• 2 NCOs join Audie Murphy ranks

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    The Lamp Chapter of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club inducted two new members — Staff Sgt. William Speer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Disciplinary Barracks, and Sgt. 1st Class Katherine Tokles, HHC, 705th Military Police Battalion (Detention) — in a ceremony April 6 in the Lewis and Clark Center’s Eisenhower Auditorium.
    Audie Murphy is the most decorated soldier in American history, earning every medal of valor given by America as well as one Belgian medal and three French medals. He was discharged from the Army on Sept. 21, 1945, and moved to Hollywood where he became a well-known author, actor, producer, songwriter and poet. He was killed in a plane crash May 28, 1971, at the age of 46.
    Sgt. 1st Class David Peppard, SAMC president, said Speer and Tokles are examples of selfless NCOs who have both volunteered with the Adopt-a-Highway clean-up, volunteered time to prepare food boxes for holiday meals with the Fort Leavenworth Commissary, helped clean the Fort Leavenworth Thrift Shop during its move, and delivered food for Meals on Wheels.
    “(Speer and Tokles) are committed to the welfare of their soldiers and our nation and we are proud to induct these fine NCOs today who exemplify the Army values,” Peppard said. “Members of the Fort Leavenworth (SAMC) Lamp Chapter truly lead from the front.”
    As part of their induction, Speer and Tokles each received a certificate of achievement, a framed biography of Audie Murphy, a membership card and the SAMC medallion to certify their membership as lifelong members.
    Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Fuller served as guest speaker for the ceremony.
    “As newly inducted members of the (SAMC), you have already demonstrated that you are exceptional leaders. Now you will be held to a higher expectation not only by your seniors but also by your peers and subordinates,” Fuller said. “I challenge you to renew your commitment as a leader. I challenge you to aggressively pursue the daily calling of becoming an example, a better NCO, a mentor, a volunteer and a highly adaptable leader.”
    Fuller said soldiers are the Army’s most important asset and that discipline is key in the training of future leaders.
    “Discipline is a must (and) is the foundation of our success,” he said. “When the body and the mind tell us to quit, discipline takes over. Engaged leadership through counseling, mentoring and consistent interaction with soldiers is the most effective way to discipline since it allows the leader to provide constant performance assessments and developmental mentorship, but also Army leaders to fully know their soldiers and their needs.”
    Fuller said he had four things he wanted the inductees to remember. First, he said, an NCO is not born great.
    Page 2 of 2 - “No one comes into the military ready to lead and train soldiers. Becoming a great NCO and leader provides a daily commitment to self-developmental improvement doing whatever is necessary to eliminate leadership weakness and to better yourself professionally. We owe this to our soldiers,” he said.
    “Leader development is a long-term progressive process combining training, education and experience allowing leaders to better lead the Army, joint, interagency and multinational task forces and teams. As NCOs and leaders, the day you lose the desire to continue to learn is the exact time to start looking for a different career. Never forget, achieving leadership greatness is a never-ending task.”
    Second, leaders must trust subordinates and empower them to accomplish the mission of the commander, Fuller said.
    “It is vital for leaders to aggressively concentrate efforts on the leader development of junior leaders, integrating leader development upon everything they do with consistent intent of creating disciplined, competent and highly-adaptable leaders,” Fuller said. “(Develop) the attributes and competencies identifying our leadership doctrine and creating leaders capable of winning in today’s complex, unpredictable and restrained operational environments and able to defeat today’s emerging hybrid adversaries.”
    NCOs must also be standard bearers.
    “As NCOs, we must be committed to continue to lead the way in development, establishment and enforcement of standards for the entire Army,” Fuller said.
    Finally, Fuller said an NCO must love and cherish the leadership profession.
    “Consistently pursue excellence as a soldier, leader, NCO and professional committed to performing all responsibilities with the highest possible standards, building and enduring legacy for all to aspire by creating a difference today with tomorrow in mind ultimately investing in others with a view to the future.”
    Speer said he was grateful for the induction.
    “It’s a pretty great honor,” he said. “Hopefully, I can serve the club well.”
    Tokles said she was humbled.
    “It feels unbelievably amazing,” she said. “I’ve been volunteering with the club for four years (so) to actually be a part of it feels phenomenal. Words can’t describe it.”
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