“I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith.”
II Timothy 4.
Frederic Allison Henney was born on July 8, 1898, the beloved son of Peter A. and Ethel Hintz Henney. At an early age Fred moved with his parents and brothers and sisters to Delta, Colorado. Here he passed his boyhood and grew to manhood. He lived in the outdoors in this western country and developed a lifelong love of riding, hunting and all outdoor sports, in all of which he excelled. He was a clear eyed Westerner, of the breed who but a few short decades before had hewn the strength and might of this nation out of the trackless plains and forests that had lain untouched since time began.
He passed his high school days in Colorado, in the years prior to World War I, where he and his brothers passed happy years, playing football and basketball, in addition to their other scholastic activities.
He was completing his freshman year at college when he enlisted in the Army in 1918 to fight in the First World War. However, his military service was cut short during training when he fell a victim of the influenza epidemic in the summer of that year. The Armistice found him in a convalescent hospital in Colorado. He was honorably discharged from the Army shortly thereafter.
Fred’s interrupted military career commenced again in July 1920 when he entered West Point as a plebe. His strength, vigor and intelligence served him well as a cadet. He won the major “A”’s in football and lacrosse as well as the coveted stars for playing in the teams that beat Navy. His football career was interrupted during the Yale game in his Second Class year when he broke his leg. He stood high academically and his record was rewarded by his being made a Cadet Lieutenant in his First Class year. Graduating 36 out of a class of more than 400 in June 1924, Fred chose the Engineers.
Fred was first stationed at Fort Humphreys, now Fort Belvoir, after graduation. But his football background tagged him for yet another season, where he played on the 3rd Corps Area team. It was at such a game that I first met Fred, which began a cherished friendship that lasted till his death, over a quarter of a century later.
Fred stayed 4 years at Fort Belvoir, where he served as a company officer and attended the Engineer School. After attending a graduate course in Civil Engineering at the University of California, he won a scholarship to the Ecole Polytechnique at Zurich, Switzerland, which he attended in 1929-1930.
In the years before World War II, Fred rose in his chosen field. He served again with troops at Fort Dupont, as Assistant District Engineer in Pittsburgh, and with the 3rd Engineers at Schofield Barracks, Territory of Hawaii.
Fred was serving as PMS&T at Rose Polytechnic Institute in Terre Haute, Indiana, when the United States entered World War II. He was soon assigned as Division Engineer with the 9th Division, and made the North African Invasion with that Division.
Always a front line soldier, Fred was twice wounded in the North African campaign; the second time so severely that he was evacuated to the United States. He was decorated with the Bronze Star for his service in North Africa. But for his courage, and the will to recover the usefulness of a partially paralyzed arm, Fred would have been retired for physical disability resulting from war wounds. However, he did recover, and was thereby able to give several years more of distinguished service to his country.
Fred was always a devoted family man, and was blessed with four children. His eldest son, Lieutenant Frederic Allison Henney, Jr., is a graduate of West Point, Class of 1951. He is survived by a second son, Alan Gilbert, and two young daughters, Marcia and Claire. It was while on an outing with his two young daughters that he was thrown from a horse, which accident resulted in his untimely death.
Fred was a true son of West Point; he accepted the ideals of the Corps, he lived by them, and he exemplified them. His passing has left a great void in my life, and in the lives of his family and many friends. I hope we shall meet again. But our burden of sorrow is made easier to bear in the sure knowledge that for him,
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
I Corinthians 15
—Stuart G. Fries, Class of 1935