The Henderson / McKnitt Family Military Service

My sister appointed me family historian, on Marco Island, FL in 1999. She said, “You have to do something besides hang out as a beach bum and chase ladies.”

Now in 2013 I can relate a portion of my family tree and their military service. While searching I used some family tales, on my mother’s side the story said that her third great-grandfather fought in the American Revolution and married an Indian princess.

Thanks to the ladies at the Genology Department at PJC in Pensacola, Fla., I was able to confirm that George Simpson not only fought in our revolution but he fought for the other side, for King George as a Lt. Commander in the Royal Light Horse /Artillery Brigade. He did marry a Delaware Indian, and stayed in New Jersey after the war.

There is no indication of the following wars up to World War One, where I found that my ancestors were all part of the draft but never called to duty. My mother’s older sister Mary married Morton Bennett who served as a sergeant in the war. Uncle Mort was called back after retiring for WWII as a trainer and Top Kick.

During WWII many of the family served. Two of mothers sisters served, Lorell in the Navy her husband John Jack Mask served in the pacific on an aircraft carrier. Then my cousin Phyllis, was an Army nurse. Mother’s brothers Samuel and Charles McKnitt served. Sam died of wounds and Charlie was killed in combat in the Navy. Chester would serve as an officer and retired after 30 years in the Army. Uncle Bob, Robert Wilhelm, Aunt Peggy’s husband in the Army Air Force, in California, and his brother was killed in the Pacific. Mother’s sister Irma Henderson’s daughter’s husband Alfred “Smitty” Smith served as a aircraft mechanic in the Navy in the South Pacific and later in the Korean War.

My father Ronnie M. Henderson served as a Seabee and was part of the group that retook the Philippians with General McArthur. His sister Lula Henderson Polk served as a ferry pilot and flew planes from the factory in Kansas to Miami, Fla., then later flew them to Tripoli, in North Africa. Her husband Douglas Polk was in the Big Red One and was caught in the battle of The Bulge.

Then my generation we had The Vietnam War and we all served in the Army, Airforce, Navy and Marine Corps.

So far the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have claimed none of our children. Although several have served.