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Comics depict heroes, Airmen are heroes

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Benjamin Stratton
  • 5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
[Editors note: This story is part three of a three part series highlighting Staff Sgt. Eric Henson's gift in comic art and how he incorporates them and what they mean into his everyday life and family as an Airman.]

He does it all. He draws, sketches and inks and when given the opportunity, he Lay leads protestant Sunday morning worship at the base chapel. He's also a great father and husband to a devoted family. But what ties it all together? Why did he join the Air Force?

"I originally came into the Air Force because I was searching for a profession that would bring about a huge change in my life," said Staff Sgt. Eric Henson, 5th Force Support Squadron base personnel reliability program monitor. "I had been in college and then went into law enforcement, but I still hungered to do something on a grander scale. So I prayed and sought the wise counsel of my father, who is prior Army, and he led me to the Air Force. I'm grateful he did. Things have been incredible ever since."

While the Air Force has made an impression on Sergeant Henson, he has made his own impression on his leadership here at Minot AFB.

"Sergeant Henson has proven himself to be the subject matter expert for all matters PRP related," said Marc Green, 5th FSS base PRP manager. "He is the focal point for all questions, be it from unit monitors, commanders and in some cases, HAF/A10 (HQ Air Force PRP Office). All successes the installation PRP office has enjoyed have been a direct reflection of Sergeant Henson's efforts."

Everyone has their reasons for joining, but all Airmen learn their service's core values. These values instill a sense of dedication and commitment to the Air Force's mission, which Sergeant Henson holds close to his heart.

"To me, the Air Force core values are a tremendously important foundation of being an effective Airman and a great person," Sergeant Henson said. "I really believe if we embrace those values and live them out versus merely reciting them, then we would see an enormous change in the quality of our service and ourselves."

The core values are one thing, but how does he fit all he does into his career as an Airman?

"Time management is always tough," he said. "I used to try to prioritize by what needs to be accomplished first. However, over the years I have learned I must be careful not to make them 'compete' with one another. In other words, I try to incorporate each activity together instead of compartmentalizing my life. In essence, I actually do all of them at the same time."

Great time management skills are especially important in the eyes of his leadership. He said his chain of command recognizes his devotion to Minot's unique mission.

"For two years, Sergeant Henson has been the noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the Minot AFB Personnel Reliability Program, the largest in the DoD," Mr. Green said. "He is one of the most spiritual and family oriented individuals I have had the pleasure of working with. I would have to say, without a doubt, knowing him has had a profound impact on myself, both professionally and personally. He is a reflection of how we should all strive to carry ourselves."

With this kind of support, one can really see what makes this Airman a blessing to the only dual-wing, nuclear capable base in the Air Force.

"Being at this base has taught me about professionalism and meeting deadlines," said Sergeant Henson. "It has taught me to endure and to finish the missions I start. All of these things are of great value both inside and outside of the military."

As one of five bases in Air Force Global Strike Command, Minot AFB is home to a unique mission. The base proudly hosts two wings, the 5th Bomb Wing and the 91st Missile Wing. Each wing has members enrolled in the PRP program. This program is essential to the success of the base's mission as it ensures those working with the nation's nuclear defense weapons always maintain their reliability through constant monitoring, by commanders, supervisors, the military treatment facility and individual's peers.

"As a base PRP monitor I ensure the integrity of the program is upheld and it is executed properly," Sergeant Henson said. "I provide the training to those who make the PRP function and do my best to help ensure only the most reliable individuals perform duties associated with nuclear weapons and their critical components.

"Safety, security, control and effectiveness of nuclear weapons are of paramount importance to national security," he added.

Comic artist, Lay minister and Airman all rolled into one exceptional team player.

"As a comic artist I get to depict heroes," the sergeant said. "As Airmen, we get to be those heroes. One helps me better understand the other. It's as simple as that."