James Richard Hendrix (1925–2002)
James Hendrix, the son of a sharecropper, was born on August 20, 1925, in the small town of Lepanto (Poinsett County) near Jonesboro (Craighead County). At an early age, he left school to work alongside his parents, Pearl Hendrix and James Hendrix Sr., on the family farm. In 1943, at age eighteen, Hendrix was drafted into the U.S. Army. After attending basic training in Florida, Private Hendrix was sent to Europe assigned to the Fifty-third Armored Infantry Battalion, Fourth Armored Division.
Hendrix, along with his unit, waited out the Allied invasion of Normandy on a ship in the English Channel. His unit then landed and began the march across France to Belgium as part of General George S. Patton’s Third Army.
On December 26, 1944, near Assenois, Belgium, Hendrix captured two enemy artillery gun crews and held off enemy machinegun fire as his wounded comrades were evacuated. According to his Medal of Honor citation, “Later in the attack he again left his vehicle, voluntarily, to aid 2 wounded soldiers, helpless and exposed to intense machinegun fire. Effectively silencing 2 hostile machineguns, he held off the enemy by his own fire until the wounded men were evacuated. Pvt. Hendrix again distinguished himself when he hastened to the aid of still another soldier who was trapped in a burning half-track. Braving enemy sniper fire and exploding mines and ammunition in the vehicle, he extricated the wounded man and extinguished his flaming clothing, thereby saving the life of his fellow soldier.”For what was called “superb courage and heroism,” he received the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman at the White House on August 23, 1945.
Hendrix continued his military career following World War II, joining the paratroopers. Hendrix also served in the Korean War. He retired in 1965 at the rank of master sergeant.
Hendrix died on November 14, 2002, at his home in Davenport, Florida. He was survived by his wife, Helen; four daughters and their children; and two sisters. He is buried at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida.
For additional information:
Collier, Peter. Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor beyond the Call of Duty. New York: Workman Publishing Company, 2006.
Goldstein, Richard. “James R Hendrix, War Hero, Dies at 77.” New York Times, November 21, 2002. Online http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/21/us/james-r-hendrix-war-hero-dies-at-77.html (accessed November 1, 2012).
Ware, David. Beyond the Call of Duty, Arkansas Honors Its Veterans. Little Rock: Arkansas Secretary of State, 2002.
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Last Updated: 04/23/2013