Frank A. Henning

NO. 17759  •  4 May 1927 - 30 May 2000

Died in Atlanta, GA
Inurned in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA

Frank Andrew Henning III, or "Bud," as his family called him, was born at Jefferson Barracks, MO, where his mother’s parents were stationed. His maternal grandfather was an Army officer, as was his father, who had graduated from West Point in 1920. Bud grew up during the Depression on Army posts at Ft. Sill, OK, Ft. Leavenworth, KS; Ft. Bragg, NC; and Washington, DC. Bud had no doubts about what he wanted to do with his life. At an early age he knew that West Point and the Army were his destiny. The advent of WWII only reinforced that desire and, instead of accompanying his parents around the United States while his father's division prepared for combat overseas, Bud enrolled in the Gunnery School in Washington, CT and then at Sullivan’s Preparatory School in Washington, DC, to prepare for West Point.

As a cadet, Frank, as his classmates knew him, although quiet and serious in outlook, was popular and well liked by his company mates. More importantly, he was seen as a friend who could be counted on when anyone needed help. That was how those who knew him best as a cadet remembered him. Many years after graduation, a company mate recalled how, during Plebe year, Frank had humorously advised him to try out for the Plebe soccer squad. If successful, this would give his friend a chance to eat his meals at a training table, free from the harassment of upperclassmen. Frank specifically suggested soccer because soccer was not a very familiar sport in those days and a plebe stood a fairly decent chance of making the team. The cadet in question admitted that he did not take the advice offered. He also ruefully recalled that he never did get to sit at a training table.

The '50 Howitzer noted that Frank was conscientious in every assigned duty, frequently suggesting additions to or improvements in cadet administrative matters. He was active in the French club and served on the staff of the Howitzer. His selection as a cadet first lieutenant during his First Class year reflected the high esteem in which both his classmates and the Academy staff held him.

After graduation on 6 Jun 1950, Frank, as a new second lieutenant of Infantry, was assigned to the 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Division, stationed at Bamberg, Germany. In later years he would enjoy attending the many reunions of the division, his beloved "Blue Spaders." It was during this initial posting that Frank met his future wife, Ann Crane, in Heidelberg, Germany, in 1951. Ann was there on a European tour with her mother - a graduation gift following Ann's graduation from the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, CA. Frank and Ann met at the Officers Club in Heidelberg, and they married three months later.

Some of Frank' s Army career highlights include service with the Ist Battle Group, 21st Infantry Regiment in Korea (1956); aide toGeneral Charles Palmer (1957-60) at the Presidio in California, and the Army Language School in Monterey, CA, where he became proficient in Portuguese with a follow-on assignment as an instructor in that language at West Point (1961-64). After graduating in 1968 from the Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, Frank went on to serve as a battalion commander in Viet Nam in the 173rd Airborne Brigade. During his tour he was awarded the Legion of Merit, a Bronze Star for Valor, three Bronze Stars, five Air Medals, and the Combat Infantryman Badge. In the early 1970s Frank's extensive experience with the Infantry was put to good use at the Land Warfare Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. His performance in this command as operations officer and chief, Military Operations Division, resulted in his being awarded the Meritorious Service Medal when he left that assignment. His final service duty was with the Reserve Divisions Group at Ft. Gillem, GA. When he retired from this assignment in 1978 as a lieutenant colonel, he was awarded his second Legion of Merit.

While in retirement in Decatur, GA, Frank worked extensively on family genealogy, authoring Ayers and Heirs, a book that explored his mother's side of his family. His marriage to Ann ended in divorce in 1992. After a long battle with cancer, Frank passed away in hospice care eight years later. He is survived by his two daughters and sons-in-law: Kay Hopkins and James Hopkins, LCDR USN (retired), of Springfield, VA; Carol Snyder and Dr. Robert Snyder of Carrollton, GA, six grandchildren; and his brother, William L. Henning. The pride and deep interest that Frank had in his children and grandchildren were readily apparent in the descriptions he provided about them in his contributions to the class's reunion books.

Frank was a loyal son of West Point who served his country in peace and war with great distinction. He lived a life that reflected the Academy creed of "Duty, Honor, Country. His family, classmates, and friends continue to miss him.

- Daugters Kay Hopkins and Carol Snyder, and brother William Henning