Lofton R. Henderson
|Lofton R. Henderson|
May 24, 1903|
|Died||June 4, 1942
KIA in the Battle of Midway
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||1926 - 1942|
|Commands held||Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 241 (VMSB-241)|
|Battles/wars||World War II
*Battle of Midway
Lofton R. Henderson (May 24, 1903 – June 4, 1942) was a naval aviator in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. He was the Commanding Officer of Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 241 (VMSB-241) at the Battle of Midway and is recognized as the first Marine Aviator to die during that battle while leading his squadron to attack the Japanese carrier forces.
Lofton Henderson was born on May 24, 1903 in Lorain, Ohio.
He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1926. Prior to World War II, he served in China, and various Caribbean stations, and on aircraft carriers Langley (CV-1), Ranger (CV-4), and Saratoga (CV-3).
Major Henderson was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his heroism at the historic Battle of Midway, one of the decisive battles of history. While leading 16 Marine Corps planes in a dive bombing attack on the aircraft carrier Hiryū, his left wing burst into flames as he began his final approach. Henderson continued the attack and perished as his plane dived toward the enemy carrier.
HENDERSON, LOFTON R.
Major, U.S. Marine Corps
Marine Scout-Bombing Squadron 241 (VMSB-241), Marine Aircraft Group 22 (MAG-22), Naval Air Station, Midway
Date of Action: June 4, 1942
The Navy Cross is presented to Lofton R. Henderson, Major, U.S. Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism as Squadron Commander of Marine Scout-Bombing Squadron TWO HUNDRED FORTY-ONE (VMSB- 241), during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Battle of Midway on June 4, 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 in action. It is believed he gallantly gave up his life in the service of his country.
In addition to the Navy Cross, Major Henderson was also eligible for the following awards -
- Purple Heart (posthumously)
- Combat Action Ribbon (posthumously)
- Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal
- Yangtze Service Medal
- Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal
- American Defense Service Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with star (posthumously)
- World War Two Victory Medal (posthumously)
In August 1942, the partially constructed Japanese airfield on Guadalcanal was captured at the outset of a six-month campaign to expel the enemy from both Guadalcanal and its sister island Tulagi. It was named Henderson Field (now Honiara International Airport) in his honor.
- "Navy Cross Awards to members of the U.S. Marines in World War II". homeofheroes.com. Archived from the original on 2006-08-29. Retrieved 2006-07-15..
- Hough, LtCol Frank O., USMCR; Ludwig, Maj. Verle E., USMC and Henry I. Shaw, Jr. "Chapter 4: Midway Versus the Japanese, 4–5 June 1942". U.S Marine Corps in World War II, Volume I: Pearl Harbor to Guadalcanal. pp. 221–225. Retrieved 2006-07-15.