By Army Cpl. Clay Beversdorfer
Regional Command South
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, April 4, 2014 – Petty Officer 2nd Class Charmaine Henry is a U.S. Navy reservist, but she has spent a great deal of time serving on active duty tours.
In her assignment here, Henry serves as a surgical technologist at the Role 3 NATO Multinational Medical Unit hospital.
Her 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 surgery.
Despite the high-intensity nature of the job, Henry said, she remains cool.
“It’s all systematic when you do it enough. You adjust yourself accordingly,” the Queens, N.Y, native said. “When you do that, everything else tends to fall in place. Basically, you are a mind-reader. You have to pay attention to detail. 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 among members of other service branches, and that’s something she has appreciated, Henry said.
“It’s been great because you can pick the brains of other people and talk a little bit about everything,” she explained. “The communication has been great, and I have learned a lot from the other services.”
Henry has worked with members of other services in Germany and Kuwait. Her experiences in Kuwait, while different, provided her with valuable experience she has been able to use in Afghanistan, she said.
“[Kuwait] was a different thing, because we had less to work with. … Here, you have this wonderful hospital and any equipment you could possibly need for any injury that comes in the door,” Henry said.
When she is not being called up for active duty, Henry said, she 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, she added.
“It hasn’t been a tough decision at all,” she said. “I enjoy active duty, and I love what I do.”
Between her experiences in civilian life and her 13-year Navy career, Henry said, she has learned a major lesson.
“Always be prepared, no matter what,” she said. “The minute you are not, that’s when something happens.”