Lofton R. Henderson

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Lofton Russell Henderson
Maj Lofton R Henderson USMC 1941.jpg
Nickname(s) Joe
Born (1903-05-24)May 24, 1903
Lorain, Ohio
Died June 4, 1942(1942-06-04) (aged 39)
KIA in the Battle of Midway
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch  United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1926 - 1942
Rank Major
Commands held Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 241 (VMSB-241)
Battles/wars World War II
*Battle of Midway
Awards Navy Cross

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 citation[edit]

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).

In 1945, the Gearing class destroyer USS Henderson (DD-785) was named after him.

The 21st Street Bridge in his hometown of Lorain, Ohio, was renamed the Lofton Henderson Memorial Bridge.

See also[edit]


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

External links[edit]