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ARLINGTON, Va. — Comments made by Marine Cpl. Abdul Henderson in Michael Moore’s controversial film “Fahrenheit 9/11” prompted the Marine’s commanders to look into the appropriateness of his film debut.

Henderson, a reservist with the 3rd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company out of Long Beach, Calif., was featured, wearing his service dress Alpha uniform, alongside Moore outside the U.S. Capitol as the pair unsuccessfully solicited legislators to enlist their children into the U.S. military and to fight in the war in Iraq.

At one point, Moore asked the 29-year-old Marine, who served in Iraq last year, whether he’d return to the Middle East to fight again.

Moore: “If you get called up, will you go back to Iraq?”

Henderson: “No.”

Moore: “Why not?”

Henderson: “No.”

Moore: “What repercussions do you face if you don’t … .”

Henderson: “It’s possible jail time. That’s one possible thing.”

Moore: “Are you willing to risk that?”

Henderson: “Yes. Yes, I will not let my person … I will, I will not let anyone send me back over there to kill other poor people. Especially when they pose no threat to me and my country. I won’t do it.”

Henderson’s comments and big-screen appearance — in a scene in which Moore is pokes fun at lawmakers by saying that of 535 Congress members, only one has a child serving in the Middle East — prompted commanders to investigate his association with the film, said Capt. Peter Kerr, a spokesman for Marine Forces Reserves in New Orleans.

Army and Marine Corps officials interviewed by Stars and Stripes knew of no other servicemembers in the film who were being investigated. Marine Corps recruiters who appear, for example, were filmed under misleading pretenses, a Marine Corps official said.

But no one is labeling Henderson a deserter, Kerr said. In fact, his California-based unit hasn’t been called up. “There is just no indication that his unit is going to be activated again,” Kerr said.

“It’s the fact that he was wearing the uniform [in the movie], and they are just determining if there were improprieties related to his role in the movie,” Kerr said.

Of course, the Corps will be watching to see, if his unit is reactivated, whether Henderson will follow through on his pledge to not go. But at this point, it’s all speculative, Kerr said. Desertion is punishable from an administrative discharge to a court-martial and possible jail time.

Henderson could not be reached by Stripes for comment, but in an interview featured in Wednesday’s edition of USA Today, the paper quoted Henderson as saying: “The question kind of surprised me, because I wasn’t expecting it. But my answer came from the heart.”

Kerr doesn’t know what spurred the probe by Henderson’s commanders.

“This definitely is not anything routine, where a Marine appears in a movie, especially in a movie of this nature,” Kerr said.

Henderson is a fire supportman with the 3rd ANGLICO, which helps coordinate artillery fire and naval gunfire for U.S. Army and coalition ground forces.

According to the USA Today article, he describes himself as a spiritual Christian, and prefers to remain out of the limelight. Henderson, a business major at California State University-Los Angeles is spending the summer in Washington, D.C., with his wife, a student at Howard University, and their newborn son.


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