Hendon Family Chronicles

~Page three~

Hendon Heroes
WWII


Interesting facts concerning members of our family who served the United States during World War II. Some are featured below, with more to be added when available:


Robert Marvin Hendon

His lineage :  James Hendon > Isham C. Hendon >  Aaron Hendon >  Benjamin Norris Hendon >  William Franklin Hendon >  James Wilson Hendon >  Robert Marvin Hendon

Robert Marvin Hendon was born 25 Apr 1912, Choctaw County, Mississippi. He enlisted in the US Navy 8 Apr 1930 and was on the Rolls of the USS Arizona when it was sunk in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on 7 Dec 1941. Hendon's rank on the Arizona was 'CGM' Chief-gunners-mate. He was ranked a 'LCDR' (Lieutenant commander) when he died at Long Beach, California 24 May 1984.

I am not aware of CGM Hendon's wereabouts on the day of the attack. Was he aboard the Arizona when she was attacked or away on liberty or ashore in Honolulu? It doesn't matter because he was among only 335 survivors out of a company of 1512 personnel on the Arizona at one of the darkest days in American history. He was awarded the 'Navy-Marine Corps Metal' for his salvage efforts at Pearl Harbor.

Robert Marvin Hendon is buried at Riverside (CA) National Cemetery.



                                                                                                                                James William Hendon, Jr.       
  
His lineage:
Josias Hendon >  Isham Hendon > Robinson Hendon > Johnson Hendon > James A. Hendon > Johnson M. Hendon > Erastus Tillman Hendon > James W. Hendon >  James William Hendon, Jr.                                                                             

James William Hendon Jr. was born  in Canton, Cherokee County, Georgia on 10 Dec 1925. He enrolled at 'The Citadel'
to futher his education and was among the 'Class of 46.' He must have left school early because he enlisted in the Army Air Corps 27 Jan 1944. Nineteen-year-old James was nicknamed 'Rebel', probably due to his southern heritage. He was assigned to the 550th Bomber Squadron, 385th Bomber Group stationed at Great Ashfield, England. James, a Ball Turrent Gunner, became a member of the infamous 'Rusecky' crew on a B-17 'flying fortress,' achiving the rank of SSgt. While on a bombing mission to Ulm, Germany, the aircraft had a Mid-air collision on 1 Mar  1945 over Ostend, Belgium with another American bomber, B-17 43-38273 (also 550th). Eight of James' crew members were killed. The lone sur
vivor was waist gunner Sgt Stanley Lejkowski. (Note): 129 B-17 bombers from Great Ashfield were lost during the War. 

James William Hendon, Jr. is buried at Ardennes American Cemetery






Roger W. Hendon

His lineage : James Hendon > Isham C. Hendon > Benjamin Norris Hendon > Stephen Duncan Hendon >  William Thomas Hendon > Roger W. Hendon

Roger W. Hendon was born 6 Oct 1919, Neshoba County, Mississippi. He enlisted in the US Army on 27 Feb 1940 and was assigned to HQ Co., 1st Infantry Division (The Big Red ONE). On D-Day, Roger's company was part of the Allied invasion at Normandy, France. SSgt Roger Hendon was awarded two silver stars for gallantry on that day. SSgt Roger Hendon was one of just a few to receive **two silvers stars for action during the same battle. On 5 Aug 1944, SSgt Hendon was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds he suffered during the D-Day landing at Normandy. Roger W. Hendon died 17 Jul 1978 at Long Beach, CA.

**Our nation's third highest service medal, the Silver Star, is awarded to a person who, while serving in any capacity with the U.S. Army, is cited for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force. The required gallantry, while of a lesser degree than that required for the Congressional Medal of Honor or the Distinguished Service Cross, must nevertheless have been performed with marked distinction.

                                           
Roger W. Hendon is buried at Riverside (CA) National Cemetery.




Clifford Daniel Hendon

His lineage : Josias Hendon >  Isham Hendon > Robinson Hendon > Johnson Hendon > Andrew Hartsfield Hendon >  Robert Jefferson Hendon > Clifford D. Hendon

Clifford D. Hendon was born in Rusk County, Texas in 1903. He enlisted in the U S Army on 17 May 1939. Clifford achieved the rank of Sgt. and served in the 31st Infantry Regiment. He was serving in the Phillipines Islands when the Japanese attacked in Dec 1941 and continued the fight until the 31St surrendered 9 Apr 1942.

