By Sgt. Ian Vega-Cerezo
2ID/RUCD Public Affairs
CAMP HUMPHREYS, Republic of Korea - Tense is how most Soldiers would describe the atmosphere before a formal board. Leaders clad in dress uniforms paced back and forth, reciting creeds and regulatory guidance in preparation for the last step toward a common goal.
The battalion and brigade-level boards complete, four NCOs from across Camp Humphreys earned the right to challenge the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club board, May 21, at Freeman Hall.
The Sergeant Audie Murphy Club board selects the best noncommissioned who show extraordinary physical and mental toughness and distinguished leadership qualities. Applicants take the Army Physical Fitness Test, a written examination, an essay and a traditional board panel of sergeants major, one of whom must be a SAMC member.
"We look for someone that embodies some of the traits and attributes that Audie Murphy had, but not only that; we're looking for a high quality NCO," said Sgt. Maj. David Henderson, chemical biological radiological nuclear explosive sergeant major, 2IDRUCD. "Someone that trains their Soldiers well, meets all of the leadership requirements, is a great role model for junior Soldiers, NCOs and officers alike."
Becoming a SAMC member is more than wearing the Sergeant Audie Murphy Award.
"The organization does a lot of volunteer work with the community," said Henderson. "Here, the club participates and does events at local orphanages and some pet shelters. We do a lot of developmental sessions for junior enlisted Soldiers and NCOs and host study sessions for Soldiers going to promotion boards."
In preparation for the event, participants studied hard and sought out advice from their predecessors.
"I would sleep with my study guide on my bed, because I would fall asleep studying and I would wake up in the middle of the night, pick up my papers and resume studying," said 1st Sgt. Alethea Ellegor, Headquarters and Headquarters Company Brigade first sergeant, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division (Rotational). "It's a very stressful process. Studying, research and many conversations with people who have previously gone, I didn't realize how much stress I'd be under."
Ellegor was one of the three board participants selected to join the elite club after the final board.
"It was not as bad as I thought it was going to be," said Ellegor. "I was way more apprehensive about it compared to what it actually turned out to be. The questions were challenging because they make you think on your feet. They present you with an issue and assess how quickly you're able to understand what they're saying and give an adequate response."
Despite the rigorous preparation and time participants put in, not everyone makes it through the selection process the first time.
"It is a hard process, but it is attainable," said Henderson "Not everybody makes it through the first time, so if you don't make it through, just use that as a learning experience, go back and study some more."