CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - “I don’t think of myself as retiring,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Kenneth Henry as he stood before his family, friends and fellow Marines. “I’m just moving on to the next chapter.”
After 20 years of honorable service in the Marine Corps, the I Marine Expeditionary Force financial management resource officer, gave a final bit of advice to his Marines during his retirement ceremony here Oct. 7.
“I would like to leave you with this,” Henry said. “You’re responsibility is to be clear about your vision. Then, you can ask others to help. Be okay with the knowledge that you will not know how to do everything right away and trust that you can learn.”
Henry was presented with a meritorious service medal and letter of appreciation for his professional conduct and leadership to Marines put in his charge.
“He’s been a great leader and friend and mentor for the last 15 years of my Marine Corps career,” said Gunnery Sgt. Erik Seward, comptroller chief with 1st Marine Logistics Group. “I knew him when I was a private and he was my noncommissioned officer-in-charge. He always led us in the right direction. “
A native of Harvey, Ill., Henry came into the Marine Corps during October 1991 as a dragon gunner with 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment where he became platoon sergeant within his first enlistment.
During 1995, Henry executed a lateral move to become a fiscal budget technician and became the account manager for 4th Marine Division and 4th Marine Aircraft Wing as well as section head of the expenditure and collections section.
As an expert in his field, Henry was responsible and recognized for handling more than 900 million dollars of Marine Corps funding in order to support various humanitarian and operational missions during the past two decades.
“He would be the go-to lead for all the accounting,” Seward said. “I looked for his guidance when I was coming up on a deployment and he gave me the guidance and knowledge to prepare myself and my family.”
Henry deployed to Afghanistan during 2001 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, during which, he was responsible for budgeting and executing funds to support logistics and operations. During 2003, Henry was assigned to the I MEF comptroller office and deployed to Camp Blue Diamond, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Col. James Hogberg, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton Headquarters and Support Battalion commanding officer, said Henry was successful at analyzing payment processes to identify weaknesses, delegate spending and keep operations going.
Despite Henry’s extensive contributions to the Corps, he does not just take with him valuable life and world experience. He is leaving with a college education.
“Education is very important,” said Henry. “We have a duty to set ourselves up for success and life after the Marine Corps.”
Hogberg said Henry took every opportunity the Marine Corps gave him to educate himself and improve his expertise.
In doing so, Henry participated in the Marine Corps College Degree Program which allowed him to attend California State University San Marcos to complete his bachelor’s degree in accounting. Upon completion, Henry achieved the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 3 in 2007 and deployed a third time to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as the officer-in-charge of accounting operations.