Bombing Squadron TWO HUNDRED FORTY-ONE (VMSB-241), Marine Air Group TWENTY-TWO (MAG-22), Naval Air Station, Midway, during operations of the U.S. Naval and Marine Forces against the invading Japanese Fleet during the Battle of Midway on 4 June 1942. With utter disregard for his own personal safety, Major Henderson, with keen judgment and courageous aggressiveness in the face of strong enemy fighter opposition, led his squadron in an attack which contributed materially to the defeat of the enemy. He was subsequently reported as missing it action. It is believed he gallantly gave up his life in the service of his country.

General Orders: Approved by the Secretary of the Navy on November 10, 1942
Service: Marine Corps
Rank: Major

Memorials

"Photo taken in Tientsin, China about 1927. Check out those dandy "leather putts."" Roy and Robin Adair, June 26, 2011

From Find A Grave:

WW2 Henderson Field at Guadalcanal was named for him on 19 Aug 1942. USS Henderson DD-785 commissioned on 4 Aug 1945, Seattle. 21st Street Bridge in Lorain, Ohio, one of the twin bridges over the Black River, named the Lofton Henderson Memorial Bridge, October 21, 1991. Originally Henderson Field on Eastern Island (Midway Atoll) was active and now the public airport is currently located on Sand Island (Midway Atoll) named Henderson Field.

Namesake

USS Henderson (DD 785) was named for Joe.


Class of 1926

Lofton is one of 36 members of the Class of 1926 in Memorial Hall.