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    Promotion in the sky

    Promotion in the sky

    Photo By Master Sgt. John Cronin | U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jeffrey Henderson, aviation section officer-in-charge, Joint...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    AFN Afghanistan

    KABUL, Afghanistan – In the skies over Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul, a Flowery Branch native and 2009 graduate of Flowery Branch High School was promoted to the rank of corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps aboard a Sikorsky S-92 helicopter, making him a non-commissioned officer.

    Marine Corps Cpl. Christofer Baines was promoted May 2, by U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jeffery Henderson, aviation section officer-in-charge, Joint Sustainment Command - Afghanistan, currently located at Bagram Air Field.

    “I can honestly say that to my knowledge this was a first for several reasons; it was the first time I have promoted a Marine and it was the first time a Marine was promoted in an aircraft over Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan,” said Henderson.

    When Baines, a broadcast journalist with American Forces Network-Afghanistan, was informed of his impending promotion, he asked Henderson if he would be the officiating officer. The reason Baines selected Henderson stems from months of interaction, scheduling flights to provide AFN television and radio news coverage on missions throughout Afghanistan.

    “I’ve always seen him lead from the front and display a concern for troop welfare,” said Baines. “He even helped support AFN in getting technicians out to numerous forward operating bases around Afghanistan, ensuring the troops get some entertainment to help them unwind from a hard day in the field.”

    Henderson not only agreed, but he was the one that suggested they conduct the promotion ceremony while airborne over Kabul. He made the suggestion not just for Baines, but for all of the AFN personnel stationed on Bagram Air Field.

    “The AFN team members are truly unsung heroes in this fight,” said Henderson. “I thought this was a fitting way to say thank you to the entire team by promoting one of their hard working Marines aboard one of the aircraft that also supports the fight here.”

    When Henderson told Baines what he had planned, he was overcome with excitement and anticipation.

    “I couldn’t believe it,” Baines said. “When I asked Lt. Col. Henderson if he would be the officiating officer, I did so because I looked up to him as a leader and a great man. I didn’t expect such a unique and exciting opportunity.”

    Baines and four other AFN team members took off from Bagram Air Field and then flew to New Kabul Compound where they picked up Henderson. Once airborne, Henderson promoted Baines from lance corporal to corporal.

    “Corporal Baines will always have a place in my heart,” said Henderson. “During this deployment [Baines] remained a true professional and has impressed me since I met him.”

    When asked how it felt to be promoted by someone he considers a mentor, Baines said, “All I can really say is that I’m beyond honored and in awe of how epic my promotion was. To top it off, I was promoted not only by an officer I look up to, but I was promoted by a fellow Georgian.” Henderson is a native of Macon, Ga., just over 100 miles south of Flowery Branch.

    Henderson felt just as honored when Baines asked him to officiate. “It's hard to put into these few words how much being asked to perform this promotion meant to me,” said Henderson. “I know it meant a lot to him but I truly believe I am the one who is better for having been able to do it!”

    Baines later reflected on the event by saying, “This day will always be a source of motivation for me.”



    Date Taken: 05.02.2012
    Date Posted: 05.07.2012 12:33
    Story ID: 88024
    Location: KABUL, AF 
    Hometown: FLOWERY BRANCH, GA, US

    Web Views: 342
    Downloads: 0