Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

May 19, 2016 at 9:38am

Leading by example: Capt. J.C. Henry

Capt. Jason Henry (left) learns about the different functions of the R-12 hydrant refueling vehicle from Senior Airman Matthew Bradley (middle) and Airman 1st Class Tyler Marsh (right). Photo credit: Senior Airman Divine Cox

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After a rocky and bumpy start to adulthood, Capt. Jason Henry, 627th Logistics Readiness Squadron operations officer, engaged himself with his local services recruiters and ultimately chose to serve in the Unites States Air Force.

Joining the Armed Forces directly after high school was not in the plans for Henry.

"Prior to coming into the Air Force, I went to Penn State University," said Henry. "I grew up a fan of their football program and Joe Paterno."

Henry said the realization of finally deciding to join the Air Force was when he dropped out of Penn State University because his grades was less than stellar and he had accumulated too much debt from student loans.

"I didn't want to have to drop out," said Henry. "I knew I wanted to make something of myself one day so I decided to explore other opportunities to better myself."

Henry enlisted into the Air Force in 1995 as a weapons troop, then later cross-trained to be a radio operator on the E-3 Sentry (airborne warning and control system) before beginning his commissioning process.

Henry loved the Air Force and knew that he wanted to do more than just serve. He wanted to lead airmen and lead by example.

"Back at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma in 2000, I met then-Capt. Matthew Smith, now Col. Smith, who changed my life forever," said Henry. "He motivated me both personally and professionally and is the apex of what it means to be a servant leader.  He is the officer and man I've wanted to emulate since the first day I met him and has been a mentor to me all these years, and continues to do so to this day."

While working his way through the enlisted ranks, Henry took the Officer Training School route after he finished his undergraduate degree from Oklahoma State University in 2001.

But it wasn't a smooth transition from technical sergeant to lieutenant for Henry.

"I was turned down for OTS twice," said Henry. "Then I had a board cancelled. I honestly thought about giving up my pursuit of a commission, as I thought to myself ‘Maybe I am supposed to be a chief?'"

But Henry did not give up and stayed resilient. On July 6, 2006, Henry was sworn in as a commissioned officer and pinned on second lieutenant.

"Transitioning from the rank of technical sergeant to second lieutenant will be the best day of my career," said Henry. "My mother, who has since passed, was there to witness the event, and for my mom to know how proud of me she was at that very moment in time when she, my father and wife, pinned on those gold bars, no rank or job I will attain in or after the service will ever compare to it."

Henry said he does not take being a commissioned officer in the USAF for granted.

"I take every opportunity I have to lead and mentor my airmen," said Henry.

All the all hard work and leadership that Henry displayed throughout the 627th LRS doesn't go unnoticed, as he was recognized as the Team McChord 2015 company grade officer of the year.

"It was truly humbling when I was announced as the CGO of the year," said Henry. "During that moment I reflected back on all the successes of our airmen and civilians in the 627th LRS over the last year.  I also reflected on my opportunity to represent our service (Air Force) in Baghdad, Iraq, with the 1st Infantry Division from Fort Riley, Kansas supporting our servicemembers on the ground, to include the Iraqis.  I also thought of my wife Robyne and our daughters, Emerie and Ellasyn, for the sacrifices they have made on my behalf to serve in the Air Force."

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