Terry Lee Henderson, U.S. Navy

  • Vietnam War – C.I.C. (Combat Information Center): The C.I.C duties related to the Naval Gunfire Team. Henderson passed information to Fire Direction Control needed to fire the ship’s 155 mm guns.

Medals and Awards: Vietnamese Service Medal, Vietnamese Campaign Medal, Navy Unit Citation, National Defense

Served aboard the USS Frank E. Evans, DD-754, a World War II Naval Destroyer of the Allen Sumner Class named in honor of General Frank Evans, a commanding general of the American Expeditionary Forces in WWI. The USS Frank E. Evans served proudly in WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam.

Hero’s Ending – It was 3 o’clock in the morning on June 3, 1969 off the coastal waters of Vietnam. Working alongside NATO forces and the Australian Navy, the U.S.S. Frank E. Evans was given orders to sail next to the Australian aircraft carrier the H.M.S. Melbourne. When the Evans was ordered to change positions, it collided with the Melbourne. That day, the United States military lost 74 brave sailors. Included on that list was Terry Lee Henderson.

Henderson’s Story

Terry Lee Henderson was born the son of William H. Henderson and Mary Ann Buettmer (nee Rudolph). He was born in Buffalo on July 23, 1947. His family headed to Westfield, where his father landed work at the Welch Juice Co. and worked his way up to the position of accounting superintendent. Henderson’s mother worked for several different employers over the years, including the Westfield Republican, the Kingan Pharmacy, Belknap Business Forms and the village delicatessen. When her husband passed away, she bought the delicatessen. Before her eventual retirement, she also worked at estate and household sales for 20 years.

Henderson had a brother, Craig, who served in the United States Army. He reached the rank of SP-5, serving a partial tour of duty in Vietnam, then was reassigned as an MP and sent back to the United States. He died in 1995. Henderson’s other brother, Randolph, still lives in Mayville with his wife Joette and works as a senior manager for Synergy Global Solutions.

Henderson grew up in Westfield, attending Westfield schools from kindergarten to twelfth grade. While in high school, he excelled in basketball and football. When he wasn’t suiting up for a game or practice, he enjoyed being a member of both the science and chess clubs. He was also an avid reader.

In school, Henderson’s best friends were Rick Mascaro, Clifford Hapgood, Tim Drake, Paul Laughlin, Eldon Oniel, Chris Hanson, David Black, Russell Paletto, Chester Jarmalowski, Charlie Scrapino and Carl Flick.

Some would say that growing up in the 60s was great, and one of our country’s best eras. The economy was good even though we were at war. There were plenty of jobs and opportunities, especially for young intelligent men. All one had to do to enjoy a good life was finish high school, do his time in the military, and the rest would come easy. Henderson felt that his life would go no different. He enjoyed high school and had fun with his friends. He knew serving his country was his duty, and part of the natural progression at that time for young men’s lives to take.

The good times ended with high school graduation in June. Henderson knew his next step was to pick a branch of the military, and for him, it was the Navy. In 1966 he set off for boot camp, which led him to Company 549.

After he completed his training, Henderson was assigned to the U.S. Navy Destroyer the U.S.S. Frank E. Evans, DD-754. His first overseas duty was August 17, 1967 to April 6, 1968. After gaining his sea legs on that first journey, his next assignment took him to West Pack, his Vietnam area of territorial responsibility. He would not return.