Michael Franc Hendrickson

First Lieutenant
United States Marine Corps
29 May 1943 - 25 July 1968
Great Falls, Montana
Panel 50W Line 006


Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Michael Franc Hendrickson

Friday, May 4, 2007

In May of 1968 I took my R&R in Sydney, Australia. I was a draftee assigned to HHC S2 of the 4/39th in the 9th Division, Mekong Delta. One night touring the Kings Cross bars I was thrilled to see Mike in a bar. Mike! Great to see you! Small world! We had been schoolmates in Great Falls, and I had known Mike for at least six years. We weren't close, but he was great friends with a guy who was great friends with my twin sister, so we often exchanged friendly hellos.

Now in Sydney Mike gave me a greeting to match my own, but was slightly distracted: He couldn't place my face. He cited a series of names, probably Marine base camps or battle sites in the north of South Vietnam. He seemed to see me as a fellow Marine, showing no sign of our high school and college context. We both had had some drinks, Mike swirling his small glass cheerfully, but I had a sense his confusion was not from the booze; that his battle experiences had sent all his youth to a netherworld. Naturally I could be wrong; just a sense I had. I couldn't bring myself to say: Mike! It's me! Keith from Great Falls! I just eased away, and hoped some Orpheus would bring him back to the world we knew.

On return to the States I was discharged in Oakland, then called a cousin, who took me to a local bar. I saw a former high schoolmate. Mick! Great to see you! Small world! Since small-world encounters were becoming a remarkable norm (I had also seen Glenn Fish, another Great Falls boy, in Bearcat just before leaving Vietnam), I mentioned seeing Mike Hendrickson in Sydney. And hey! he should be home now too. No, said Mick, he was killed just before his expected return; shot down in a plane while serving as forward observer.

I think of you often Mike, honoring your memory as one who died ever faithful, never counting the days when he could easily have opted out, seeing only a chance to serve his fellow Marines.

From a schoolmate,
Keith Fahey

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The first OV-10A BRONCO lost in combat in Vietnam was Bureau Number 155412, assigned to VMO-2 and flown by Captain Alfred L. Tripp, Warwick, Rhode Island. His observer was an infantry officer, 1stLt Michael F. Hendrickson, assigned to Headquarters, 1st MarDiv. The two men were marking a target in the vicinity of Binh Son, about 25 miles south of Danang, for an air strike when their aircraft was hit by small arms fire, failed to pull out of its dive, and crashed. Both men were killed in the incident.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a schoolmate,
Keith Fahey

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index H
MT State Index . Panel 50W


With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 04 May 2007
Last updated 05/07/2007