Lofton R. Henderson
|Lofton Russell Henderson|
May 24, 1903|
June 4, 1942 (aged 39)|
KIA in the Battle of Midway
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||1926 - 1942|
|Commands held||Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 241 (VMSB-241)|
World War II|
*Battle of Midway
Lofton Russell Henderson (May 24, 1903 – June 4, 1942) was a United States Marine Corps aviator during World War II. He commanded Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 241 (VMSB-241) at the Battle of Midway and died 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. Before World War II, he served in China, at various Caribbean stations, and on the aircraft carriers Langley (CV-1), Ranger (CV-4), and Saratoga (CV-3).
On June 4, 1942, as Japanese forces approached Midway Island in the Pacific Ocean, Major Henderson led 16 Marine Corps SBD Dauntless dive bombers in a glide 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. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.
- Navy Cross (posthumously)
- 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 II Victory Medal (posthumously)
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 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.
Another Henderson Field (IATA: MDY, ICAO: PMDY) is today a public airport on Sand Island in Midway Atoll, an unincorporated territory of the United States. The airport is used as an emergency diversion point for ETOPS operations. The airfield provides access to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. It operated until 1993 as Naval Air Facility Midway. The original Henderson Field was on Eastern Island (Midway Atoll).
- "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, Frank O.; Ludwig, Verle E.; 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.