By Staff Sgt. Deborah Runkles-Jenkins, 80th Training Command Public AffairsOctober 12, 2012
Sgt. 1st Class Samuel Gilpin, 7th Battalion, 95th Regiment, was selected for induction into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club after board proceedings at Fort Knox, Ky., Oct. 11, 2012.
Gilpin said he was honored when his senior enlisted leader, Command Sgt. Major Kelly Largent, recognized his leadership abilities and nominated him for the board.
"I realized this was a one-time shot at being a part of an elite organization," said Gilpin, the course manager of the battalion's Chaplain Assistant instructor team. "It was an opportunity for me to see where I was as far as my leadership abilities."
Preparing for such a prestigious event was no small task for the Citizen Soldier who is a husband, father, college student, and an employee at a medical distribution center in Grapevine, Texas.
"It was extremely challenging," Gilpin said. "There were times when I felt like the motivation and the energy were diminishing, but I pulled myself up, looked in the mirror and told myself, 'Hey, you can do this.'"
Gilpin was the only nominee selected out of the four Soldiers who went before the board, which consisted of five command sergeants major and one sergeant first class who's a SAMC member.
Gilpin spent nearly an hour answering the board members questions, which consisted of general military knowledge equivalent to his rank and military bearing. The board also tested his composure and reaction under pressure.
"I'm looking for a high level of confidence in their [a candidate's] abilities," said Command Sgt. Major John Stumph, senior enlisted leader, 102nd Training Division. "I don't want to see that wane (in the candidates) as the process goes on."
"I think we see the best of the best when we come to an event like this," said Command Sgt. Major James Wills, the 80th Training Command's senior enlisted leader and president of the board. "We see how they [the nominees] are living up to the values of the NCO Creed."
Wills announced Gilpin's selection during a ceremony held for SAMC inductees who were selected at a previous board. Gilpin and his fellow candidates each received a Certificate of Achievement from the 80th Training Command for participating.
Gilpin received a bronze statue of a bald eagle for being selected.
Gilpin said he wants to set the example so he can help other Soldiers achieve their goals in spite of the obstacles they may face.
"I have a lot more work to do now," he said. "Being inducted means I have to step it up a notch in making sure I pass on success to the Soldiers I lead."
Gilpin will be inducted in a ceremony scheduled for February 2013.