Local veteran honored

A man originally from Tiffin will be one of several to be inducted into the Ohio Military Hall of Fame in May.

Army veteran John G. Henderson Jr., who was born in Tiffin and currently resides in Marblehead, is to receive a bronze star with “V” device for valor in Vietnam at the induction ceremony May 2 at the Ohio Statehouse, according to a release from the Ohio Military Hall of Fame.

According to information from the Ohio Military Hall of Fame, Henderson is receiving the award for his heroic actions Aug. 18, 1968. That day, a large Viet Cong assault force assaulted the Nui Ba Den Base Camp where Henderson was stationed. After an alert was called and the enemy was reported to be inside the perimeter, Henderson hurriedly armed himself and ran from his billets to join the base camp reactionary force.

Henderson was one of several assigned to retake the helicopter pad and surrounding area. Although drawing heavy small arms fire and being repeatedly exposed to exploding Rocket Propelled Grenade rounds, Henderson continued to move to the vanguard of the action to lay down a base of fire that was highly instrumental in containing the ground assault to a well-defined area. Relentlessly, Henderson, and the rest of the team, continued to direct their fire to insure that the enemy penetration was blocked. At first light, the fire team, after a short exchange of small arms fire, reached the perimeter bunkers to ascertain the extent of the casualties and to aid the wounded.

According to the Ohio Military Hall of Fame, Henderson’s heroic actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the U.S. Army.

Henderson, who will be attending the induction ceremony alongside his family and a couple of military friends, said he feels honored to be inducted into the Ohio Military Hall of Fame.

“It’s quite an honor,” Henderson said. “I never thought I’d be in the hall of anything.”

Henderson, 65, who served in Vietnam from 1968 until 1969, said although he feels honored to be inducted in to the hall of fame, he’s not the real hero.

“I feel awfully lucky I’m getting the award,” he said. “I’m not a hero by far. The heroes didn’t come back.”

“I feel sad that some of my buddies won’t get to go this ceremony because they didn’t make it,” he added.

Henderson said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and although it has taken years for him to talk about his service in Vietnam, he wants people to hear his story.

“It was pretty tough, at the age of 19 to go through this,” he said. “It’s nice to have this for (veterans) so people can hear what we’ve done.”

According to the release, other commendations to be given at the induction ceremony include the medal of honor, the distinguished service cross, the silver star, the distinguished flying cross, the air medal and the Navy commendation Medal. This year’s ceremony is to bring the total amount of inductees to 258.