In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, while other people were catching up on their favorite television shows, Master Sgt. Dawna Brown challenged herself to write a book about the SGT Audie Murphy Club and Board.
“I work with a lot of Army Reserve and National Guard. A lot of our Soldiers don’t know a lot about Audie Murphy because the boards are only held at active duty installations,” Brown, senior Reserve component career counselor with Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, III Corps, explained. “I chose to write the book to help all individuals of all Army components learn about the club and help them with their ability to complete and develop a streamlined knowledge across the Army.”
Brown teamed up with retired Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Gerecht, who wanted to write a guide for the SGT Morales Board. Together they wrote “Mastering SGT Audie Murphy & SGT Morales Boards,” which serves as a study guide to both boards.
“It’s a tool. If you’re studying and you don’t know a way to prepare yourself, that’s the book you want,” Brown explained. “Anything that a Soldier needs to know – how to walk in, how to conduct themselves, even some sample questions.”
Comprised of the Army’s top enlisted Soldiers, the SGT Audie Murphy and SGT Morales boards examine the character and knowledge of Soldiers to ensure the selected individuals are confident and competent in their abilities, and one who anyone can trust to handle situations and take care of Soldiers. If selected by the board, the Soldiers become part of the perspective clubs.
“The club also has numerous volunteers who assist in the involvement of communities, families, and service members through active volunteer events,” Brown said about the SGT Audie Murphy Club, explaining that the members give back to the communities.
A native Texan, Audie Murphy was born in Kingston. Inspired by the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Murphy famously falsified documents to meet the minimum age to enlist. Within three short years, he became one of the most decorated Soldiers of all time, but went on to serve a combined 22 years – three active duty, 16 years in the Texas National Guard and three years in the Army Reserve.
The club was originally started at Fort Hood in 1986 by Lt. Gen. Crosbie Saint, former III Corps and Fort Hood commander; Command Sgt. Maj. George Horvath, former III Corps and Fort Hood command sergeant major; Jean Crisp, former III Corps awards clerk; and Don Moore, an artist from Killeen who helped create the logo. The club was expanded III Corps-wide in 1991, and then included all of the U.S. Army Forces Command in 1993. During a Sergeant Major of the Army Conference in 1994, the SGT Audie Murphy Club spread Army-wide.
Brown, who was stationed in the Republic of Korea when COVID struck, said she was not sure she would be able to write the book, but decided to just go for it. By the time she moved to Fort Hood, she began the editing process and then Gerecht published the 179-page book.
“I knew I had the knowledge. I knew I had the experience. I’ve ran many Audie Murphy Clubs and have been a member since 2008,” she said. “I just wanted to challenge myself and do it.”
As a National Guardsman on an Army base, Brown said she has learned from experience that a lot of Soldiers in the National Guard and Reserve do not know about the boards and that they can also participate. She has been a member of the SGT Audie Murphy Club since 2008 and has served as president of the three chapters – Fort Carson Mountain Post Chapter, Military District of Washington Chapter and Fort Knox Chapter. She has also served as secretary of the Fort Lee Chapter. She said what she enjoys about the SGT Audie Murphy Club is the same thing she enjoys about being part of the Army - family.
“I don’t come from a big family and I’m the youngest. I found a family and I like it,” she added. “I like being part of a team.”