Staff Sgt. Nhiem Chau, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, is congratulated by Sgt. Maj. Rick Hairston, operations sergeant major for 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, after being named to the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club July 8 at Contingency Operating Site Kalsu, Iraq.
By Pfc. Erik Anderson
COS KALSU, Iraq – The original Sergeant Audie Murphy Club began at Fort Hood, Texas, in 1986. The group recognizes noncommissioned officers who have displayed the integrity, professionalism and commitment exemplified by Audie L. Murphy. In 1994, the SAMC spread throughout the Army, with individual commands performing the selection process for their own NCOs.
Ten soldiers currently deployed to Iraq with the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division met at Contingency Operating Site Kalsu July 8 to vie for membership in the club.
The morning started out with a physical fitness test, followed by a land navigation course spanning across COS Kalsu that had the SAMC hopefuls performing common team leader tasks and firing their weapons.
For the potential members, the day marked an end to their rigorous preparation.
“I had 16 days to get things in order, and luckily, most of my soldier's information was updated so I had just a few things to fix,” said Staff Sgt. Nhiem Chau, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd HBCT. “I spent most of my time studying different regulations that most NCOs neglect or did not pay much attention to.”
Chau and the other competitors were sponsored by senior leaders in their quest for membership.
“First Sgt. (Jerimiah) Gan, Sgt. 1st Class (Matthew) Delisle, and myself conducted mock boards every day leading up to the actual date of the board,” said Sgt. 1st Class Oracio Pena, Jr., 1st Bn., 15th Inf. Regt. “We quizzed all nine individuals (from the battalion) on situational questions and questions referring to Audie Murphy and his life to ensure they knew every bit of information about Audie Murphy.”
For current members like Pena, membership is more than a medal to be worn around the neck
“Being a member of one of the most prestigious clubs is an honor,” Pena said. “It means that people expect more of me, and I am always up for the challenge no matter what.”
Each candidate faced a board comprised of senior NCOs asking situational questions as the final part of the selection process.
“To be honest, the entire board was intimidating but not difficult,” Chau said. “The questions that were asked are based on experience as a leader and how you would respond to different situations.”
When the dust had settled and the questions were answered, three staff sergeants from 1st Bn., 15th Inf. Regt., Audie Murphy’s former unit, were inducted.
“The benefit of knowing that when a VIP comes into a military post, and they ask for an escort, they look to the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club to provide a member due to the professionalism that comes from the club,” Pena said. “It is a great honor and a privilege to be a member.”
Chau, one of the newest Sergeant Audie Murphy Club members, wasn’t sure he was up for the challenges of the board.
“Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Moore, my battalion sergeant major, was the one that put me up to it, and I am glad that he did,” Chau said. “He somehow knew that I would do well and instilled the confidence in me.”