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Patriotic Article

By USMC Sgt. Judith Willis

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Leadership By Example
(March 11, 2010)

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MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. (MCN, 3/8/2010) — In boot camp, drill instructors teach 11 leadership principles that guide Marines throughout their career. And Master Sgt. Jason C. Henry, the staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge for the Advanced Course here, is a leader who follows those principles and sets the example by balancing his love for singing and devotion to the Corps.

With an impressive list of accomplishments in his military biography, Henry has built success on the base commander's ethos of “balanced excellence.” The ethos focuses on three things: Profession as a Marine, personal development and commitment to loved ones.

“Master Sgt. Henry is willing to spend the extra time to teach, coach and mentor Marines who work for or with him,” said Sgt. Maj. Anthony Swann, director of the Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy. “On many occasions he has spent the weekend counseling Marines. He shows Marines that, as a leader, he is straight forward, honest and devoted to those he leads and to his family.”

Henry, an Indianapolis, Ind., native, also makes time for the things he loves, such as singing gospel music.

“I wasn't always singing gospel music; I was doing R&B music initially,” said Henry. “I actually got offered a deal and I turned it down. I'm Christian and I gave my life to Christ years ago. What I was singing about wasn't what I wanted to represent me and my family.”

In 2001, Henry made the decision to begin singing gospel music.

“His love of gospel singing shows, that while being a SNCOIC, he still takes time to enjoy pleasures that are not military related,” said Swann. “This also shows the Marines who work with him that he maintains a sense of conviction to his family and his religious ties while being a professional military man.”

In 2007, while serving as the operations chief with Combat Logistics Battalion-11, Henry came out with a CD titled, “Godchild,” where he wrote, produced, arranged and provided all the background vocals.

In 1994, while aboard the USS Constellation CV-64, Henry served as the Marine Security Forces noncommissioned officer-in-charge and filled four additional billets such as Close Quarters Battle Instructor and Maritime Tactics Instructor. During this time he was able to balance his Marine Corps priorities with his love of music.

“When I went to sea duty there was a studio on the ship,” said Henry. “That was when I was introduced to being able to produce my own music. So from that point I was like, OK, I can do this, let's make a CD.”

It is well known that being a Marine is a 24/7 job, but Henry uses his off-duty time singing and sometimes traveling out of state to perform.

“It's difficult doing the shows that I try to do,” said Henry, who has traveled to California, New York and Georgia for weekend shows. “It takes some sacrifices on some occasions, and, at the same time, you still have to be cognizant that you are a Marine. The leadership, the drive, the initiative and being proactive, all these things will reinforce what you do on your personal side. That's what's going to give you the edge,” said Henry.

It's evident by Henry's accomplishments that it's possible to be a Marine and still take the time for things you love.

“One thing as a leader, you're not going to ask your Marines to do things that you're not willing to do, so leading from the front, he's definitely out there,” said Gunnery Sgt. Andy D. Morley, a recent graduate of the advanced course here. “He motivates me to up my game. He's definitely one of those Marines you want to emulate.”

It's always been said that junior Marines are a reflection of their leaders.

“We as leaders must, and always will be required to lead by example. Honesty, commitment, trust and concern for our fellow Marine is contagious,” said Swann.

“Marines will follow those who exhibit these traits and principles and will, knowingly or unknowingly, pass them on to others. Master Sgt. Henry exhibits these and more on a continuous basis.”

By USMC Sgt. Judith Willis
Marine Corps Base Quantico
Copyright 2010

Reprinted from Marine Corps News

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