Technical Sergeant Sterling Tatum Hendricks
Tech Sergeant Hendricks, deceased, of Little Rock flew 49 combat missions in Europe and 50 combat missions in the Pacific during World War II as a B-24 Gunner and Aerial Photographer. His decorations include the Silver Star Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart Medal for combat wounds and eight awards of the Air Medal.
Tech Sergeant Hendricks enlisted in the Army National Guard on August 3, 1940 just before his senior year at Little Rock High School. He was called to active duty before completing his senior year to begin training as an Aerial Photographer/Gunner on the B-24 Liberator. Upon completion of training, he volunteered for deployment overseas. As an Aerial Photographer he had the dangerous job of hanging from the rear of the plane to take photos of bombed targets to be used for bomb damage assessment which enabled rapid bombing accuracy for follow-on missions.
When the war ended in Europe and he had fully recovered from wounds sustained during one of his missions he volunteered to redeploy to the Pacific Theater. He flew 49 combat missions in the Europe-Africa-Middle East theater and 50 missions in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater. After the war ended in the Pacific, Tech Sergeant Hendricks returned to Little Rock where he met and married his wife.
For his actions Technical Sergeant Hendricks received the distinguished flying cross. The citation reads as follows: Sergeant Sterling T. Hendricks distinguished himself by extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as an Aerial Photographer Gunner, 98th Bombardment Group, European Theater of Operation, on 20 March 1944. To record his squadrons bomb hits on enemy targets, Sergeant Hendrix not only had to ensure his camera was properly mounted, loaded, and operational, but he had to carry on precise activities at high altitudes wearing an oxygen mask, under conditions of extreme cold in an unheated aircraft and in constant danger of heavy, accurate enemy anti-aircraft fire by 88 millimeter and large guns. His photographs enabled rapid bombing accuracy and damage assessment analysis and saved the cost in lives and aircraft that might have been lost in retargeting objectives. The professional competence, ariel skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Sergeant Hendricks reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
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