Colonel Thomas M. Henry (Ret.)
November 14, 1926 ~ June 29, 2016
Funeral viewing will be Wednesday, July 27th 5pm to 8pm at Wiefels mortuary: 690 South Vella Rd. Palm Springs, Ca. 92264.
The funeral will be Thursday July 28th, 2016 1pm sharp at Riverside National Cemetery : 22495 Van Buren Blvd., Riverside, Ca. 92518.
The Celebration of Life memorial will be July 28th, 5pm to 10pm at the home of Dennis and Mindy Holbert, 630 N. Cahuilla rd. Palm Springs, Ca. 92262 ; directions will be given at the funeral RIP Col. Thomas M. Henry.
Thank you so much, DO TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES we MUST have RSVP to prepare for THE FOOD FOR how many will be attending...
All of our pal's who want to sing : EMAIL ME ASAP: I need to know your names and the song titles so I can make a show program for the Celebration of life.
we will have a sound system set up for CD's, mic, and speakers.if you have special needs plz include those in your email to me.
My love and appreciation to all who have been so very thoughtful and kind to give of their time to help me give honor to our beloved Col. Tom Henry... Jesus bless you all greatly with love, joy, peace , and wisdom.. xoxo Linda Chapman-Henry.
A MUST TO RSVP BY JULY 19TH to my email:
About: Colonel Thomas (Tom) M. Henry.
His 1st Competitive tour
Thomas M. Henry was a Platoon Leader, Reconnaissance Platoon for 42ndAIB. His mission was visiting each of the bridges of the 2nd Armored Division Defensive Zone of action to determine which bridges could support medium sized tank traffic. Once ascertained he developed a demolition plan to destroy these bridges. This mission assignment greatly enhanced his practical knowledge about demolitions which helped him later in his unconventional warfare operations with the Rangers and Special Forces.
His next Competitive Tour
Was as the Communication Officer 42nd AIB. This gave him good practical knowledge for future Command Control Communication System for Special Forces and Ranger operations.
The third Competitive Tour
He was a Heavy Mortar Platoon Leader. This experience with indirect fire weapons later helped him in developing the defense posture for the “Trung Lap Ranger Training Center,” in Vietnam.
Selected for the “The Infantry Officers Advance Course,” at Ft Benning, GA.
Volunteered for Parachute School at Ft. Benning, GA; receiving his Paratrooper Wings.
Volunteered for Ranger Training school program getting his Ranger Tab.
Korea service assigned to the 24th Infantry Division, first as the Assistant of the Inspector General sequentially becoming the acting Inspector General for the Division. When the 24th was re-designated as the 1st Calvary Division he was reassigned as Company Commander, A Company 8th Battle Group 1st Calvary Division on the DMZ.
Returning to the US after a 14 month tour of duty in Korea, he was assigned to the MT. Ranger Camp at Dahlonega, GA. He assumed command of the 2nd Ranger Company (Training) and was the Camp Executive Officer.
The Mt. Ranger Camp facilities were temporary; mostly canvas tents. Noticing the temporary conditions of the camp as a disadvantage to the Rangers being permanently engaged in the military training, He gained approval by the Regional District Engineer’s Office for his assignment of developing a construction program converting the facilities to more permanent installations.
1959 construction work began and completion of this project was an important goal of then, Captain Henry for the Ranger Camp to have permanent building facilities for the water, sewage, and housing for the training Ranger Cadre and students.
He transferred from the Mt. Ranger Camp to Ranger Department Headquarters in Ft. Benning, Ga. His first duties were as an instructor in The Patrolling Committee. He upgraded the first Ranger Scouting and Patrolling Training Film. He wrote the narrative portion of the film and served as an actor in the film.
US Army Signal Corp Committee in 1960 voted that the “Ranger Scouting and Patrolling Training Film” that Captain Henry produced was the best training film of the year.
He was made the Ranger Command Headquarters Department Plans, Operations and Training Officer, S3.
