By Vince Little, The BayonetApril 27, 2011
FORT BENNING, Ga. - The Fort Benning chapter of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club staged its first induction ceremony Wednesday in almost two years.
Nine Soldiers gained entry, while an Army spouse was honored with the Margaret C. Corbin Award for outstanding volunteer efforts on and off post. Maj. Gen. Robert Brown, the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning commanding general, and post Command Sgt. Maj. Chris Hardy presented membership medallions during the event at Pratt Hall.
"This is a great group of Americans who have set themselves apart," Hardy told the audience.
The club recognizes noncommissioned officers in the ranks of corporal through sergeant first class who display exemplary leadership. Audie Murphy, the organization's namesake, is the most decorated Soldier in American history. He earned the Medal of Honor during World War II.
Wednesday's guest speaker was Sgt. Maj. Christopher McLean Sr., senior enlisted adviser for the Directorate of Training Sustainment and a chapter member.
"This club is an elite organization comprised of noncommissioned officers who have demonstrated outstanding performance characterized by that of Sergeant Audie Murphy," he said. "Our club is a team, and we serve the citizens of Fort Benning, Phenix City and Columbus."
McLean told inductees to take pride in the accomplishment and continue setting the benchmark for other Soldiers.
"We are serving the greatest Army in this world. Other armies try to replicate what we're doing," he said. "You should be the standard, know the standard and enforce the standard. ... I'm very proud of your achievements and commitment to serve our nation."
Soldiers brought in are the "cream of the crop, the ones who stand out the most," said Sgt. 1st Class Michele Garner of A Company, 3rd Battalion (Officer Candidate School), 11th Infantry Regiment, president of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club's Fort Benning chapter.
"They're willing to go above and beyond," she said. "We as NCOs have to instill discipline and embody what (Audie Murphy) did to help people. We have to reach out and make sure everything that's supposed to be right is right. That means you always do the right thing when nobody else is looking.
"The part I like about it is going out and helping others, those who really need help - whether they be Soldiers, civilians or kids."
Garner said community service is a pillar of the club's mission. It pursues many projects and activities throughout the year. The post chapter has 70 members, but only about 20 are considered active.
They put on car washes to raise money toward a $1,000 military spouse scholarship fund that's presented each October. In November, the club conducts a food drive at the commissary for Damascus Way, a women and children's shelter in Columbus. Members also collect toys for Santa's Castle, which provides Christmas gifts to military children, and routinely pick up trash along local highways.
Every year on Murphy's June 20 birthday, the group shows To Hell and Back, which chronicles the legendary figure's war experiences.
Sgt. Tiffany Enoch, a parachute rigger in E Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment's "pack platoon," is among the new club members. As a specialist, she was named Fort Benning's Soldier of the Year in 2009.
"It's something I'm really proud of to be among all the elite NCOs here," she said of the induction. "It sets you apart from your peers (and) it puts you miles ahead of them. ... Me being a young NCO, I've been learning a lot from the senior NCOs. They influence me so much, not only during work but outside of the club. They show you what's right."
Tammie Carney was the lone civilian honoree at the ceremony. She's the wife of Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Carney, a drill sergeant with the 30th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception).
Since moving to Fort Benning, she's logged more than 2,500 volunteer hours. She was awarded the Volunteer of Excellence for fiscal 2010 and earned Volunteer of the Month in December 2009.
Carney is the 30th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception) family readiness group leader, donates hours at the National Infantry Musuem and can frequently be found at the American Red Cross, USO and various Army Community Service agencies. The mother of a special-needs son, she volunteers regularly at Exceptional Family Member Program events.
"It's a privilege and I'm very honored," she said of receiving the Margaret C. Corbin Award. "When I volunteer, I don't expect anything in return. I feel that when you volunteer, it should come from your heart and your soul, and you shouldn't expect something in return.
"The saying that I go by ... is 'what you do for yourself goes to the grave, what you do for others lasts a lifetime.' That's the quote I live by because it's true."
Being recognized alongside the nine Soldiers made the occasion even more special, Carney said.
"There's everyday Soldiers, then you've got extraordinary Soldiers," she said. "Those who are in the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club - they're extraordinary Soldiers. They have gone above and beyond what's expected of them."
Sergeant Audie Murphy Club inductees:
Sgt. 1st Class Charles Lusk, Ranger Training Brigade
Staff Sgt. Jason Askvig, 199th Infantry Brigade
Staff Sgt. Mario Garcia, Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation
Staff Sgt. Robert Garvey, 198th Infantry Brigade
Staff Sgt. Bradley Latham, 192nd Infantry Brigade
Staff Sgt. Aaron O'Connor, 316th Cavalry Brigade
Staff Sgt. Bradley Spaid, 198th Infantry Brigade
Sgt. Tiffany Enoch, 199th Infantry Brigade
Sgt. Clinton McMarlin, 192nd Infantry Brigade
Margaret C. Corbin Award:
WHO GETS IN'
The Sergeant Audie Murphy Club's Fort Benning chapter is planning induction ceremonies every quarter. The club has membership meetings from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every second Tuesday of the month at Sand Hill Recreation Center. Anyone interested in joining may attend.
To be eligible, Soldiers must score 90 or above in each event of the Army physical fitness test and have letters of recommendation from their first sergeant, battalion sergeant major and brigade sergeant major. Once candidates are recommended by their chain of command, they appear before a board of sergeants major who evaluate their knowledge of Soldier skills and issues. If the board votes unanimously in favor of the candidate, he or she is inducted.
For more information, call 706-545-9186 or visit http://audiemurphyclub.org.