NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Friday, November 6, 2015, 5:17 AM
Tuskegee Airman and retired New York City firefighter George Franklin Henry of Brooklyn has died. He was 95.
During World War II, Henry, of Crown Heights, served as a staff sergeant in charge of 20 technicians who maintained and repaired aircraft flown by the first African-American soldiers trained as pilots.
Henry, who was living in Crown Heights when he died Sunday, was a Corona, Queens, resident when he was drafted in 1942. The transition to Tuskegee, Ala., shocked him.
“It was rough at that time for a black man to be in Alabama,” he recounted to his daughter Patricia Mapp in an interview for an April 2006, Dowling College project she completed on her family’s roots.
“You had to sit in the back of the bus and they had a separate car on the trains for African-American soldiers.”
Henry earned the American Campaign Medal and the Victory Medal before he was honorably discharged in 1945.
After marrying and graduating from the Harlem Hospital School of Nursing, Henry became an FDNY firefighter. Before his 1963 retirement and foray into real estate, he was a department spokesman and talked about fire prevention at city schools. His wife of 69 years, Mazie, died in August.
Henry is survived by three daughters; seven grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; three sisters, and a host of nieces and nephews. Services will be held at 10 a.m. Nov.13, at Lawrence H. Woodward Funeral Home on Troy Ave. in Brooklyn.