Henderson, Frederick Howard, CPT

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
1542-Infantry Unit Commander
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Officer)
Primary Unit
1966-1966, 25th Infantry Division (Tropic Lightning)
Service Years
1963 - 1966



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 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
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Casualty Info
Home Town
West Point, NY
Last Address
West Point, NY

Casualty Date
Nov 03, 1966
Hostile, Died
Gun, Small Arms Fire
Vietnam, South (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Golden Gate National Cemetery - San Bruno, California
Wall/Plot Coordinates
12E 014 / Plot Sec B Site 35-A

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  2013, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

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 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award

 Unit Assignments
27th Infantry Regiment25th Infantry Division (Tropic Lightning)
  1966-1966, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment/B Company
  1966-1966, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment/C Company
  1966-1966, 25th Infantry Division (Tropic Lightning)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1966-1966 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Campaign (1965-66)
  1966-1966 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase II Campaign (1966-67)/Operation Attleboro
  1966-1966 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase II Campaign (1966-67)
 Colleges Attended 
United States Military Academy
  1959-1963, United States Military Academy
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Not Specified

Phase II of Attleboro

The operation kicked off at 0900 hours on November 3, when the 2/1 and 4/31 attacked along four axes, designated as Red, Blue, White and Purple. Because of the extremely difficult terrain in which the units were working, the attacking units were not mutually supporting. At 0922, B Company, 1/27, was airmobiled into a landing zone (LZ) to the east of the established blocking position. Meanwhile, C Company, 1/27, was airlifted into an LZ approximately four kilometers to the west of the B/1/27 blocking position. The plan called for a linkup of these two companies of the 1/27.

At 0950, C/1/27 landed in a cold LZ (no enemy action apparent) and moved 500 meters north through high elephant grass to the edge of a wood line. The company commander, Captain Frederick H. Henderson, sent a point patrol to the northeast into the woods to find the trail on which they were supposed to guide. That trail became known as "Ghost Town Trail." (The individual stories of the fighting and heroism along the trail were described in S.L.A. Marshall's book Ambush: The Battle of Dau Tieng.) After moving through the woods 400 meters to the north, the point squad of C/1/27 came under small-arms and automatic-weapons fire. The remainder of the C/1/27, which was still moving through the elephant grass, also came under fire. That initial encounter was the start of heavy, close-in fighting, which was typical during the rest of Attleboro. C Company, 1/27, and 1/27 did not advance much farther during this phase of Attleboro. A Company, 1/27, remained on security around the Dau Tieng airstrip.

It was later determined that the battalion had hit the Recon Company of the 9th Viet Cong Division. During the hours that followed, the C/1/27 tried to move into a defensive position and evacuate their wounded before continuing the attack. By 1210 the company had sustained six killed in action and six wounded. One of the casualties was Captain Henderson. Lieutenant Billy B. Powers, the 2nd platoon leader, became company commander. Around 1200 Major Meloy, who had been overhead in his command helicopter, came in low on the LZ and jumped from the chopper when it was 5 feet off the ground. He then moved up to the wounded Captain Henderson. After talking to the seriously wounded company commander, Meloy radioed and requested his helicopter support company, the "Hornets," commanded by Major Jim Patterson, to evacuate Henderson.

The VC had the advantage of firing from well-prepared positions along firing lanes that were close to the ground, well-concealed and hard to spot. They had also placed snipers high in the trees, tied to the trunks--either to keep them from leaving their firing position or to prevent them from falling out of the trees if they were hit. Tree snipers were to cause their fair share of U.S. casualties during the next three days. With Major Meloy on the ground taking personal control of the fighting and Captain Henderson critically wounded the buildup of troops in the area continued. (Captain Henderson died after the helicopter that had been summoned to lift him out was shot down trying to land on the LZ.)

I knew Fred from way back in our Freshman or Plebe Year. He was about as close to a stereotype West Point Cadet as one could ever be. Seriously studious when he had to be, yet eager for a chance to participate in horseplay, above average in athletics, average in academics, reliable in pulling his share of the load and ever ready to help others. This was a big guy with a big heart and a big smile. He was well-liked by everyone and everyone enjoyed his friendship. We parted ways after Graduation Day and our paths never crossed thereafter. The Philippine Army sent me to Vietnam about a month before his death, but I never found out what had happened to him until many, many years later. I was sorry to lose a friend and classmate but his country lost a good officer and a true hero.
Posted by: Brigadier General Ramon M. Ong (Ret)
Relationship: We were college classmates
Wednesday, June 20, 2001

C Co, 1-27th INF. At 0950, 3 NOV 66, C Co landed at LZ #1, vic XT410533. The LZ was cold. C Co then moved north for 1200 meter to elephant grass at vic XT 411538. CPT Henderson sent a soldier to look at a trail. Then C co came under fire from all directions by the 9th VC Division. By 1230 hrs, C Co had had 10 KIA and 14 WIA.
Posted by: LTC Pike
Email: ctdc@rcn.com
Saturday, November 17, 2007
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