Biography - Dr. William H. Henry, Jr.

Bill Henry was born in 1927 and raised in Middletown, Ohio. (As a time perspective, 1927 is the year in which Charles Lindbergh made his nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic in the single engine "Spirit of St. Louis”. Also, Henry likes to say he was born just two months after the last Model T Ford rolled off the assembly line. Bill's father started out as a horse and buggy doctor (M.D. 1896) in the hills of Southeastern Ohio; his mother was a one-room school teacher and wartime government worker (both WWs I & II) who lived to age 104. His only brother was to become a CPA.

Bill graduated from Middletown High School in 1944 at the age of 16. His subsequent attempted wartime enlistment having been denied because of his age, he attended the junior college division of Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, MO. He enlisted in the Navy in 1945 with the war in Japan still looming, and tested into the V-5 naval pilot training program during the closing months of World War II, with assignments to Denison University (OH) and Union College (NY).

After his discharge, Henry attended Ohio University on the GI Bill where he was a member of Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity. He graduated in 1948 with a B.A. degree in economics, a private pilot’s license, and an ROTC 2d Lt's commission in the Army. He then attended graduate school while awaiting his requested call to active duty.

Emulating his father's love of the military, Henry entered the U.S. Army as an infantry second lieutenant at Fort Benning, GA in December 1948 and was integrated into the Regular Army after a 1-year Competitive Tour with the 15th Infantry Regiment of the 3d Infantry Division. Following service during the first year of the Korean War as a rifle platoon leader and subsequent selection as senior aide-de-camp to BG Armistead Mead, he was assigned to the ceremonial Old Guard (3d Inf Regt) in Washington, D.C., where for two of his 4 years there he commanded "E" Company.   It was during this Washington tour that he met and married Mary Frances (Fran) Wirsig, daughter of a U.S. Marine Corps colonel (later brigadier general) then serving as Deputy Commandant of the National War College.

Captain Henry next attended the Advanced Infantry course at Ft. Benning and subsequently qualified in Texas and Alabama as an Army pilot. After further qualification as an aircraft accident investigator at the University of Southern California and successive assignments as the assistant aviation officer of the Military District of Washington and then the 3d Infantry Division in Germany, he next served as senior aide-de-camp to MG Albert Watson II, the 3d division commander.

Newly promoted to major, he then commanded the 3d Inf Div aviation company (102 officer/pilots, 87 aircraft of 7 types, and 5 airfields) during the 'Cuban Crisis' and erection of the Berlin Wall.  He then attended the year-long Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth (1962-63) where he won the first place award in Military Staff Writing among the 600 U.S.and 120 Allied officers attending.  Henry next served in the 4th Inf Div at Ft. Lewis as 3d Brigade Executive Officer and then XO and CO of the 2/22 Infantry Battalion (Mechanized).  He then attended the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk (1965) where he was promoted to Lt. Colonel.

He was next assigned to the Pentagon (his third assignment to Washington) as the CH-47 (Chinook helicopter) action officer and then Transport Aircraft branch chief in the Army Aviation Directorate. There, having been selected at age 38 to attend the Army War College, he elected instead to retire in late 1967 following 20 years of service. Designation (with wife Fran accompanying) as the Army Staff representative to the 1967 Paris Air Show failed to change his mind. His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army General Staff Badge, Combat Infantry Badge, four battle stars, Army Aviator wings, and several service medals.

As a follow-on to an Army-sponsored MA degree in Public Administration from American University (1959), Henry, now retired from the Army, won a U.S. Department of Labor grant and Rutgers University fellowship which led to an earned doctorate in adult education (1978) [1]. After his Army service, Henry held several administrative posts while simultaneously studying for his doctorate (Continental Grain Co., Touche Ross & Co., and the Louis Allen & Associates consulting firm).  He joined Lockheed in 1981 at their Plainfield, NJ facility, as manager of training and organization development.  In 1983 he was transferred to Lockheed headquarters in Californiawhere he served as director of training and development for the corporation until he retired on January 1, 1994.

Dr. Henry is a past chairman and president of the Edison (NJ) Chamber of Commerce and past member and president of the Plainfield (NJ) Board of Education. He also served as an elected member (nine years) and president (two terms)of the Thousand Oaks (CA) Board of Education. He was impaneled and served as a commercial arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association, is a past chairman of the Executive Advisory Committee of the National Management Association, and was a member of the Academy of Management.

In 1986 Henry was one of four selectees nationwide for honorary life membership in Phi Kappa Phi, the National Academic Honor Society, for contributions to education in both the public and private sectors. Other honorary fraternities to which he has been elected include Omicron Delta Epsilon (Economics), Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science), and Kappa Delta Pi (Education).  He was awarded the 1991 Gold Knight of Management for service to the National Management Association and, in 1993, the Institute of Certified Professional Managers awarded him lifetime status as a Certified Manager (CM) for his support of the professional practice of management.

Both proud and respectful of his ancestry, Henry has qualified and been selected for membership in the following hereditary organizations: Society of Mayflower Descendants (7 of the 102 passengers), Society of Colonial Wars, Society of the Cincinnati, Sons of the American Revolution (7 proven Patriot ancestors), Society of the War of 1812, First Families of Ohio, First Families of Athens County, and the Military Order of World Wars. Henry continues his membership in Ohio University's Lindley Society, named for his ancestor who was the University's first president.

He is also a life member of The Retired Officers Association (now MOAA), the Society of the 3d Infantry Division, the 15th Infantry Regiment Association, and The Old Guard Association (TOGA) which memorializes the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment. The latter is perhaps better-known as the White House Honor Guard; for guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns; and for performing various military ceremonies in Washington and caisson funerals at Arlington National Cemetery.

The Henrys have three grown children (3 undergraduate and 2 graduate degrees among them), nine grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. They reside in their oceanfront home on Mandalay Beach, midway between Malibu and Santa Barbara. Both have been active in St. George's Anglican Church (each having served as Senior Warden) and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Bill served as president of their 738-residence Waterfront Homeowners Association for 3 years. Early in their retirement the couple started what they planned to be extensive travel with a trip to the major cities of China. However, they now travel infrequently (although 2005 did find them in Russia for two weeks) as they enjoy their permanent vacation at the beach.

On November 22, 2013, the couple observed the 61st anniversary of their military wedding in the Fort Myer (VA) Chapel by the former Chief of Army Chaplains, Major General Luther D. Miller, then Canon Precentor of Washington's National Cathedral (Episcopal). Their current focus is on maintaining contact with their farflung family, and on various online activities to include recording their ancestry.


[1] Doctoral Dissertation Research (Sponsored by the U. S. Department of Labor - 1977) Title: Second Careers for Retired Military Officers; The Transfer of Educational Attainments, Skills and Experience to Civilian Occupations; Source: Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, Office of Research and Development, Jan 78, pp. 270. Abstract: This computer based study examines the transition of career military officers retiring from all the armed services to full-time civilian occupations during the 1966-1976 timeframe. Conclusions are drawn from questionnaires completed by 1,259 respondents, an approximate one percent sample of the then retired officer population. A Transition Index combining retirement income and perceptions of retirement success and satisfaction was devised as a dependent variable for use in conjunction with some forty independent variables. The resulting relationships are detailed in 159 tables.