KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- The Combined Joint Operation Area Afghanistan chapter of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club welcomed six new members into its ranks during a ceremony on Kandahar Airfield Dec. 9.
Sgt. 1st Class Melinda Braithwaite, noncommissioned officer in charge of Camp Nathan Smith Role 2 Medical Treatment Facility, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division; Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl, public affairs officer, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade; Staff Sgt. Antonio L. Buckley, S-2 NCOIC, Task Force Wings, 4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment; Staff Sgt. Matthew Fullam, Operations NCO, Headquarters Headquarters Company, 14th Engineer Battalion; Staff Sgt. Nathan Nadeau, Battle NCO, 368th Engineer Battalion; and Sgt. Anthony W. Black, Senior Radar Operator, Bravo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery Regiment, all received Sergeant Audie Murphy awards.
To honor Audie Murphy's role as both a noncommissioned officer and commissioned officer, Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, United States Army Europe commanding general, was the guest speaker, requested by the SAMC specifically because of his reputation and pedigree as a Soldier's officer, said Sgt. Maj. Ruby Murray, this SAMC chapter's president.
The arduous process of earning a Sergeant Audie Murphy award begins with being recommended by one's chain of command.
"I was told that I was recommended by my chain of command roughly around October of this year. They noticed my good leadership abilities, willingness, and my ability to take care of Soldiers at all times," said Black, the most junior recipient this quarter.
To prepare, the Soldiers were given mentors who were already Sergeant Audie Murphy Award recipients and conducted several mock boards, as well as study groups with the other recipients and their mentors.
Black said that board questions are mainly situational driven.
"Basically, any problems that can or have happened to Soldiers in the past and how you would react and take care of that situation," he said.
Murray also elaborated the importance of diversity in their board questions, by asking Soldiers like Black, who are in male-dominated military occupational specialties, questions about how they would handle situations with female Soldiers health issues, or sexual assault cases.
This is the third time Sergeant Audie Murphy Club boards have been held here since Murray began the process back in February, and this is the first quarter where female Soldiers have made it through the process.
"Young Soldiers say 'Sergeant, train me,' 'Sergeant, take care of me,' 'Sergeant, help me earn the title of Sergeant,'" said Hertling, "Sergeants push Soldiers and sergeants push themselves."
"After being around the members of the club for awhile, I started to realize that the main objective of the process and the club was to take care of others- civilian and military," said Black, "During the study process, we helped the club donate money for numerous charity runs, and helped at the Role 3 with the Wounded Warriors Project. It felt amazing to actually get out first-hand and help someone in need.
"I'm not saying that you have to be a Sergeant Audie Murphy Club member to help, but I came to the realization that this chapter actually does what they say they're going to do and they're doing a great job at it," he said.