A local Guardsman who has served in Iraq and helped keep U.S. aircraft in tip-top shape will receive the Legion of Merit, the military announced Thursday.
Master Sgt. John H. Hendricks, of Edmond, a former member of Company B, 834th Aviation Maintenance Company, headquartered in Tulsa, has been awarded the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious service with the Oklahoma Army National Guard spanning more than 29 years, Lt. Col. Max Moss said.
Hendricks will receive the award at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 20 at the Tulsa Army Aviation Support Facility.
1st Sgt. Doug Kimberlin of Company B, 834th Aviation Maintenance Company, said Hendricks was instrumental as the company worked to improve its wartime capabilities. His ability to train and mentor his soldiers ensured the maintenance company was able to operate in a more efficient and productive manner, Kimberlin said.
Sgt. Maj. Don Burrows of the Oklahoma National Guard’s Aviation Command worked with Hendricks for many years.
“He is what I would call ‘the soldier’s soldier,’ always taking care of those that work with and for him, and at the same time keeping everything operating to standard,” Burrows said. “I have never seen anyone with a better work ethic than Master Sgt. Hendricks.”
In September 1971, Hendricks joined the Oklahoma Army National Guard, Moss said. He served in the 45th Infantry Brigade until 1977. He left the National Guard for several years, but returned in 1989 as a member of the aviation maintenance section at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Lexington.
In 1992, Hendricks left Oklahoma for Arizona where he served with the Arizona Army National Guard for 10 years. In 2002, he returned to the Oklahoma Army National Guard and became a full-time federal technician at the Lexington facility.
During his tenure with the Oklahoma Army National Guard, Hendricks spent about 20 years in the aircraft maintenance quality control field. Under his supervision, Oklahoma Army National Guard aviation units routinely received better than average ratings and on at least one occasion they received a rating of “Commendable,” a very rare event, Moss said.
He was also responsible for the training and mentoring of newly appointed technical inspectors. The technical inspectors serve a vital role within the aircraft maintenance process as they inspect and sign off on all aircraft maintenance before the aircraft can fly.
In 2008, Hendricks deployed to Iraq and was selected over 15 other soldiers to be the quality control section leader. Thanks in large part to his attention to detail and unparalleled work ethic, the battalion had an 85 percent operational readiness rate for the entire deployment, Moss said.
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