News: Marine steps out of box, works with heart
Story by Sgt. Ned Johnson
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan— As a Marine begins his daily assignments here, he knows that most men his age are not making the same sacrifices he makes each day on a deployment. For one Marine even most Marines are not doing what he does.
Lance Cpl. Adam Henderson is a chaplain’s assistant with Regimental Combat Team 7 and is filling a position usually reserved for a senior noncommissioned officer in the Navy.
As a noncombatant, each chaplain has a Navy religious program specialist to protect him in combat and assist with administrative and logistic duties.
Henderson, a 19-year-old native of Clark, S.D., was given the opportunity to support the regimental chaplain before the deployment when he interviewed to replace the previous religious program specialist.
Commander Michael Williams, the chaplain with RCT-7, specifically chose Henderson after interviewing six other Marines for the job.
“Henderson displayed the biggest heart, the most willingness to accept the confidentiality piece, and the best customer service,” said Williams, a Kodiak, Alaska, native.
Henderson said he loves protecting whom he calls “the man of God,” but his duties involve much more.
“He is responsible for funneling people to me who have religious, personal or marital needs,” Williams said. “He is a religious person, and that helps him understand that people have all types of needs.”
Henderson’s other tasks include one week a month where we stays in the basewide chapel all day to help facilitate the needs of those looking for a chaplain, coordinating travel arrangements for the chaplain, and working with the other religious specialists on base.
“He has helped the other religious specialists to learn the Marine Corps side,” Williams said. “He has taught them policies and procedures and who to talk to in order to get things done. He hasn’t abused his rank, but he has helped those of a higher rank become better at their job.”
His constant smile shows how much Henderson loves his job, and to him, it is about helping others.
“My favorite part of this deployment has been Christmas,” Henderson said. “I got to go out to the most rugged (Forward Operating Bases) and (Combat Outposts) and help provide religious services. We even opened up some presents. It was a very rewarding time being out there and roughing it with them.”
Williams said that Henderson’s desire to help others is because of his personality and up bringing.
“He’s really good at organization and computers,” Williams said. “The other thing that makes him really good is his heart. He understands there are people who need to be cared for, and he translates that into how he interacts with people.”
When he isn’t helping others, Henderson said he loves to work out and stay physically fit. He is also preparing to become an NCO, his next step in the Corps.
“Everything I do is representing Cmdr. Williams,” Henderson said. “I have to make sure I’m always saying the right things and doing the right things at the right times. It makes me a better Marine because it makes me aware of my decision making and what I say, and I think it’s going to make me a better NCO when I get to that point.”
Editor’s note: This article is part of a series wherein every week we recognize an individual Marine or sailor with Regimental Combat Team 7. The Marines and sailors of RCT-7 are dedicated, disciplined and driven to accomplish the mission, and the Marine in this article has earned special recognition for standing out among these professionals. Be sure to check every week to see who will be honored as the latest Marine of the Week.