8th Army soldiers inducted into Audie Murphy Club
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Thirteen members of the 8th U.S. Army community were honored with one of three prestigious awards during a quarterly induction ceremony Friday.
Three U.S. noncommissioned officers were inducted into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club; nine South Korean augmentees to the U.S. military earned General Paik Sun-yup Leadership Awards; and one spouse was given a Dr. Mary E. Walker Award.
Audie MurphyAudie Murphy inductees are chosen for exemplifying the characteristics of Sgt. Audie L. Murphy, America’s most decorated soldier. The 5-foot-5-inch Murphy, who joined the Army at 18, fought in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany, earning a battlefield commission for his courage and leadership ability, as well as every award for valor that the U.S. military offers, according to a ceremony program. He also starred in 39 movies, wrote the lyrics to 16 country-western songs and was an accomplished poet. He was killed in a plane crash on May 28, 1971.
Staff Sgt. Clarence Jones, Staff Sgt. David McKalpin and Sgt. 1st Class Cory Walton each received an Army Commendation Medal and a Murphy medallion as part of the selection to the club.
Command Sgt. Maj. Greg Bunce, 302nd Brigade Support Battalion, organized the ceremony.
He said the soldiers who earn the Murphy medallions are “the best of the best” noncommissioned officers. Soldiers go through a series of boards, starting at the company level. When they reach the division level, they face a panel of six command sergeants major and a senior Audie Murphy inductee.
Bunce said the soldiers answer questions that focus on taking care of soldiers.
The vote must be unanimous, Bunce said, and some soldiers try to gain entry for several years. Bunce earned his seven years ago as a young sergeant first class.
Bunce said the biggest benefit is “pride — knowing that you’re the best.”
Walton said he was happy to earn the award and thinks that his efforts “to lead from the front” helped him.
Jones said the honor “wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t have soldiers to lead.”
McKalpin said he “makes things happen,” an attribute he thinks helped him on the boards. “I love taking care of soldiers,” he said.
General Paik Sun-yupThe South Korean troops who received awards Friday were given a special treat: Retired Gen. Paik Sun-yup was on hand to present the medals.
Paik commanded the Republic of Korea 1st Infantry Division during the Korean War and became South Korea’s first four-star general. He served twice as South Korea’s Army Chief of Staff and was chairman of that country’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. He retired in 1960 and served as ambassador to Taiwan, France and Canada. Paik now is chairman of the advisory committee, Military History Compilation Institute, at the Ministry of National Defense.
Friday’s award recipients were sergeants Lee Chung, Jung Jae, Choi Yong-geun, Jang Jea-chul and Kim Joon-hoon and corporals Jun Jung-min, Kim Sang-soo, Lee Tae-ha and Yang Si-bum.
Dr. Mary E. WalkerThose who earn the Dr. Mary E. Walker Award exemplify the characteristics of the only woman to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Walker became one of the first female physicians in America in 1855. She was an unpaid volunteer in various military camps and established an organization that aided needy women who came to Washington, D.C., to visit wounded relatives. She was appointed as an assistant surgeon and assigned to the 52nd Ohio Regiment. She was captured during the Civil War and held as a prisoner for four years.
Amanda Bunce, wife of Command Sgt. Maj. Greg Bunce, earned the Walker Award for her volunteer service.
Bunce said she volunteers with the Association of the U.S. Army, American Forces Spouse Club and Family Wellbeing Counsel in Area I. She’s also an Army Family Team Building master trainer.
“It was an honor to be recognized,” she said.
She said she loves volunteering for “anything I can do to support families in the Army.”
Lucinda Shirley and Kathleen McNulty also earned the awards but will receive them in separate ceremonies.
After the awards were presented by 8th Army commander Lt. Gen. Charles C. Campbell, Command Sgt. Maj. Barry Wheeler and Paik Sun-yup, Wheeler spoke to the gathered crowd.
“Today is about excellence and standards,” he said. Murphy, Paik and Walker set an example, provided leadership and “were present for duty when duty called.”