In January, there was an effort to develop plans for increasing the operational head training capabilities of the Special Warfare Center at Ft. Brag, North Carolina. The expansion plans included a recommendation submitted by the Commanding General, Lt. Gen. William Yarborough, of the Special Warfare Center at Ft. Bragg to move the Ranger Department responsibilities from Ft. Benning, GA. to his command at Ft. Bragg. The review committee was chaired by Lt. Gen. Howze. General Howze was the Commander of the 18th Airborne Corp formed at Ft. Bragg to review all the plans for the Special Warfare Center expansion. The recommendation to move the Ranger Department responsibilities from Ft. Benning to Ft. Bragg was put on the agenda of this reviewing committee. The Commanding General Hugh P. Harris of the Infantry Center at Ft. Benning, GA. gave then Major Henry the task of developing the brief and appearing before this reviewing committee with the briefing that would support keeping the Ranger Dept. at Ft. Benning.
In developing his briefing Major Henry focused on two factors relating to the movement. The first was the mission factor of the two organizations and secondly the total cost factors of moving the Ranger Department facilities from Ft. Benning to Ft. Bragg.
He emphasized the facts that the missions of the Ranger Dept. at Ft. Benning was to provide realistic combat training to all combat arms officers in the military with focus on both conventional and unconventional warfare techniques. He accentuated that the primary mission of the Special Warfare Center at Ft. Brag was to provide unconventional warfare training to selected officers and non-commissioned officers who were being assigned to Special Forces Units throughout the world.
Secondly, highlighting the disbursement cost factors of relocation on the Florida facility of Eglin AFB and the Mt. Ranger Training Center at Dahlonega, GA. had not been addressed in the first recommendation.
After listening to the mission and function factors offered in Major Henry's briefing General Howze stopped the briefing and indicated that he was convinced there was no reason to justifiably move the Ranger Dept. from Ft. Benning to Ft. Brag. The board agreed with Gen. Howze so the development recommendation was disapproved and dropped from the agenda; the Ft. Bragg briefing was never even heard.
In retrospect, Major Henry's briefing was highly instrumental in keeping the Ranger Department at Ft. Benning where it can perform its Army wide mission. Otherwise, the ranger department might have just been dissipated into Special Forces and could have lost all their identity.
He was sent to Vietnam to take charge of the US Army Advisory Team at the Vietnam Ranger Training Center in Trung Lap, Vietnam. Prior to his arrival in Vietnam the US Army Senior Advisor and the Vietnamese Camp Commander in Trung Lap were relieved of their duties.
Upon his arrival in Trung Lap, Major Henry immediately made a detail inspection of the training facility and identified several major areas that needed immediate correction.
The first deficiency he noted was the camp’s ammo and demolition storage facility. He found that ammunition, hand grenades, plastic explosives plus old French dynamite including other inflammable and demolition chemicals were all being stored in one small wood building in the center of the camp compound. He noted many boxes containing dynamite had not been rotated and nitro leaked out of the dynamite and was saturating wood containers including the floor under the containers. Immediately convincing the Camp Commander this problem had to be corrected right away Major Henry without delay personally removed the dynamite taking it to a secure area. He personally supervised the demolitions of that dangerous material. Major Henry advised the camp commander to separate all the different types of ammo into their own separate storage areas.
Recognizing the Ranger Squads he was training in Trung Lap were armed with a hodgepodge of weapons creating a complicated logistical system with the different types of ammunition.( Example: weapons; 12 gauge shot guns, Thompson’s sub-machine guns, M1 carbines, M1 rifles, BAR and 45 caliber pistols) He presented this problem to the MACV Staff. Soon he received the first 200 AR-15 rifles. He armed one Ranger Company totally with the AR-15 rifle. Major Henry then instigated an AR-15 rifle marksman training course. Preparing them for the future changes in the operations of this mission.
The Ranger companies he trained were reorganized as Ranger Battalions assigned to each of the four Corp Areas in the Republic of Vietnam.
He spent his last month of his tour in Saigon. He was assigned to be the Senior Ranger Advisor to the Biet Dong Quan Commanding General.
In a conversations with the Biet Dong Quan Commanding General, Major Henry told him that he totally approved of the Vietnam Ranger Battalions concept and assigning them at Corp level. Major Henry expressed that for years he has wanted the US Army to create Ranger Units for similar missions.
