Hendon Family Chronicles

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Hendon Heroes of WW II

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Interesting facts concerning members of our family who served the United States during World War II. The following men showed extraordinary courage while fighting for their country. More will 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:


Navy and Marine Corps Medal


AWARDED FOR ACTIONS DURING World War II            Service: NAVY                          RANK: ENSIGN    

       GENERAL ORDERS Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 325 (April 1944)

CITATION:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy and Marine Corps Medal to Ensign Robert M. Hendon, United States Navy, for heroic conduct as leading diver and later officer supervisor of salvage activities at Pearl Harbor, following the Japanese attack on 7 December 1941. Ensign Herndon skillfully supervised assignments of enlisted men and personally participated in dives totaling more than 200 hours under water despite hazardous conditions within submerged hulls.

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, Omaha Beach, (Fox Red Sector). 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 also 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.

SILVER STARS AWARDED

Hendon, Roger W. HQ., 1st Infantry Division Gen. Ord. No. 39 (1944)
Hendon, Roger W. HQ., 1st Infantry Division, Gen Ord. No. 46 (1945)

**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.
                                    
In May, Ted Hendon's parents received a message from the War Department:  

“Dear Mrs. D, Hendon,

According to War Department records, you have been designated as the emergency addressee of Private Theodore W. Hendon, SN 20 - 956 - 906, who, according to the latest information available, was serving in the Philippine Islands at the time of the final surrender. “I deeply regret that it is impossible for me to give you more information than is contained in this letter.  In the last days before the surrender of Bataan, there were casualties which were not reported to the War Department.  Conceivably the same is true of the surrender of Corregidor and possibly other islands of the Philippines.  The Japanese Government has indicated its intention of conforming to the terms of the Geneva Convention with respect to the interchange of information regarding prisoners of war.  At some future date, this Government will receive through Geneva a list of persons who have been taken prisoners of war.  Until that time the War Department cannot give you positive information.

"The War Department will consider the persons serving in the Philippine Islands as “missing in action” from the date of surrender of Corregidor, May 7, 1942, until definite information to the contrary is received.  It is to be hoped that the Japanese Government will communicate a list of prisoners of war at an early date.  At that time you will be notified by this office in the event that his name is contained in the list of prisoners of war.   In the case of persons known to have been present in the Philippines and who are not reported to be prisoners of war by the Japanese Government, the War Department will continue to carry them as “missing in action” in the absence of information to the contrary, until twelve months have expired.  At the expiration of twelve months and in the absence of other information the War Department is authorized to make a final determination.

“Recent legislation makes provision to continue the pay and allowances of persons carried in a “missing” status for a period not to exceed twelve months;  to continue, for the duration of the war, the pay and allowances of persons known to have been captured by the enemy; to continue allotments made by missing personnel for a period of twelve months and allotments or increase allotments made by persons by the enemy during the time they are so held;  to make new allotments or increase allotments to certain dependents defined in Public Law 490, 77th Congress. The latter dependents generally include the legal wife, dependent children under twenty-one years of age and dependent mother, or such dependents as having been designated in official records. Eligible dependents who can establish a need for financial assistance and are eligible to receive this assistance the amount allotted will be deducted from pay which would otherwise accrue to the credit of the missing individual.

“Very Truly yours,
(signed) J. A. Ulio

                                    
Theodore William Hendon is memorialized at Tablets of the Missing - Manilla American Military Cemetery

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                    Manilla American Military Cemetery and Sgt. Theodore W. Hendon                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                   

  
    MAX ROBERT HENDON



His Lineage: Richard Hendon > Joseph Hendon > Benjamin Hendon > Henry H. Hendon > Benjamin Ervin Hendon > Max Robert Hendon

Max Robert Hendon was born 3 Mar 1919, Sumner County, Kansas. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1941 and was assigned to the 145th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Division (the Big Red One), 5th Army.


On 11 Nov 1943, Second Lieutenant Hendon's unit was in action against German forces at the Winter Line near Monte Cassino, Italy. For his extrodinary heroism and couragus actions during that engagement Hendon was awarded the U. S. Army's second highest award, the Distinguished Service Cross. Max Hendon fought valiantly in Algeria - French Morocco, Tunisia, Sicily, Naples-Foggia, Anzio, Rome-Arno, Southern France, The Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and central Europe.


           Medals, Awards, and Badges awarded to Lt. Max R. Hendon

Distingushed Service Cross
Purple Heart
American Campaign Medal
European-African- Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Arrowhead Pin, Silver and two bronze Stars
World War II Victory Medal
National Defence Service Medal
Croix de Guerre with Palm (France)
Presidential Unit Citation
Combat Infantryman Badge


Distinguished Service Cross Citation:

Second Lieutenant Max R. Hendon, United States Army, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extrodinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces on 11 November 1943. Second Lieutenant Hendon's intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 3rd Infantry Division, and the United States Army.


General Orders: Headquarters, Fifth U. S. Army, General Orders No. 59 (1944)

Death and Burial: First Lieutenant Max R. Hendon died 15 January 1959 in Arizona. He is buried at Resthaven Park West Cemetery in Glendale, Maricopa County, Arizona.


https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/5439249/max-robert-hendon