Story by Sgt. 1st Class Phillip Eugene
80th Training Command
FORT KNOX, Ky. - Three citizen-soldiers inducted into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club each credit their family members with helping them attain membership.
The level of commitment required to prepare for, and participate in events like the SAMC makes family support almost mandatory, according to Sgt. 1st Class Martin Rodriguez, acting first sergeant of the 1/104th Military Police Company.
Rodriguez said that Nicol Zumpf, his fiancé and mother of his two children, maintained their household while he was away competing in the 80th Training Command’s Best Warrior Competition which the command integrated into the SAMC board process, and she also helped him prepare.
“We ran together, we worked out together, she drilled me,” said Rodrguez. “She was patient when I was gone she took care of the bills and everything.”
Sgt. 1st Class Mark Mackey, a platoon sergeant with A Company 3/379th Battalion, said his wife supports his efforts much like Rodriguez’s fiancé, but his family also gives him a reason to succeed.
“My wife and child are one of the main reasons why I try as hard as I do,” said Mackey. “I don’t want to go home and tell them that I didn’t achieve something.”
During the time leading up to the board proceedings, Sgt. 1st Class Jennifer Reisert’s parents and her friends would quiz her whenever she called home. The Army Guard and Reserve soldier also had to recite the Audie Murphy creed before they’d engage her in regular conversation.
“I get a 150 percent support from my family and friends,” said Reisert, the executive noncommissioned officer-in-charge to the Army Reserve’s command sergeant major. “If I’m feeling down and out they encourage me, they’ve supported all my military decisions.”
The soldiers were inducted during a ceremony hosted by the 80th Training Command at Fort Knox, Ky., Oct. 11, 2012.
The Sgt. Audie Murphy Club, named after the United States Military's most decorated veteran, is a private U.S. Army organization for enlisted non-commissioned officers which began at Fort Hood, Texas, in 1986.
Candidates are formally recommended to compete for membership based on their leadership abilities, and for showing genuine concern for soldiers and the soldiers’ families.
The competitors then appear before a panel of senior noncommissioned officer-in-charge for a painstaking verbal examination.
Rodriguez says that the rigorous nature of such events makes it important for participants to be free of distractions at home and they should have a clear head during the entire process.