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Lofton R. Henderson

Lofton R. Henderson
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 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.


  • Biography 1
  • Honors 2
    • Navy Cross citation 2.1
    • Other 2.2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


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.


Navy Cross citation

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 -


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.

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


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

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