Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
Three 40th Military Police Battalion (Detention) soldiers — Sgt. 1st Class Michael Green, 291st MP Company, Staff Sgt. Matthew Oliver, 526th MP Company, and Staff Sgt. Timothy Rowland, 291st MP Company — were officially inducted as the newest members of the Lamp Chapter of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club in a ceremony Jan. 29 in DePuy Auditorium.
Audie Murphy is the most decorated soldier in American history, earning every medal of valor given by the United States, 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 on May 28, 1971, at the age of 46.
“The Fort Leavenworth Lamp Chapter Sergeant Audie Murphy Club is supported by (noncommissioned officers) from units all across Fort Leavenworth who are committed to strengthening the noncommissioned officer corps and quality of life,” said 1st Sgt. Jason Jinks, SAMC secretary. “These NCOs have shown commitment to both the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club and NCO Corps by volunteering on numerous occasions to include being part of the adopt-a-highway clean up, cleaning the (Veterans Affairs) hospital nature trails and delivering food for Meals-on-Wheels to disabled elderly.
“They are truly selfless NCOs who are committed to the welfare of their soldiers and our nation,” he said.
As part of their induction, Green, Oliver and Rowland were all presented with a certificate of achievement, a framed biography of Audie Murphy, a membership card certifying them as lifelong SAMC members, and the SAMC medallion featuring the club crest, designed by original SAMC organizer and professional illustrator Don Moore.
Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Haliburton, 40th MP Battalion,who served as the guest speaker, said he wanted to offer an ounce of perspective on the accomplishment of the three inductees.
“There are roughly 5,000 SAMC members that are currently among our active-duty ranks. The size of our Army currently sits at just over 470,000 soldiers,” Haliburton said. “Using my math skills, that is roughly 1 percent.”
Haliburton used drill and ceremonies commands throughout his speech, starting with “fall in.” He used the word “great” to describe the inductees.
“Great leadership is powerful, dominating, often overwhelming. It can sweep people along through sheer animation. Great leadership excites, energizes and stimulates. It is a rousing call, shocking complacency and inertia into action. It is one of the most potent pulls in human history, and as such accounts for much of humanity’s progress, as well as its suffering,” Haliburton said. “While it ignites collective action and stirs passion, its direction depends largely on those that wield its power. Great has no inherent moral compass and thus its unpredictable potency can just as easily be put toward pugilistic and peaceful purposes.”
Shouting “forward march,” Haliburton described the uniform of an enlisted soldier.
“You will not find anything that tells you specifically what occupational specialty an NCO or soldier may be. …We just see rank and there is an expectation that lies within that rank,” Haliburton said. “When the leaders today receive this award, there is an expectation superiors and subordinates alike will have for these NCOs.
“Development and shaping of these phenomenal NCOs starts upon indoctrination and completion of (Advanced Individual Training),” he said.
“Double time!” Haliburton continued, asking three questions.
“Do I have what it takes? Am I committed? Am I walking upright?” Haliburton asked. “As a young soldier, we are taught to be observant with our eyes. We are trained to watch and look at every little detail. This sense we possess becomes inextricably linked to other senses. …This is the most important in our indoctrination to our craft.
“It might sound counterintuitive that the best way to train yourself to observe more in our Army is to learn what to ignore, but that’s the basic idea here. You can’t pay attention to everything, so here you are trained on what to look for to retrain your eye,” he said. “Accomplishment of this is critical. Those soldiers who master this ability of observation place themselves ahead of their peers.”
Haliburton said NCOs are also trained to listen, calling the skill vital for progression.
“We master the lesson of listening to understand and not listening to respond,” Haliburton said. “Those NCOs that develop a supernatural ability to listen, again, separate themselves.”
Finally, Haliburton said, NCOs are taught to use their voices to address what their soldiers have seen and heard.
“This skill set is so important to our soldiers that the tone and the ability for the senior NCO to communicate can influence echelons above. Ensuring that our senior NCOs possess this skillset is critical on all levels,” Haliburton said. “While technology has made us connected and accessible 24-7, it has also made us the least social society in the world, more importantly, decreasing the ability for our senior NCOs to vocalize the vision and hearing of our soldiers.
“We must seek out these soldiers within an elevated sense of hearing, seeing and well-developed voice,” he said. “Our senses as soldiers are what helps us become better leaders and adapt to an ever-changing environment.”
“Quick-time march,” Haliburton concluded.
“The art of training soldiers is not determined by the portrait itself, but the brush stroke of the sergeant,” Haliburton said. “These are the 1 percent and we must utilize this group of NCOs to develop and ready the 99 percent.”
The inductees had different reasons for what their induction into the club meant to them and for the soldiers they lead.
“You sit there, you do a lot for your soldiers, and it is cool to be seen and know that what I’ve done has a meaning behind it. It brings everything to a central point, and it makes it real that I have been doing the right thing and been moving forward in the right way,” Green said. “Anybody can (be inducted into SAMC). You just have to stay hard-charging. A lot of my soldiers already know exactly who I am as a person and how I get things done as a leader, and if they do want to follow the same path, it is not hard. It is just caring that matters most.”
Oliver said becoming a member of SAMC is a lot of hard work.
“It is a grueling process to go through multiple boards and get questioned. Every ounce of your leadership is under a microscope, so to be able to surpass that process and be inducted means a lot,” Oliver said. “The Audie Murphy Club, the motto is ‘lead from the front.’ All of my soldiers were here today, and they were able to see that their platoon sergeant, the highest-ranking NCO in the platoon, is leading from the front and sets an example to them on what to reach for.”
Rowland said it was a three-year process to be inducted into the club having actually started the journey at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
“It just means so much to me because I’m able to represent the NCO Corps as a whole and hopefully be able to push my soldiers to achieve something greater,” Rowland said. “A lot of them don’t know about the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, so this is an opening point for us to talk to them about it and get them more interested to come volunteer and give back to the community.”