Henry Cardoza was born in Tracy, California, on June 15, 1921. He attended Tracy Union High School and on January 9, 1941 enlisted as Apprentice Seaman in the US Navy at the Naval Receiving Station, San Diego, California. He was advanced as follows: Seaman, Second class, May 9, 1941; Seaman, First Class, November 1, 1941; Aviation Machinist’s Mate, Third Class, March 1, 1942; Aviation Machinist’s Mate, Second Class, October 1, 1942; and Aviation Machinist’s Mate, First Class, July 1, 1943. On September 30, 1952 his rating was changed to Air Controlman and on June 16, 1953 he received a temporary appointment as Chief Air Controlman.
Following his enlistment in 941 he had recruit training at the Naval Training Station, San Diego, California, after which he attended the Aviation Machinist’s Mate school, Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida. In July 1941 he transferred to the naval Air Station, Miami, Florida, and between October and December 1942 had instruction at the Link Training School, Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida. He returned until July 1943, when he was assigned to the Naval Aviation Cadet Selection Board, Dallas, Texas.
From January to April 1944 he attended the US Navy Pre Flight School, Athens, Georgia, after which he was assigned for four months to the Naval Air Station, Memphis, Tennessee. In September 1944 he had training at the Naval Air Training Base, Pensacola, Florida, and on April 20, 1945 he was designated Aviation Pilot First Class. In June 1945 he was ordered to the Naval Auxiliary Air Station. Green Cove Spring, Florida, where he served until October 1946 with Utility Squadrons SEVEN and NINE.
Following a month’s assignment (October-November 1946), at the Naval Air Station, Alameda, California, he was transferred to the Receiving Station, Alameda, where he was honorably discharged on November 14, 1946. The next day he reenlisted and subsequently served with Fleet Airborne Electronics Unit, Pacific; at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Ream Field, San Ysidro, California; the Naval Air Station, Corry Field, Pensacola, Florida; and with Helicopter Squadron ONE. While attached to that squadron, he had brief training duty with the Naval Amphibious Training Unit, Coronado, California; at the Receiving Station, San Francisco, California; and with the Fleet All weather Training unit, Pacific. In October 1950 1950 he was discharge and reenlisted, continuing service with Helicopter Squadron ONE until May 1952. For outstanding service in the Korean area, he was awarded the Commendation Ribbon with the metal Pendant and Combat “V” the Air Medal, and a Gold Star in lieu of the Second Air Medal. The citations follow:
Commendation Ribbon: “For meritorious achievement in aerial flights as pilot of a helicopter attached to USS Manchester during the naval bombardment of Yangyang, Kangnung, Wonsan, and Songjin along the east coast of Korea. By his professional skill and resourcefulness in piloting a helicopter for gunfire spotting missions, Aviation Machinist’s Mate First Class Henry Cardoza contributed materially to the destruction of enemy transportation facilities, military installations and troop concentrations. When it became necessary to fly very low over enemy positions for intelligence observations, he did so at a great risk without regard for his own personal safety. At Songjin on March 14, 1951, enemy antiaircraft fire disabled the rotor of his helicopter, but he succeeded, by expert airmanship, in landing safely aboard the ship…”
Air Medal: “For meritorious achievement as Pilot of a Helicopter in Helicopter Squadron ONE, on board USS Helena, during operations against enemy aggressor forces in Korea from April 24, to September 13, 1951. Completing twenty missions during this period, Cardoza carried out daring naval gunfire spotting, photographic and reconnaissance flights over an active combat area in the face of hostile antiaircraft fire. By his courage, skilled airmanship and devotion to duty throughout, he contributed materially to the success achieved by his squadron in mission against the enemy…”
Gold Star in lieu of the Second Air Medal: “For meritorious achievement in aerial flights as pilot of the helicopter on board USS Manchester during an aerial rescue flight near the city of Hungman, Korea, on April 13, 1951. Proceeding rapidly to the rescue of a British carrier pilot who had been shot down deep in hostile territory, Cardoza skillfully landed his helicopter near the wrecked, he leaped from his plane in the face of enemy anti-aircraft fire. Observing that his crewman was unable to extricate the injured man from the wreckage, he leaped from his plane, helped to free the airman and assisted in carrying him to the rescue craft. Taking off immediately, he returned to the Manchester, thereby saving the pilot from further injuries and from possible capture or death. By his skilled airmanship, courageous effort and gallant devotion to duty, Cardoza upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
He is also enlisted to the Ribbon for, and a facsimile of the Presidential unit Citation awarded Helicopter Squadron ONE “For extraordinary heroism inaction against enemy aggressor forces from July 3, 1950 to July 27, 1953…”
Assigned to the Naval Air Station, San Diego, California, he remained there until transferred to his present duty with Fleet Aircraft Service Squadron SIX, Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida.
In addition to the Air Medal with Gold Star, the Commendation Ribbon with Medal Pendant and Combat “V”, and the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon, Cardoza has the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; the Navy Occupations Service Medal; the National defense Service Medal; the Korean Service Medal; and the United Nations Service Medal. He also has the Good Conduct Medal with four stars; and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation.