Face of Defense: Brother, Sister Serve in Afghanistan

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan — Marine Corps Sgt. Eric Rad­er and his sis­ter, Air Force Staff Sgt. Rebec­ca McHen­ry, nev­er imag­ined they ever would serve togeth­er. But their deploy­ment togeth­er in south­ern Afghanistan has made them close in ways that will last far longer than their time here.

 Marine Corps Sgt. Eric Rader and his sister, Air Force Staff Sgt. Rebecca McHenry, serve together at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan. Rader and McHenry were raised in a military family, and have learned to rely on each other through tough times, including their current deployment. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Justin M. Boling
Marine Corps Sgt. Eric Rad­er and his sis­ter, Air Force Staff Sgt. Rebec­ca McHen­ry, serve togeth­er at Camp Leath­er­neck, Afghanistan. Rad­er and McHen­ry were raised in a mil­i­tary fam­i­ly, and have learned to rely on each oth­er through tough times, includ­ing their cur­rent deploy­ment.
U.S. Marine Corps pho­to by Cpl. Justin M. Bol­ing
Click to enlarge

The sib­lings’ father, Allen Rad­er, was an air­man who took his fam­i­ly from their home in Charleston, W.Va., to Alas­ka, Ari­zona, Flori­da, and even over­seas. Eric and Rebec­ca have carved out sim­i­lar lives for their own fam­i­lies. “We always had each oth­er,” said Rad­er, who deployed here in Feb­ru­ary. “Look­ing back at it now, I real­ly appre­ci­ate hav­ing her and my broth­er, and appre­ci­ate serv­ing with her now.” The sib­lings said they’ve had a lot to catch up on since McHen­ry arrived in Sep­tem­ber, includ­ing Rebecca’s wedding. 

“We both have our own fam­i­lies now,” Rad­er said. “We will def­i­nite­ly spend more time togeth­er when we get back home.” 

McHen­ry serves with the Air Force’s 651st Expe­di­tionary Aeromed­ical Evac­u­a­tion Squadron, which flies injured troops out of Afghanistan when the med­ical care they need is greater than mil­i­tary hos­pi­tals here can pro­vide. “I love being able to help those who need it most and keep brave troops alive,” she said. 

“There is a great sense of pride in know­ing that my sis­ter helps my fel­low Marines and oth­er troops get back on their feet and home to their loved ones,” Rad­er said. 

Rad­er is deployed with 2nd Marine Air­craft Wing from Marine Corps Air Sta­tion Cher­ry Point, N.C. He serves with the head­quar­ters of the air com­bat ele­ment for the NATO-led Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force’s Region­al Com­mand South­west, and helps units rotat­ing in and out of Afghanistan. 

“I am very proud of my broth­er for being a Marine,” McHen­ry said. “I like know­ing that he does a great job, and I see the fruits of his labor, see­ing all the Marines walk­ing around in Afghanistan [and] know­ing he played a small part in that.” 

Despite the rig­ors of deploy­ment, Rad­er and McHen­ry said they find time to speak about their lives and fam­i­lies back home almost every day. 

“My sis­ter is always sit­ting at the din­ing facil­i­ty wait­ing for me at lunch,” Rad­er said. “It makes the time go by faster, hav­ing some­thing to look for­ward to almost every day.” 

“He used to pick on me some­times,” McHen­ry said of her broth­er. “Since being out here, he has only been pro­tec­tive — the per­fect gentleman.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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