Sgt. Clifford Hendon was among the
66,000 Filipino and 10,000 American POWs who were forced to endure the infamous 66 mile 'Bataan Death March'. During the main march—which lasted 5 to 10 days, depending on where a prisoner joined it—the captives were beaten, shot, bayoneted, and, in many cases, beheaded; a large number of those who made it to the camp later died of starvation and disease. Only 54,000 prisoners reached the camps; though exact numbers are unknown, some 2,500 Filipinos and 500 Americans may have died during the march, and an additional 26,000 Filipinos and 1,500 Americans died at Camp O’Donnell.  Sgt. Hendon was held at POW Camp 4, O'Donnel Tarlac, Luzon, Philippines.

In Dec 1944, Clifford Hendon and hundreds of his fellow prisoners boarded onto the 'Oryoku Maru' for transport to Japan, where they were to become slave laborers. Many of these 'hell ships' were used by the Japanese for transport in the Pacific. One survivor said: "The prisoners had been so crowded in these holds that they couldn't even get air to breathe. They went crazy, cut and bit each other through the arms and legs and sucked their blood. In order to keep from being murdered, many had to climb the ladders and were promptly shot by guards. Between twenty and thirty prisoners had died of suffocation or were murdered during the night."

The
'Oryoku Maru' sailed on December 13th and came under attack from American planes on December 14th. As evening approached, the attack was called off. The next day the planes returned and continued the attack. When the pilots saw the large number of men climbing from the ship’s holds, they realized the ship was carrying POWs and called off the attack. After the POWs were off the ship (they evidently jumped overboard), the attack resumed and the ship was sunk by American planes at Subic Bay, Philippine Islands, on December 15, 1944. Hendon was killed during the attack on the ship and his body was never recovered. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star; Purple Heart; Combat Infantryman Badge; American Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal and Prisoner of War Medal.


Clifford Daniel Hendon is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery and Memorial and at Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Rusk County, Texas.





Theodore William Hendon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
His lineage : James Hendon >  Thomas Jonas Hendon >  John Riley Hendon > Theodore William Hendon (lineage is sketchy before James)

Theodore 'Ted' Hendon was born 4 Aug 1918, Lawrence County, Arkansas. He enlisted in the U S Army on 10 February 1941 at Tacoma, Washington and received basic training at nearby Ft. Lewis, then assigned to Co. A, 194th Tank Battalion. The 194th was deployed to the Philippines during the fall of 1941 in support of its defense from a possible Japanese attack. The
Initial Japanese landings on Luzon occurred between 9 and 10 December 1941. Along with other units, the 94th courageously fought for the next three months, but was forced to surrender on 9 Apr 1942. 
Few could imagine the horrors that awaited them during the torturous death march and eventual internment. Sgt. Ted Hendon survived just a few weeks, dying from diphtheria on 21 Jul 1942 at Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija Province, Central Luzon, Philippines. His body was never recovered.

Sgt. Theodore W. Hendon's military records reveal: Engagements: Battle of Luzon, Battle of Bataan; Prisoner of War: 9 April 1942, - Death March - started march at Mariveles at southern tip of Bataan - POWs ran past Japanese artillery firing on Corregidor - San Fernando - POWs put into small wooden boxcars - boxcars could hold eight horses or forty men - 100 POWs put into each car - those who died remained standing - POWs leave boxcars at Capas - the dead fell out of cars - POWs walk lasted ten miles to Camp O'Donnell. POW Camps: Philippine Islands: Camp O'Donnell - unfinished Filipino training base - Japanese put camp into use as POW Camp - only one water spiget for entire camp - as many as 50 POWs died each day - Japanese opened new POW camp to lower death rate, Cabanatuan #1.
                                                                           
Theodore William Hendon is memorialized at Tablets of the Missing - Manilla American Military Cemetery

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                    Manilla American Military Cemetery and Sgt. Theodore W. Hendon