For those who served in the RVAH Community, their families, and friends!
Please take a look at this remembrance of Marcus by his friend Jack Leonard:
When Marcus McHenry, Richard B. Weston, and I attended Aviation Machinist’s Mate “A” School at Naval Air Technical Training School in Millington, Tennessee, we each excelled in jet engine mechanics. The three of us were each ordered to report to VAH-1 at NAS Sanford, Florida, and we arrived in May 1963 where we were assigned to the Power Plant shop working on the General Electric J-79 engines of the A3J Vigilante aircraft that had recently replaced the A3D Bomber aircraft. The three of us were known as the Three Musketeers because we had the same time in the Navy, had attended “A” school together, and always hung around together in the Power Plant shop and after work. Marcus was an excellent jet engine mechanic but had a short attention span. Once he learned something he was ready to move to something else. Rich Weston and I remained in the Power Plant shop but Marcus wanted to become a plane captain in charge of a particular airplane while it was on the ground. He worked closely with the pilot and Bombardier Navigator when preparing for take-off and landing. Our squadron was ordered to report to the USS Independence (CVA 62) for carrier qualification of new pilots, and we departed NAS Sanford and boarded the ship in Guantanamo, Cuba in late summer of 1963. Unfortunately, almost as soon as we were aboard the three us was sent to mess cooking duty in the galley. We did this for three months and then returned to the Power Plant shop. After carrier quals the ship returned to Norfolk, Virginia, before departing on the 1963-1964 Med Cruise. We had 12 A3J Vigilantes on the Med Cruise and we trained for war with an intensity greater than that that we experienced in actual combat later in our careers.
The three of us all made E-4 at the same time and we were glad to sew on our “crows.” Rich Weston and I worked with a crew on the flight deck shooting, while Marcus McHenry worked as a plane captain.
Our squadron, VAH-1 , returned to NAS Sanford at the end of the Med Cruise which was in March 1963. It was about this time that our squadron gave up its A5C Vigilantes and received the new RA5C Vigilantes that were equipped for reconnaissance work. The three of us were sent to a training squadron, VAH-3, for training on the fuel system on the new aircraft. Again we each excelled in school, and upon completion, we were transferred back to RVAH-1.
After we had each completed our time in grade as a Third Class Petty Officer we each sat for the E-5 examination. When the results were announced Marcus McHenry and I each made Second Class Petty Officer (ADJ-2) while friend, Richard B. Weston came up short and had to remain an ADJ-3.
Toward the end of 1964 our period of sea duty was coming to an end, but we learned that RVAH-1 would be going on a WestPac cruise on the USS Independence. The three of us each extended our sea duty so that we could go to the Western Pacific, including Viet Nam. Our squadron took only 6 RA5C aircraft on this cruise and Marcus continued to serve as a plane captain on one of the aircraft. We all crossed the equator together and participated in the initiation of “pollywogs” and our conversion to “shellbacks.” At the end of the cruise in early 1966 our squadron returned to NAS Sanford. Our squadron was due to depart for another Med cruise in June 1966, but due to the imminent expiration of our enlistments Marcus McHenry and I were transferred to the training squadron, VAH-3, while Richard Weston departed with RVAH-1 for the Med and upon arrival he was flown back to Philadelphia for discharge. Marcus McHenry and I were each discharged at NAS Sanford.
After his discharge Marcus McHenry went to work for a defense contractor and was sent to Guam to work on drone aircraft, which were top secret at the time. He worked on the turbo jet engines, but soon qualified to fly the drones and became quite accomplished at this work.
Marcus died on Sunday, April 24, 2011, in Camarillo, California, where his mother, brothers and sisters were living.
Fair Winds and Following Seas shipmate!
Talk about 3 guys "following" each other during their time in the Navy. I extend my condolences to Marcus's family and friends. He must have been a great person.
WOW , what great story I had simliar stories , with different people , different ships , different places . Sad to hear about Marcus though !!