Sill recognizes latest elite in ranks
October 4, 2012
FORT SILL, Okla.-- Fort Sill recognized its newest Sergeant Audie Murphy Club inductees, and Fires Center of Excellence noncommissioned officer and Soldier of the third quarter during a ceremony Sept. 26 at the Patriot Club.
Hundreds of fellow Soldiers, family, friends and co-workers filled the club to honor Staff Sgt. Jonathan Christal and Pfc. Nicholas Ward, as the NCO and Soldier of the Quarter respectively, and to witness the induction of Sgt. 1st Class José Sanchez and Staff Sgt. Blaine Williams into the Fort Sill SAMC chapter.
"I'm very proud because it is the most prestigious club in the Army when it comes to noncommissioned officers, who are the backbone of the Army," said Williams, D Battery, 1st Battalion, 78th Field Artillery.
Williams' wife, Chantel was one of the many family members at the ceremony.
"I'm very proud of him. It was a lot of hard work for him," said Chantel, who said she helped him study for the SAMC boards.
During the ceremony each SAMC inductee was introduced by a subordinate Soldier. Pfc. Angel Rodriguez introduced Sanchez.
"He (Sanchez) has taught me to strive for excellence in everything I do," Rodriguez said. "He has motivated me from the moment I fell into formation, and he will motivate many more to come."
The road to the rigorous SAMC boards began months ago for Sanchez, B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 6th Air Defense Artillery platoon sergeant.
"You can't just study generic questions, you actually have to be very knowledgeable on all the subjects from front to back," Sanchez said. Subjects included leadership, drill and ceremonies, map reading and land navigation, and physical readiness training. He was inducted into the SAMC on his first attempt.
"It's an honor to be a part of such a prestigious group and I'm extremely happy," Sanchez said.
Keynote speaker Command Sgt. Maj. Edward Estep, 434th Field Artillery Brigade CSM, said while rising through the Army ranks he always heard the words: be, know and do.
"A leader must be the Army Values ... the knowledge that leaders use in leaders is what Soldiers must know ... finally do, what leaders do or their actions are directly related to the influence they have on others," Estep said. These Soldiers here have demonstrated the characteristics of be, know and do.
Speaker Col. Donald Fryc, ADA School commandant and chief of ADA, said all the Olympic medals Michael Phelps wears pales in brilliance compared to the SAMC medals worn by Williams and Sanchez.
"As good as all that is that Michael has, we all know that is temporal ... inevitably sports records are broken," Fryc said. "You're not in a sport. You're in this thing for life, it's time immemorial what the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club membership means."
Christal, E Battery, 1st Battalion, 40th Field Artillery, attended the ceremony with his wife, Staff Sgt. Linda Christal.
He said it took a lot of studying and extra physical training to be selected as the NCO of the quarter.
"I am excited. I put a lot of hard work and dedication in to it and it payed off."
Jonathan Christal's advice to young Soldiers who are thinking of competing: "Remember everything that you learn and stay current on it because it will be in the competition boards."
Ward, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 18th Field Artillery, said he was happy about the recognition.
"It's very special and I worked very hard to win the board," said Ward,
Ward's supervisor, Staff Sgt. Kelly Douglas, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery Rear Detachment platoon sergeant, described him as a well-rounded Soldier, who shows initiative, takes direction well and "very important to the team."
"He has filled a couple different positions at the same time. He's filled a fire direction control position and a security clerk position for the intelligence section of our unit," Douglas said.
All the recognized Soldiers received numerous gifts from units, organizations, agencies, the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation and many community sponsors.