News: New York native makes most of service opportunities overseas
Story by Cpl. Clay Beyersdorfer
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Even though hospital corpsman second class Charmaine Henry is a U.S. Navy reservist, she has spent a great deal of time serving her country on active duty tours.
Her current assignment has brought her to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, where she serves as a surgical technologist at the Role 3 NATO Multi-National Medical Unit hospital.
Henry’s duties include assisting medical officers in carrying out surgical techniques, including selecting, sterilizing, and preparing instruments and materials and creating the aseptic environment necessary for before and during surgery.
Despite the high-intensity nature of the job, she remains cool.
“It’s all systematic when you do it enough, you adjust yourself accordingly,” Henry, a Queens, New York, native, said. “When you do that, everything else tends to fall in place.”
She went on to talk about the uniqueness of her position, and how she prepares herself every time in the operating room.
“Basically you are a mind-reader, you have to pay attention to detail,” Henry said. “You have to be a couple of steps ahead of the doctor, know what they are going to do, and what tools they need or what they may need assistance with.”
Serving at Role 3 allows Henry to work amongst other branches of service, including the Army and Air Force.
That experience is something she has really appreciated.
“It’s been great because you can pick the brains of other people and talk a little bit about everything,” she said. “The communication has been great, and I have learned a lot from the other services.”
It is not the first time Henry has worked with other services either, as she has served both in Landstuhl, Germany, as well as in Kuwait in 2004.
Her experiences in Kuwait, while different, provided her with valuable experience she has been able to use in Afghanistan.
“(Kuwait) was a different thing because we had less to work with,” Henry said. “We were just able to do clinics basically because our hands were tied. Coming here you have this wonderful hospital and any equipment you could possibly need for any injury that comes in the door.”
When she is not being called up for active duty, Henry serves in a similar position back home, but she doesn’t regret having to leave work to serve wherever her country may ask her to.
“It hasn’t been a tough decision at all. I enjoy active duty and I love what I do,” Henry said.
Between her experiences in her civilian life, and her distinguished career of 13 years in the Navy, Henry has learned a major lesson.
“Always be prepared, no matter what,” she said. “The minute you are not, that’s when something happens.”