NEWS | July 10, 2018

Sergeant Audie Murphy Award Presentation Ceremony

By Sgt. James Larimer U.S. Army Central

After being refused enlistment in both the Marines and Army Paratroopers for being too small and underweight, the son of poor sharecroppers enlisted in the U.S. Army June 30, 1942. When he was released from active duty three years later on September 21, 1945, Audie Leon Murphy was the most decorated U.S. combat Soldier with 33 awards and decorations, including the Medal of Honor.

Today the legacy of Audie Murphy is carried forward by a group of noncommissioned officers who have contributed significantly to the development of a professional NCO Corps and a combat-ready Army, the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club.

Two new members were accepted into the ranks of the SAMC, Sgt. 1st Class Roberto Castaneda Jr., a platoon sergeant with the 202nd Military Police Company attached to U.S. Army Central as the personnel security detail noncommissioned officer in charge, and Sgt. 1st Class Jonah Even, a maintenance management NCO assigned to the 401st Army Field Support Battalion-Qatar, July 7, 2018, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.

“This is definitely a big feat for me,” said Castaneda. “To be a part of a group of NCOs that have the same mentality of upholding a set of morals and ethics, motivating Soldiers and volunteering our time.”
Members of the club exemplify leadership characterized by personal concern for the needs, training, development and welfare of Soldiers and their families.

“My favorite part about leading Soldiers is watching them progress,” said Even. “I can see my leadership and what I bring to the table shine through them.”

In addition to providing excellent leadership to their Soldiers, SAMC members work to better their communities through community service.

“The Audie Murphy Club is a club of some of the best NCOs you will find in the Army,” said Sgt. 1st Class Mark Peacock, the 160th Signal Brigade S3 noncommissioned officer in charge and Camp Arifjan SAMC president. “The thing that they all have in common is they’re very passionate about caring for Soldiers and improving their community.”

To be selected Even and Castaneda were tested on multiple tasks to demonstrate their competence including leading a full Physical Readiness Training session, conducting drill and ceremony, a 50 question test on Army knowledge, a written essay and an Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) in which they had to score over 90 points in each event, before finally appearing before the board.

Castaneda recently sponsored two Soldiers who were each runners up in their respective categories in the U.S. Army Central Best Warrior Competition.

“When my Soldiers see me doing things like this it shows them that I am with them,” said Castaneda. “They see me trying to better myself just as much as they are trying to better themselves.”

During Castaneda’s time as a platoon sergeant for the 202nd Military Police Company he has sent 15 Soldiers to the Basic Leadership Course, four to the Advanced Leadership Course and four of his Soldiers have been awarded the Iron Soldier award for highest APFT score.

“Throughout my military career my proudest moments have come from seeing my Soldiers accomplish things,” said Castaneda. “Even if it is just seeing them get 10 points better on their APFT.”

“In 10 to 15 years being able to see them progress and knowing you had a little piece in that, that’s ultimately what it is all about,” added Castaneda.

Castaneda and Even continue to follow Audie Murphy’s example by, “leading from the front” as they each strive for excellence within their profession.