Retired July 1, 1986.
Major General Donald W. Henderson is commander of the Space and Missile Test Organization, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. He manages test and launch activities of Air Force space and ballistic missile systems. He operates the Western Space and Missile Center at Vandenberg, the Eastern Space and Missile Center at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., and the 6595th Shuttle Test Group as it develops an Air Force space shuttle launch capability from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
General Henderson was born in 1938, in Roanoke, Va. He received a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Virginia in 1960. He also earned three master's degrees: astronautical engineering and instrumentation engineering from the University of Michigan, 1961-1962, and systems management from the University of Southern California in 1970. The general completed the Program Management Development Course at Harvard University in 1971 and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., in 1974.
In August 1962 General Henderson was assigned to Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., where he served as a flight test engineer and analyst during the initial aircraft flight testing of inertial navigation systems. He remained there until 1965 when he transferred to the Aerospace Research Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., as an instructor in the Manned Orbiting Laboratory astronaut training program and as chief of the Simulator Division.
Starting January 1969, General Henderson served a two-year tour of duty at Headquarters Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Md., where he worked in senior officer assignments and officer career development. From 1971 to 1973, he was assigned to the Short-Range Attack Missile Program Office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. After completing the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, he returned to Andrews Air Force Base as executive officer to the deputy chief of staff for systems.
In July 1975 the general transferred to the Space and Missile Systems Organization (redesignated Space Division in October 1979) at Los Angeles Air Force Station, Calif., where he served in the following positions: program manager for the Navstar Global Positioning System, deputy for Space Defense Systems and program manager for the U.S. Antisatellite System, and as deputy commander for space system acquisition, with oversight of Air Force satellite systems development and acquisition. He assumed his present duties in November 1982.
His military decorations and awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters and Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster.
He assumed the grade of major general Feb. 1, 1985.