The Lamp Chapter of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club inducted nine new members during a ceremony Sept. 24 in Grant Auditorium.The new members include Sgt. 1st Class Martin Alonzo, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Disciplinary Barracks; Sgt. 1st Class Tanya Hnat, HHC, 40th Military Police Battalion (Detention); Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Lucas, 291st MP Company, 40th; Sgt. 1st Class Ashley Neago, HHC, Joint Regional Correctional Facility, 705th MP Battalion (Detention); Sgt. 1st Class Eric Williams, 256th MP Company, 40th; Staff Sgt. Cory Calico, 291st, 40th; Staff Sgt. Jeremy Meyers, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 15th Military Police Brigade; Sgt. Arnice Bratcher-Harris, HHC, Combined Arms Center, Special Troops Battalion; and Sgt. Charles Velazquez, HHD, 15th.Sgt.
Audie Murphy is the most decorated soldier in U.S. history. During his military service, he earned every U.S. medal of val-or, as well as one Belgian medal and three French medals. After his discharge from the Army Sept. 21, 1945, Murphy became an accomplished actor, author, poet, producer and songwriter in Hollywood until his passing May 28, 1971.This was one of the largest inductions the club has conducted, with typically two to four new members per induction. SAMC Vice President 1st Sgt. Chad Hickey, 526th MP Company, 40th MP Battalion, said the higher number of inductees this time could be attributed to encouragement from current SAMC members and other leaders in the noncommissioned officers’ units.
“We hope that they take the information they have learned at the board and pass it back to their soldiers as NCOs to improve the organization and the Army,” Hickey said.Mission Command Center of Excellence Sgt. Maj. Robert Ferguson II, ceremony guest speaker and SAMC member, said the SAMC induction process lends to the betterment of NCOs and recognizes them as proven leaders.
“My true belief is that this program is an NCO recognition program — we are recognizing those great NCOs we have in our formations,” Ferguson said. “The NCOs we have here today are marked leaders. It is no secret that if you get a priority, you put a leader in front of that mission. Audie Murphy NCOs are a catalyst for driving change, they know that satisfaction is the enemy of progress. They can put fresh eyes on a problem and tackle it from another angle. They’re your trusted agents, a great azimuth check for all the command teams out there to figure out what’s going on great in the organization and what can we improve in them.”
Sponsors also recognized the accomplishments of the new members.
“These NCOs are outstanding leaders and show a lot of potential through earning this award,” said Lori Simmons, vice president and chief marketing officer for Armed Forces Insurance, one of the sponsors of SAMC.Simmons said SAMC and Armed Forces Insurance share mission-based interests, and as a sponsor, supporting these NCOs is complementary to the community.
“We want to demonstrate to family members and service members that their accomplishments are meaningful; we want to recognize that.”Two of the new SAMC members have already taken top leadership positions in the organization upon passing the required board processes and a unanimous election. Neago joins as the incoming president of SAMC and Alonzo as the incoming vice president.
Neago said her motivation for taking on the leadership role is her soldiers and their families.
“Just to be around like-minded people is going to be exciting; I’m excited to see where our club is going to go next,” she said.