[i’d like to document this all here, while i have it, so that i may find it later without searching through files and boxes. so please note this is mostly for myself, but of course, i’d love for others to know how awesome my dad was, too.]
In 1961, my father was awarded a commendation from the US Naval Hospital Corps School. Letter follows:
(transcript: The Commanding Officer takes great pleasure in commending Frank Phillip Henderson for services as set forth herein.
You have demonstrated exceptional ability, initiative and devotion to duty while undergoing a course of instruction at the US Naval Hospital Corps School, Great Lakes, Illinois during the period 27 July 1961 to 16 November 1961. You attained a final scholastic average of 98.32 per cent and stood number 1 in a class of 42 students. Your graduation with honor is an inspiration to all members of the Hospital Corps and reflects credit upon yourself and the Naval Service.)
(transcript: Dear Dr. Henderson:
It gives me great pleasure to inform you that your son Frank Phillip Henderson, Hospital Apprentice, US Navy was graduated as the honor student of his class on 16 November 1961 from Hospital Corps School. It was my pleasure to deliver a letter of commendation to Frank at Meritorious Mast for showing exceptional ability and devotion to duty in attaining a very high scholastic standing.
You are congratulated on having a fine son who is taking advantage of the naval service. His continued efforts to avail himself of the education opportunities offered by the Navy will enable him to further his naval career and will additionally prepare him for his role in civil life upon his ultimate release from the Navy.
Upon graduation, Frank was transferred to the Field Medical Service School, Camp Lejune, North Carolina for temporary duty under instruction.)
Before my father died, he wrote a sort of outline of his life’s memories - just in case. Below are portions relating to his military life:
- Enlisted in US Navy - April 1961
- Boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois (16 weeks, no liberty) [*note, he always insisted he enrolled in both Great Lakes and Parris Island boot camps, back-to-back. Not sure why that isn’t accounted for here]
- Hospital Corps School in Great Lakes, Illinois (6 months)
- Attached to Recon Marines at MCAF New River, Jacksonville, North Carolina. Various assignments including cruises to the Mediterranean (USS Shadwell) and Caribbean (USS Boxer)
- Deployed during Cuban Missile Crisis in 1963 aboard USS Shadwell
- Left Norfolk on a Sunday - First time fleet deployed on a Sunday since Pearl Harbor. Serious situation, although we aboard ships had no inkling of what was going on.
- Recon training at Camp Geiger (night exercises, snakes in foxholes, hell on earth !!) [*note, my father’s fear of snakes is comparable to Indiana Jones]
- Flew sea air rescue (3 parachutists killed over 3 years, many broken bones and other injuries)
- Dispensary work (delivered 3 babies, ambulance driving on base and to Camp Lejune Hospital, minor surgery, giving shots, sick bay treatment of marines, flight physical leader last year)
- Applied to flight school, almost reeinlisted
- Lots of liberty stories (Barcelona, Naples, Pireaus, Malta, Vieques, Jacksonville, Myrtle Beach)
- Front teeth knocked out in fight the night before we left for the Med. - 6 months with no teeth - girls loved it!
- Rapid advancement from E-1 to E-5, in three years
- Discharged from active duty in the US Navy, April 1965. Stayed active in the reserves at Hancock Naval Reserve Center (on Portage Lake) until 1967. [*note, my mother says he remained on inactive duty for another six years]