Major Henry attended the US Army Command and Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, KS. Students were required to submit a paper covering aspects of military tactics. Major Henry's paper "Training Tips from Trung Lap"; highlighting the advantages of Ranger Units in an unconventional warfare was published in the Army Magazine April 1964. He helped forge a close trusting relationship between Special Forces and Air Commandos FACS, AIE fighter pilots and AF troop transport pilots , (C-123, C-130‘s, and Caribous) . This relationship has grown closer over the years and is now very much in evidence at the Joint Special Operations Command, MacDill AFB, Florida, where Army Special Forces, Rangers, Navy Seals, and the Air Force Air Commandos all train and fight together under a unified, joint service command.
When Major Henry’s Vietnam tour ended he was assigned to Headquarters Strike Command in MacDill AFB, Florida. He was the Director of the Special Warfare Plans Office in J5 Plans Division of US Strike Command. Also, was Deputy Commander of Task Force 7. His office had the responsibilities for Special Operations planning activities in geographical areas of Africa, south of the Sahara, Middle East and South Asia. This office consisted of Joint Service Special Operations personnel from the US Army Special Forces, Navy Seals and Air Force Air Commandos. He was chosen SINCSTRIKE and designated the Command’s Primary Briefing Officer
Major Henry was promoted to Lt. Colonel .Lt. Col Henry’s experience in training the Vietnamese Ranger Companies and Ranger Battalions in Trung Lap, helped him reconstruct the Ethiopian Army.
Now a full bird, Colonel Henry's final assignment was at JFK Special Warfare Center Ft. Bragg, NC serving as Director for Combat Developments. CG, MG Robert Kingston asked, Col. Henry to develop a concept briefing supporting the establishment of an Army unit focused on counter/anti-terrorist operations. Developing his briefing Col. Henry noted Delta Force operators would function like brain surgeons in a medical operation and the Rangers would be like medical technicians. Highlighting the operational area would be sanitized and secured first by the US Army Rangers so Delta Force could perform their Mission.
He emphasized the unit most capable to secure the operational areas would be US Army Rangers. Col. Henry’s briefing gave five detailed scenarios of missions which could happen. Col. Henry’s Delta Force briefing was approved by Army Chief of Staff and formed the summer 1977.
Most importantly this Delta Force /Ranger team concept was instrumental in getting the US Army Rangers admitted to the Special Operations family that later came under Joint Operational Command in MacDill AFB.
Col. Thomas M. Henry was honored by his colleagues by having his name engraved on the Special Operations Legacy wall at MacDill AFB for his contributions he made while being a Ranger and Special Operations officer.
March 3, 2014
After meeting with Admiral William H. McRaven, The Commander of the United States Special Operations Command; Admiral McRaven made note of Col. Thomas M. Henry’s illustrious Career, his service to the Nation during WWII, Korea and Vietnam, as a Ranger and Special Forces officer. Also, noting on March 10, 2014, that Admiral McRaven thanked, Col. Tom Henry for the documented interview with the Historian James Herson Jr., which captured Col. Tom Henry’s contributions made to national defense while in Special Operations and the Rangers which set the course for today’s special operations forces which continue to defend our great nation.
On November 13th, 2011,
Colonel Thomas M. Henry received a Star on, “The Palm Springs Walk of Stars” in Palm Springs, California, for his contributions, in helping the veterans while in service with Riverside Country, Veterans Board of Supervisors.
On June 24, 2015
The induction of Col. Thomas M. Henry (Ret.) into The Ranger Hall of Fame
US Decorations and Badges
Expert Infantry Badge
World War II Victory Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
Army of Occupation Medal (Germany)
National Defense Service Medal ( 1st Oak leaf Cluster)
Senior Parachute Badge
General Staff Identification Badge
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Combat Infantryman Badge
Vietnam Service Medal
Republic of Vietnam campaign Medal
Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm
Bronze Star Medal (1st Oak Leaf Cluster)
Republic of Vietnam Armed forces Honor Medal (1st Class )
Legion of Merit ( 1st Oak Leaf Cluster )
Army Commendation Medal
Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Unit Citation
Army Infantry Assoc. invested
Col . Henry ( Ret. ) to The Order of St. Maurice (Patron Saint of Infantry )