June 4, 1921
Lt. Col. Lloyd F. Childers, USMC (ret.) Ph.D.
Moraga- Lt. Col. Lloyd F. Childers, 94, passed away on July 15, 2015 at the Moraga Royale retirement facility in Moraga California. Lloyd was born on June 4, 1921 in Norman, Oklahoma to parents Fred and Marie Childers.
Lloyd joined the US Navy in 1939 at age 19 after graduation from high school. He attended basic training in San Diego, CA. at N T C. While assigned to the USS Cassin in Hawaii as a radioman, he survived the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He was later assigned to a carrier group in the Pacific where he was a tail gunner in a VT-3 torpedo plane on the USS Yorktown (CV-5). His flight squadron, Torpedo Squadron 3, was engaged in the historic Battle of Midway on June 4, 1942 (coincidentally his 21st birthday). Lloyd's plane was severely damaged by enemy fire and he was gravely wounded. When his machine gun jammed he used his service pistol to continue to fire on the Japanese Zero's. Of 12 torpedo planes, his was one of two planes from his squadron to survive the attack on the Japanese and make its way back to the American fleet. His plane was so damaged it could not land on a carrier and ditched next to the USS Monaghan (DD-354). He was later transferred to another ship for his emergency medical treatment where he witnessed the sinking of the USS Yorktown from sickbay.
For his heroism at the Battle of Midway he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart.
Lloyd met and married Mary Lorraine Sprouls in 1944. They had three sons. Mary died in 2009 and he married Junetta Dawson in 2010, she preceded him in death in 2013.
After flight school in 1945 he was commissioned as a Marine officer and assigned to fly combat missions in Korea in 1950 & 1951. He was retrained as a helicopter pilot and was later deployed to the Belgian Congo for "humanitarian assistance" in 1959.
Lloyd completed is BA degree in 1963 from the University of Omaha but he wasn't quite done with his military career. He commanded Marine helicopter squadron HMM 361 in 1965 and 1966 in De Nang Vietnam. It was there he led the first successful night troop landing in a "Hot LZ". It was in Vietnam that Lloyd received the Legion of Merit as well as his second Distinguished Flying Cross. In total he received 14 Air Metals in his military career.
Before Lloyd finally retired from the military in 1968 after 28 years and he earned a Masters Degree in Education. After a brief time as a flight instructor at American Airlines, in 1973 he earned a PhD in Higher Education Administration at North Texas State University in Denton, Texas.
He served as an Associate Dean at Chapman College in Orange California retiring in 1988 to spend more time on golf and family.
Lloyd Childers is survived by his three sons Michael, Kenneth (Jacquie), and Bruce (Kitty) Childers, five grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Donations would be appreciated for the Wounded Warrior Project P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas 66675.
Published in Contra Costa Times on Jul. 18, 2015.