Photo Information

CAMP AL QA'IM, Iraq (March 27, 2005)- Pfc. Sean M. Henry, a mortar man with Company K, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment is baptized by Navy LT. John Anderson, the battalion chaplain here Easter Sunday. The Queens, N.Y., native joined the Corps over a year ago and this is his first deployment to Iraq. Henry, 19, a 2003 August Martin High School decided to be baptized the day before Easter and described his feelings while being baptized as feeling the purity come over him. The sunrise service was to signify the rising of the son of God as the Sun rises in the horizon. Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel (RELEASED)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel

Queens, N.Y., native baptized in Iraq

27 Mar 2005 | Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel 2nd Marine Division

As the sun peaks over the Iraqi desert horizon heralding the Easter morning, a Marine is submerged in a small tub of chilled water.

As the Marine reemerges from the tub water pours from his face; his baptism is complete. Opening his eyes, he finds himself to be a new man on this sacred morning.

Pfc. Sean M. Henry, a mortar man with 3rd Platoon, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment decided that being deployed to a combat zone in Iraq was the best time for him to claim his faith.

"A couple of guys and I were walking back from the gym and I decided to stop by the camp chapel and talk to the chaplain," continued the 19-year-old Queens, N.Y., native. "He was telling me that there was a baptismal ceremony on Easter and asked if I wanted to be baptized. I said 'definitely'."

The 2003 August Martin High School graduate has always been a Christian but was never baptized.

"I've always believed in Christ and have always been a Christian, but I had never been baptized. So when the chaplain offered I though what a wonderful opportunity to be baptized in a biblical setting and I was tired of waiting to do it," he explained.

Henry realized the effect his baptism may have on his fellow Marines who may question their faith due to being in combat.

"It was important for me as a believer in Christ to officially state that I have faith," he continued. "It was also important because I think Marines, sailors, soldiers and everybody else fight for our country to realize how important it is to have faith and believe, especially in this environment where one day you're here and the next day you could be gone from this world; then what?" he questioned.

After being baptized, Henry continued with his daily work. As a mortar man, He provides short distance artillery for his fellow infantrymen.

"I return mortar fire when we are being attacked by the enemy. I've been outside the wire pretty much since I got to Iraq, so it was a lucky thing for me to hear about the baptisms on Easter," he explained.

For Henry, this is one Easter he will remember for the rest of his life.

"How often do you hear someone tell you that they were baptized in a combat zone in front of Marines?" he asked. "Not often. It was amazing to be baptized in a country like this and in a situation like this. It's something that I'll never forget and it's something I can tell my kids and their kids."

With his baptism in Iraq completed, Henry sees this experience as a new beginning for him.

"It is my duty to educate other Marines, sailors, soldiers on the miracle of Jesus Christ and how amazing it is and important it is to have faith in a combat situation like this," Henry continued. "Today I feel a little different; I feel ready for anything and most importantly, I feel purified."