Jenkins Promotion
1st Lt. Hena Jenkins gives remarks after her promotion at the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, headquarters, March 25, 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Ayumi Davis) (Photo Credit: Ayumi Davis) VIEW ORIGINAL

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- 1st Lt. Hena Jenkins’ family has a history of serving in the military, with her American side dating all the way back to the Civil War and her Pakistani side dating back to at least the 1800s with the British Armed Forces.

Jenkins brought her rich military lineage and tenacity to the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command in January working in G-8 as an Alabama National Guard financial management analyst, one of the state guard’s three financial officers.

She is on Title 10 U.S.C. orders, which means she currently serves on federal active-duty military status. She had been working as a second lieutenant, financial analyst, for USASMDC, but was promoted to first lieutenant, financial management analyst, in March.

Jenkins said that she chose finance from the military occupational specialties she was offered because it was the one with which she was most familiar.

“I just wanted to be in an environment where I knew I could best serve the Army,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins’ responsibilities include pulling the status of funds report every morning, distributing money sent from the Army to the operations and organizations under USASMDC (e.g. Space and Missile Defense Center of Excellence, Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site, etc.), and compares the spending to the week prior to track how much money is being spent.

Jenkins joined the Alabama National Guard in 2011, while she was in college. It was step in the right direction for her at the time, she said.

“I was on a path that was not the best path,” Jenkins said. “I had made a lot of bad decisions and I wasn’t on the path to success, so I said to myself, ‘You know what? Why don’t I just try ROTC?’ because my brother and my sister had gone through ROTC.”

“It’s just kind of what you do in my family. You either go to work or you join the Army,” Jenkins said.

She served as a human resources specialist until getting out in 2012 when she gave birth to her son, Samuel. In 2016, she reenlisted as an ROTC cadet and was commissioned in 2019 after giving birth to her daughter, Asa.

“Being in the National Guard made grow up. It made me really learn self-discipline and accountability for myself. There were a lot of things I had never done before, like mopping a floor and cleaning a toilet! It’s really humbling. It goes to show that nobody’s better than anybody else,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said she loves being at USASMDC, saying it has an easygoing environment.

“I think it’s a really great professional organization filled with people who put people first,” Jenkins said. “It’s like a very tightknit family.”

Jenkins also spoke positively about her boss Lawrence Anyanwu, the resource management integration chief at G-8.

“He is super humble and super down to earth,” Jenkins said.

Col. Michael Mai, USASMDC deputy chief of staff, G-8, asked Jenkins to come work at USASMDC.

“When Col. Mai called me up and asked me, I was honest. I said, ‘Look, I don’t have a lot of finance experience other than the school house, but I’m a hard worker and I learn easily. I feel like I have a really positive outlook and I’m a problem solver,” Jenkins said.

“I’m working as hard as I can and learning my craft,” Jenkins said, saying finance just clicks for her.

Jenkins reflected on her journey to her current position and what an achievement it is.

“I often downplay it, but I did work hard to get here, and I work hard to be a role model to my kids,” Jenkins said. “I faced a lot of adversity and often moved on to immediately fulfilling my next goal without taking the time to acknowledge my accomplishments. So, I am trying to enjoy the accomplishments when they come and live in the moment.”