Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
David C. Henry, Major, USAF (Retired)September 27, 1937 – December 13, 2013
LAFAYETTE – Major David C. Henry, USAF (Ret.), born September 27, 1937, in Abington, PA, David died on Friday, December 13, 2013 of a massive heart attack.
He graduated from Abington High School in June, 1955 and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force November the same year. David’s Air Force career took off when he was accepted into Officer Candidate School; he graduated in June, 1960 as a 2nd lieutenant. Pilot training followed and he won his silver wings in August, 1961. Education was important to Dave and he continued his studies, earning a BA in business in 1973.
David distinguished himself during the Vietnam War as a member of the first Air Force long range helicopter combat rescue unit, the Jolly Green Giants. His decorations as a Jolly Green include the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross (3 awards), the Air Medal (8 awards), and the AF Commendation Medal. He was also awarded the National Defense Service Medal with four battle stars, the Vietnam Service Medal (US), the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm (South Vietnamese), the Vietnam Service Medal (South Vietnamese) and the AF Presidential Unit Citation (the highest AF unit award). A daring flood rescue earned David the Airman’s Medal for Heroism not involving an armed enemy. He later received a second award of the Commendation Medal; a second award of the AF Presidential Unit Citation; the AF Outstanding Unit Award (2 awards), the Good Conduct Medal; and the Small Arms Marksmanship Ribbon.
After crew duty as a B-52 Aircraft Commander and various staff assignments, David retired after twenty-one years of service in July 1976. Following retirement from the AF David began his second career as a pilot for Petroleum Helicopters, Inc. (PHI). After completing 18,000 accident free military, commercial and private flying hours, he hung up his headset on his 56th birthday! He continued flying for pleasure following retirement.
In retirement his greatest pleasure was his loving wife Eulalie “Lee” Henry until her untimely death in October, 2007. In January, 2011 David met the lovely Eleanor Hubbard, they married in August the same year. They were a joyful loving couple sharing the last 3 years traveling and celebrating life together.
David is survived by his wife Eleanor Hubbard Henry; his brother Howard “Bush” Henry and wife Joan, Bryn Athyn, PA; his sister Juliet H. Davis, Cornwell, PA; and special friends Lisa and Leon Ferguson, Lafayette. David’s birth family was small but his “chosen family” was large and diverse; he loved each one with devotion, wit and humor. Always the great brother, “uncle”, and gracious host – whether the event was planned or more often, spontaneous. He possessed a rare gift that formed bonds and strong brotherhoods that spanned decades, most remember him as their best friend. Dave was preceded in death by his father, Howard M. Henry and mother, Katherine Bush Henry.
David will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery (date to be determined). A memorial service lead by the Reverend Ed Boyd followed by a celebration of life will be held 3 PM, Sunday January 19, 2014 at the Palmetto Club, 301 Heymann Blvd, Lafayette, LA. Friends are invited to come and share their “Dave” stories.
In lieu of flowers the family is requesting that donations be made in Dave’s name to your local SPCA or SpayNation. NEPTUNE SOCIETY OF NEW ORLEANS is in charge of arrangements.
Published in the The Advertiser from Jan. 15 to Jan. 19, 2014