159th SOC opens Sgt. Audie Murphy Club study hall

Story by Sgt. Keith S. VanKlompenberg
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Attaining membership in the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club is no easy task, which is why Soldiers from the 159th Seaport Operations Company started a weekly study hall to help prospective members prepare for the selection process at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

Saturday was the first official day of the study hall, which was a basic orientation to familiarize Soldiers with the requirements of the club, said Sgt. 1st Class Frederick Thompson.

Induction into the club – open to noncommissioned officers from corporal to sergeant first class– requires Warfighters to memorize vast amounts of information verbatim, said Thompson, the operations noncommissioned officer in charge and headquarters platoon sergeant with the 159th.

Thompson said the study hall will work like a practice board so Soldiers can learn what to expect and gauge their progress.

During selection, service members perform facing movements and disassemble and reassemble their weapons while answering situation-based leadership questions and reciting Sgt. Audie Murphy’s biography, as well as the Soldier’s Creed, NCO Creed and Army song, Thompson said.

Thompson became a member of the SAMC in May.

“If I want others to go forth and be productive, as an NCO I need to strive to be the best I can be and lead from the front,” he said.

He praised the candidates for their hard work.

“I applaud them for just the effort,” said Thompson. “It was hard for me.”

First Sgt. Charlie McKenzie, with the 159th SOC, who was inducted into the SAMC as a sergeant first class in 1997, said he found the board exceptionally challenging as well.

“It was one of the toughest boards of my military career,” he said.

McKenzie, an Atlanta native, said membership is invaluable as a leader of Soldiers.

“It gives the opportunity for good NCOs to be excellent NCOs,” he said.

McKenzie said the study hall will assist Soldiers in memorizing necessary literature as well as break down areas of Army leadership manuals and regulations some NCOs might not fully understand.

Thompson said the Audie Murphy club brings together the Army’s most knowledgeable NCOs to create a network of experts junior Soldiers can depend on.

“At the end of the day, for me, it’s all about taking care of Soldiers,” said Thompson.

For more information on the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club study hall, contact Sgt. 1st Class Thompson at (318) 483-4018 or email frederick.thompson1@iraq.centcom.mil.