CAMP CASEY, South Korea -- He�'s been here once before. Standing tall on a red carpet in his Army Service Uniform after last minute adjustments of shining the insignia on his lapel, triple checking for dust, and making sure his ribbons are all properly placed and spaced.
After 30 seconds, he knocks on a door and waits to hear the president of the board call him in.
Staff Sgt. Hodge, from Hampton, Va., the senior medic assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, reported before members of the brigade's Sergeant Audie Murphy Club board Feb. 26, at Camp Casey, South Korea.
The Sergeant Audie Murphy Club originated at Fort Hood, Texas, in 1986 and recognizes noncommissioned officers that exemplify leadership characterized by personal concern for the needs, training, development and welfare of their Soldiers.
This is Hodge�'s second shot at the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club.
Last quarter he made it through the brigade board but wasn't able to secure the required unanimous approval of the division board.
But that hasn�'t stopped him from going back for round two.
"Even though I didn�'t make it the first time, I didn�'t give up," said Hodge. �"It�'s what I really wanted so I studied harder and prepared myself to succeed."
Once he entered the room, members of the board began to inspect his uniform. They pointed out a string that had fallen loose from his jacket; they noted the break in his slacks, and asked if he tied the double Windsor knot in his tie.
This was before Hodge recited Audie Murphy�'s biography, word for word.
�"When I went back in 2002, if you missed one word, they�'d stop and kick you out," said Command Sgt. Maj. Mark L. Brinton, the senior enlisted advisor for the 210th FA Bde., and member of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club. �"If you don�'t know the bio, you might as well not go in there."
In addition to inspections and biographies, Hodge has been studying regulations, he said, spending hours with subject matter experts of those regulations to help him prepare.
After thirty minutes of relentless questioning, from weapons operations, land navigation and how Hodge would deal with situations requiring his judgment as a leader, it�'s now time for the board to vote.
�"Usually we�'d send the Soldier back outside while we vote," said Brinton to Hodge, �"But we want you in here to hear this."
Each member of the board casts a vote that will determine if Hodge moves on, or goes back to hit the books until next quarter.
"Since I've been here," said Brinton, �"no one from the brigade has been inducted. Hopefully next week we'll have one."
Being one step closer to his goal, Hodge stands at attention before the board, salutes and exits the room with the same stoicism as he entered it.
�"I feel confident," said Hodge. �"I know more now and I was prepared."
Hodge�'s preparation paid off because he is the first Soldier from 210th FA Bde., in nearly two years to be inducted to the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club. The induction ceremony is scheduled to take place in the near future at Camp Red Cloud in Uijeongbu, South Korea.
Staff Sgt. Hodge�'s resiliency and determination to become a member of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club is one more example of the 2nd Inf. Div., flexibility and readiness to �"Fight Tonight."