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Tigers: Tracking a Legend
William A. Henderson
Maj. Gen. William A. Henderson was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1943. He graduated from Ann Arbor Pioneer High School and earned his Bachelor of Science from Eastern Michigan University in 1964. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and was sent to Quantico, Virginia for specialized training. He was commissioned in 1964, and after a year of duty in California, was assigned to flight training in Pensacola, Florida and Kingsville, Texas. He received his wings in September, 1967, and was assigned to F-4 Phantom training in Beauford, South Carolina.
Henderson was assigned to the 3rd Marine Air Wing in Chu Lai, South Vietnam. From October, 1968 to May, 1969, he flew 125 combat missions over South Vietnam, Laos and North Vietnam. In June, 1969, he was assigned as forward air controller with the 1st Marine Division in Da Nang, South Vietnam. Henderson returned to the United States in 1970 and was assigned to a two-year tour of duty at the Naval Air Reserve Facility in Cherry Point, North Carolina as an F-4 check pilot, and, in 1972, as an F-4 instructor pilot. He left active duty in 1974.
Henderson joined the 127th Tactical Fighter Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Mt. Clemens, Michigan in 1977. He piloted F-100s and A-7s with the Wing until January, 1990 when he was assigned as the plans officer at the headquarters of the Michigan Air National Guard. He became deputy commander in 1991, and in May, 1992 was appointed as commander. In 1996 he was promoted to major general.
Henderson's many military decorations and awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential United Citation, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal and National Defense Service Medal.
In 1974, Henderson was employed by General Motors Corp. as professional corporate pilot, earning type ratings in the Sabre 650, Convair 580, Citation 3, 7, and 10, and Gulfstream 3 and 5. He advanced to chief pilot and to director of flight operations with responsibility for all facets of global flight operations. He retired from General Motors in 2003 and currently resides in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Maj. Gen. William A. Henderson was enshrined into the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame on May 19, 2012.