Hal Henning was born on January 22, 1940, in Dallas, Texas. He was commissioned through the Air Force ROTC program on June 4, 1961, and went on active duty beginning March 11, 1962. Henning completed Undergraduate Pilot Training at Laredo AFB, Texas, in March 1963, and Pilot Instructor Training at Randolph AFB, Texas, in July 1963. He then served as an instructor pilot with the 3640th Pilot Training Squadron at Laredo AFB from July 1963 to November 1966. Capt Henning then completed F-105 Thunderchief Combat Crew Training before being assigned to the 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from June 1967 to January 1968. He then served with the 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing at McConnell AFB, Kansas, from January 1968 to August 1970, followed by Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, where he graduated in June 1971. His next assignment was to Headquarters Tactical Air Command at Langley AFB, Virginia, where he served as an Operations Staff Officer from August 1971 to December 1972, followed by service at Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Pentagon, where he served from December 1972 to February 1977. Col Henning then served as Operations Officer and then Commander of the 80th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing at Kunsan AB, South Korea, from May 1977 to November 1978, followed by service as a Staff Officer with the 57th Fighter Weapons Wing at Nellis AFB, Nevada, from December 1978 to July 1980. He then attended Air War College before being assigned as Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations with Headquarters 12th Air Force at Bergstrom AFB, Texas, in June 1981. His next assignment was as Vice Commander and then as Commander of the 355th Tactical Training Wing at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, where he served until January 1986, when he transferred back to the Pentagon. Col Henning's final assignment was as Deputy Director for Forces in the Directorate of Programs and Evaluation at Headquarters U.S. Air Force, where he served until his retirement from the Air Force on October 31, 1987.
His Air Force Cross Citation reads:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, awards the Air Force Cross to Captain Hal P. Henning for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as an F-105 Pilot in Southeast Asia on 27 October 1967. On that date, Captain Henning was the leader of a force of twenty F-105 Thunderchiefs assigned to attack an extremely vital military storage area in the vicinity of Hanoi, North Vietnam. En route to the target, his aircraft was extensively damaged by shrapnel from a surface-to-air missile. Without hesitation and with complete disregard for his own safety, Captain Henning continued on to the assigned target with his crippled aircraft. Diving through intense antiaircraft fire, delivering his bombs precisely on target, he was successful in heavily damaging the storage complex. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness, Captain Henning reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.