Henry Rasmussen was born on 17 October 1915. He received his commission through the ROTC program at the University of Minnesota in 1939. His first duty station was the Panama Canal Zone with the 486th Ordnance Company and the 1056th Ordnance Company. In 1943, he served as an Ordnance Officer at the 44th Air Service Group in Louisiana. In October 1943, he became the Ordnance Officer of the 315th Air Service Group which saw service in the Italian and the China-Burma-Indian theaters of operations during 1944 and 1945. He concluded his wartime service as the Assistant Ordnance Officer of the XIV Air Force Service Command.
After WWII, Rasmussen decided to return to civilian employment; however, by 1947 he chose to be reintegrated into the Regular Army. Upon his return to active duty, he became the Operations and Executive Officer at Mount Rainier Ordnance Depot in Tacoma Washington until August. He spent his next year at the Command and General Staff College before becoming a Staff Officer for the Procurement Division of the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4 in Washington, D.C. He remained in that office for five years with various assignments. Upon promotion to LTC, he became the Executive Officer of the Ordnance Procurement Center in Mannheim, Germany. After his tour in Germany, he served on the Ordnance Board at Aberdeen Proving Ground as a Project Officer. Following a year at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1959, he was assigned staff assignments in Washington D.C. culminating in an assignment as a Staff Officer for the Office of Special Assistant for Military Assistance Affairs, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In 1963, he went to Korea as the Director of Maintenance for the U.S Eighth Army Depot. After tours as the Assistant Deputy Director, Contract Administration Services for the Defense Supply Agency and the Director of Materiel Readiness, Logistics Division for Headquarters, U.S. Army Europe, he became the Special Assistant for Ammunition in the U.S. Army's Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics.
Between 1967 and 1969, Rasmussen served as the Assistant Chief of Staff, Logistics, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV). He had to coordinate inter-service logistical support among the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines despite the rapid buildup, difficulties from long and tenuous lines of communication, adverse weather, and personnel losses.
In 1969, Rasmussen reported to U.S. Army Weapons Command (WECOM) and served as its third Commanding General. At Weapons Command, he was responsible for the direction of the Army weapons program; including research, development, testing and engineering, procurement, production, quality assurance, maintenance, addressing urgent wartime requirements, and orchestrating all command logistic and life cycle activities. He directed the work of over 7,600 employees at Rock Island Arsenal and 4,000 employees at Watervliet Arsenal. He directed a $1.2 billion dollar budget and managed more than 50 weapon commodities; including aircraft armament, automatic guns and grenade launchers, fire control, and selected artillery, mortars, and recoilless rifles. The scientists he directed and guided improved current weapons and created new ones that were more reliable, mobile, lighter, less costly to produce, or able to counter new enemy armament and tactics. One of the largest missions of WECOM was the supply and maintenance for major items and spare parts. His technical expertise and leadership was invaluable during the Vietnam War and his vast experience in theater provided him insight into the link between logistics supply and operations in the field.
Henry Rasmussen retired from the U.S. Army on 30 November 1972.