Lofton R. Henderson

Lofton R. Henderson

Infobox Military Person
name=Lofton R. Henderson
born= birth date|1903|5|24
died= death date and age|1942|6|4|1903|5|24
placeofbirth= Lorain, Ohio
placeofdeath= KIA in the Battle of Midway

allegiance= United States of America
branch= United States Marine Corps
serviceyears= 1942
rank= Major
commands= Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 241 (VMSB-24)
battles= World War II *Battle of Midway
awards= Navy Cross

Lofton R. Henderson (24 May 1903 – 4 June 1942) was a naval aviator in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. He was the commanding officer of 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 24 May 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 in which the leadership of the fleet commander and the valor of a handful of pilots changed the course of the war. While his plane was leading 16 Marine Corps planes in a glide bombing attack on the aircraft carrier "Hiryū", the 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.

Navy Cross citation

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 Citation: "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 it action. It is believed he gallantly gave up his life in the service of his country."

Henderson Field

In August 1942, the captured Japanese airfield on Guadalcanal was named Henderson Field in his honor. It had been an enemy airfield under construction before the Marines captured in at the outset of what proved to be a six-month campaign of attrition to expel the enemy from both Guadalcanal and its sister island Tulagi. Henderson Field was completed by the Marines after they had been stranded due to the withdrawal by Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher of air cover and of transports by Admiral Richmond K. Turner under naval attack. Marines on Guadalcanal completed Henderson Field using the one bulldozer on the island, a captured Japanese bulldozer.

Namesake and honors

In 1945, the Gearing class destroyer USS "Henderson" (DD-785) was named in his honor.

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

ee also


*cite web|url=
title=Navy Cross Awards to members of the U.S. Marines in World War II

External links

*cite web|url=
title= Chapter 4: Midway Versus the Japanese, 4-5 June 1942
work= U.S Marine Corps in World War II, Volume I: Pearl Harbor to Guadalcanal
author=Hough, LtCol Frank O., USMCR
coauthors=Ludwig, Maj. Verle E., USMC and Henry I. Shaw, Jr.
pages= 221-225

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