By Eric PilgrimJanuary 24, 2019
Sajeerat Williams beamed in the front of Olive Theater at Fort Knox Jan. 22 as her husband walked to the center of the stage.
Sergeant Nahjier Williams, a public affairs specialist from 1st Theater Sustainment Command, stood still at attention while Command Sgt. Maj. Mario Terenas, senior enlisted advisor for U.S. Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox, shook his hand and draped the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club medallion over his neck.
"I'm super proud of him because he's been working all day and all night," said Sajeerat. "Sometimes like I don't even see him all day long because he's always busy."
Williams joined three other Soldiers on the stage to receive their medals as well as Army Commendation Medals and the honor and respect of several others in attendance at the quarterly induction ceremony: Sgt. 1st Class Angel Alvarez of U.S. Army Human Resources Command; Sgt. 1st Class Robert Holmes of Recruiting & Retention College; and Sgt. 1st Class Aisha Mason of 83rd U.S. Army Reserve Readiness Training Center.
Attended by several of the 200-plus local club members and local civic and military leaders, guest speaker Command Sgt. Maj. Garrick Griffin, Fort Knox Garrison senior enlisted advisor, bragged on the four inductees.
"I commend these four noncommissioned officers that are sitting over here to my left," said Griffin. "A lot of people are afraid to do what you did. It took a lot of intestinal fortitude to go before that board and sit there and be badgered by some sergeant majors and asked a whole bunch of questions, but you were Sergeant Audie Murphy members long before you walked into that board."
Griffin then addressed the crowd.
"Before they came to the board, they already started doing volunteer work, serving their community, and taking care of Fort Knox and the surrounding community," said Griffin.
President of the Fort Knox club, Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Reilly said it is a rare honor for Soldiers to earn the blue-ribbon medallion.
"It is a competition; more of a competition against yourself," said Reilly.
Each competition includes a physical fitness test, weapons qualification, map reading, land navigation, and standing in dress uniforms before a panel of senior noncommissioned officers who ask challenging questions designed to reveal the ethical standards of each Soldier.
Reilly said the next induction ceremony, sometime in April, should be fairly large compared to the January ceremony because the leadership council just changed hands earlier this month and the criteria for getting into the club was changed slightly.
"The Sergeant Audie Murphy Club is the most prestigious noncommissioned officer club in the Army," said Reilly. "It's said that less than 1 percent of the noncommissioned officer corps are inducted into the club."
Reilly was the only one of 13 Soldiers who earned the medallion when he competed in a competition in the Military District of Washington a few years ago.
One of the four inducted in the ceremony, Mason said though the process was challenging, she spent a lot of time preparing for it.
"It's a very rigorous process where you have to know a lot of information using policies and regulations. You have to know how to apply that to leadership scenarios, and how you would act in that particular situation," Mason said. "I was not always confident I would get this but I was confident in my studies."
The 17-year veteran said this was her first time competing for the honor.
"I didn't have to do this," said Mason. "I chose to do this as a challenge to myself and, for that I'm proud of myself for being able to accomplish the task."
Sajeerat said she wasn't at all surprised by her husband's success.
"He's the kind of person that if he wants something, he will get it," said Sajeerat. "He got it."