Written by Maria Yager
Blanchfield Army Community Hospital Public Affairs
Fort Campbell, KY – Years of hard work, leadership, focus, and discipline led to a career milestone for five Fort Campbell non-commissioned officers recently with their induction to the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, May 10th, 2018.
Blanchfield Army Community Hospital NCOs, Sgt. 1st Class Ivan Tanna, Staff Sgt. Shaneka Brown, Staff Sgt. Cory Hudson, Staff Sgt. Eric Serrano and 101st Airborne Division Artillery Brigade NCO Staff Sgt. Tamika Wilcox from 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division Artillery Brigade – “Red Knights” were inducted into the SAMC, a professional organization of NCOs who exemplify Army leadership, during a ceremony on post.
The motto of the club is, “You will lead from the front.” During his remarks, fellow SAMC member and guest speaker Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Earle, Blanchfield’s senior enlisted leader, shared the meaning of the club motto and how he saw the NCOs inducted exemplify the motto.
“It means that NCOs who are part of this club accept challenges, because we all know if something does not challenge you, it does not change you. Leading from the front also means willing to do what many won’t do or can’t do and it also means moving outside your perceived comfort zone and inspiring others to follow in your footsteps,” said Earle.
The command sergeant major used Staff Sgt. Brown as an example. Brown, who passed her SAMC board late last year, was the first NCO at Blanchfield in a number of years to be selected for membership. Under Earle’s guidance and with the support of other SAMC members, Brown did the leg work to have an opportunity to go before a SAMC board. It was a rigorous process and involved a lot of coordination.
Candidates endure a lengthy four-part selection board process where board members look at the number of Soldiers the NCO supervises and accomplishments under the NCO’s leadership, military and civilian education, community service and the NCOs contribution to Army combat readiness.
“Other NCOs took notice as Brown went through the board process and were inspired in the subsequent quarters to follow her lead, resulting in the induction of five NCOs to the SAMC, today. Inspirational leadership is contagious. These five NCOs have inspired others to step outside the box by their proven example. The NCOs before you join an elite club of NCOs who represent only 10 percent of the NCOs in our Army. The values of our club are loyalty, caring, discipline and professionalism. Each of these NCOs represent these values on a daily basis,” said Earle.
Brown said she is immensely proud and honored to join the organization named for one of America’s most decorated combat Soldiers.
“Selection to the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club is an overwhelming feeling of joy, accomplishment and validation by achieving a long-term goal,” said Brown, who set her sights on joining the organization when she was a specialist in Yongsan, Korea. “During this time, my first sergeant, whom I highly respected, was a member and she inspired me to research the history and purpose of this prestigious club.”
Brown learned that Murphy was one of the highest decorated Soldiers in American history. He earned a battlefield commission for his courage and leadership. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in France during World War II and his efforts continue to help Soldiers to this day.
The Sergeant Audie Murphy Club was established in 1986 and expanded Army-wide in 1994. Members conduct charity work for the homeless, help the elderly, assist the handicapped, and work to provide a better life for everyone in the community. The club recognizes NCOs who significantly contribute to the development of a professional NCO Corps and a combat ready Army.
Awardees exemplify leadership, characterized by personal concern for the needs, training, development and welfare of Soldiers as well as concern for the families of Soldiers. Members are selected based on demonstrated leadership, professionalism and overall general military knowledge.
During the induction ceremony, Soldiers who served under these NCOs gave testimonials of their NCO’s leadership, support and guidance.
“Sgt. 1st Class Tanna was my first NCO in the Army. He has taught me a lot about self-discipline and ways to become a leader in the future,” said Blanchfield Soldier Spc. Shane Sheffield. Under Tanna’s guidance, Sheffield performed his job and assumed greater responsibility and experience resulting in the Soldier’s promotion before his peers. Sheffield said Tanna’s actions inspired him and set the example of what leadership is in the Army.
Club guidance states that each sergeant is responsible for the training and welfare of their Soldiers, constantly displaying a positive attitude at work and is an upstanding citizen.
NCOs seeking to join the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club must serve as leaders of character, competence and commitment and be an example for subordinates, peers and superiors alike. The board also evaluates how the NCO may have handled disciplining of Soldiers in adverse cases such as Absent Without Leave, Driving While Intoxicated and Uniform Code of Military Justice violations.
In the final phase of the selection board, candidates must complete a written exam, essay, and oral board. U.S. Army Medical Command Soldiers can learn more about the SAMC in MEDCOM Regulation 215-2.