Bruce Rae Henderson


May 25, 1922 - June 30, 1994


Story by Iris Stevenson-Henderson, written June, 1968


Bruce was born May 25, 1922, St. Louis, Missouri. As his parents were divorced when he was a baby, he has no information regarding his father. His mother's name was Bruce, and several of his uncles were oil workers in Texas. He attended grade schools in Texas, and finished high school in Sacramento, California.

1955 Photo of Clara, Iris, Bruce and baby Ricky
While in high school he belonged to ROTC, and joined the California National Guard in his senior year. As a result, he was drafted in 1940 and had to secure leave from the Army to graduate from high school. He then applied for flight training, and was commissioned as a navigator-bombardier (2nd Lt.) in 1943. His flight experience was in the South Pacific, and he was based in New Guinea for a time, then in Darwin, Australia.

On his first mission his plane was shot down, and he was the only surviving crew member. He managed to swim to an island which was a rendezvous with a Navy destroyer, and after hiding in caves during the day (as there was a possibility the island was Japanese-held), he would go to the beach at a specified time to watch for the destroyer. After several nights the ship arrived, and he was able to rejoin his outfit.

After being released from active duty at the close of the war, he enlisted in the Air Force as a Master Sergeant, and served on recruiting duty in New York and San Francisco. After a transfer to Carswell AFB, Fort Worth, Texas, he was selected for intelligence training and assigned to school at Lowry Field, Denver. Assigned to South Ruisl. p, England 1951-1955 (part of this time working with British Intelligence in London); Offutt AFB, Omaha, Nebraska, 1955-1959; Warren AFB, Cheyenne, WY, 1959- 1963; Vandenberg AFB, California 1963-1967; Offutt AFB, Omaha, Nebraska, 1967- .

Recalled to active duty as 1st Lt. 1952; Captain, 1953; Major 1963; Lieutenant Colonel, 1966.

Transferred from Intelligence to Missiles in 1959 and was a member of the first operational missile squadron - the Atlas D. He and his Guidance Officer were selected for pictures and interviews for an article on nuclear war which appeared in an issue of the Saturday Evening Post.

Received the AB degree from University of Maryland in 1956.

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