The Veteran Behind the Airplane

Posted on Wed, July 29, 2009
  • by: Jim Iannuzzi is a member of the Udvar-Hazy Center docent corps and currently serves as Docent Council chairman.

The docents at the Udvar-Hazy Center enjoyed meeting a special visitor on May 16, 2009. His name is Jim Henry, a WWII naval aviator. Henry was one of the pilots that flew the F4U-1D Corsair that is on display at the Center. He and his wife Debra traveled from California with the express purpose of visiting his former aircraft.


Veteran F4-U Corsair Pilot Jim Henry and Museum Docent Bruce Cranford

Jim Henry and Udvar-Hazy Center docent Bruce Cranford, one of the docents who met with Henry, in front of the Corsair.


He carried with him a small briefcase packed with aircraft identification, photos, and memorabilia of his years in the military. Henry located the craft by reading a publication that identified by bureau number those Corsairs that still survive. He shared a number of photos with us, which verify that the BU numbers match the Museum’s aircraft. Henry said he first flew the aircraft in 1944 on the East Coast and later in the southeast, although he was never assigned to a squadron that maintained the aircraft. When he was posted to an overseas assignment in the Pacific along the coast of China, he piloted Grumman F4F Wildcats, which he felt was a letdown after flying the Corsair. He was a delightful and engaging person and it was a pleasure to meet one of the people behind the artifacts we so often talk about during our tours at the Udvar-Hazy Center.