Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
Two 40th Military Police Battalion (Detention) soldiers — Sgt. Anthony Hogan, 256th MP Company; and Sgt. 1st Class Chad Hickey, 291st MP Company — were officially inducted as the newest members of the Lamp Chapter of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club in a ceremony March 30 in Grant Auditorium.
Murphy is the most decorated soldier in American history, earning every medal of valor given by the United States, as well as a 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.
“When I think of (SAMC), the first thing that comes to mind is the dedication and commitment required to become an inductee, and how that dedication and commitment does not stop at your induction ceremony,” said Master Sgt. Nickie Wileman, 15th MP Brigade S-3 sergeant major, who served as the guest speaker. “I think of how each and every one of you are amongst the first to volunteer to help fellow soldiers and your community. I think of all the time and energy you have invested to join this organization, and how it speaks volumes to your commitment as a noncommissioned officer in the United States Army.”
Wileman asked attendees to reflect on the theme of this year’s Women’s History Month — valiant women of the vote: refusing to be silenced — in relation to the duty of the NCO.
“As military members, we are under a microscope, charged with remaining apolitical, and we owe it to our soldiers to provide them the leadership and mentorship necessary to teach them how to operate as professionals both on and off duty. This debt we owe to our soldiers requires us to refuse to be silent,” Wileman said. “As an NCO, we must all take responsibility to get to know our soldiers, know their values and background and have the hard conversation in order to empathize with the struggles that they and their families might currently be facing.
“When we become NCOs, we know that we are responsible for so much more than ourselves. We have soldiers, leaders and peers that come to us when they need guidance, mentorship or sometimes simply a friend,” she said. “A leader is defined as a person who has commanding authority or influence, but to be a true leader requires so much more than that definition. As an NCO, you are automatically a leader, but by joining the (SAMC), now you represent the best of us, and you have to be better than us. You have to be the best version of yourself.”
Wileman challenged the inductees to use the honor as a way to show the world the best of what the Army has to offer.
“(Hogan and Hickey) now have an added strength that 98 percent of NCOs do not have. They have joined an organization that is the tip of the spear. They both went above and beyond what was asked of them as NCOs, and now we charge them to use that strength and show the world the best of us,” Wileman said. “We charge them to join us in refusing to remain silent for the sake of our soldiers. Set the standard and bring those around you up to meet it as well.”
Although the COVID-19 pandemic limited the amount of volunteer opportunities the inductees could participate in, they did help with curbside pick-up at the Commissary, clean-up projects at the Veterans Affairs Trail, and served in several color guards.
Hogan said he enjoyed helping with the VA Trail maintenance the most.
“I found out about the VA trails through helping volunteer and that’s something you can do even during COVID-19. It’s good to get outside and get some fresh air,” Hogan said. “I had really good mentors that were members of the club, and they would take me to the volunteer events and activities that they were in, and I really felt good and a sense of accomplishment when I was helping serve the community.”
Hickey said he most enjoyed serving with the color guard.
“(The color guard) puts the military out in the limelight for the community, and while everyone sees the military on TV, being able to go out there and interact with people and be a part of the color guard shows what the military is,” Hickey said. “It’s a huge honor (to become a SAMC member). It’s one of those clubs that you hear about a lot as a soldier and you see a lot of great NCOs that are part of the club, so to be inducted at this point in my career feels very, very good, and I’m very honored.”