James E. Henderson
U. S. Army
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 12/05/1940 - 07/15/1945
Field Shop Foreman, 896th Heavy Auto Maintenance

He was born as the son of an oilfield worker in Keithville, Louisiana, but moved with his family to El Dorado, Arkansas, and then to Caspiana, Louisiana. James graduated from Fair Park High School in 1935, spent a year at Centenary College, and then struck out in 1940 for California where he worked odd jobs. Sensing that war was coming, he returned to Shreveport where he was drafted for a year's service, and scheduled for discharge in December of 1941. After Pearl Harbor was attacked, however, he remained in the army and shipped out from New York in November 11, 1943 on the HMS Andes. In England he was sent to an airplane identification school and then to mortar school. He crossed the English Channel on an LST (Landing Ship, Tank) on June 21, 1941. Following the offensive through France and Belgium, James worked in heavy maintenance, repairing tank retrievers. In the winter of 1944 -45 he remembers the hands of fellow repairmen cracking and bleeding from the weather and the work. Crossing the Rhine River into Germany, he explored a factory where German V-1 and V-2 rockets were made, and recalls how "everything was in operating order." After Germany surrendered he flew to America in a B-17, and was discharged at Camp Shelby on July 15, 1945. He worked for the U.S. Postal Service for thirty years, and then for a postal employees' credit union before retiring in 1983.