Achieving Sergeant Audie Murphy Club Induction
by U.S. Army Terrance Bell, Fort Lee Public Affairs
August 1, 2020
Successful senior Soldiers say it’s never too late to make a
statement, reawaken one’s will through self-challenge or demonstrate
a continuous pursuit of excellence.
All were achieved by
Master Sgt. Sidney F. Babineaux Jr., who at 20 years of service and
39 years old ... endured a near yearlong battle with the books to
become the latest member of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club via its
Fort Lee chapter. He was inducted during a June 17, 2020 ceremony at
Fort Lee, Virgina.
U.S. Army Master Sgt. Sidney Babineaux at an undisclosed location on July 1, 2020 was inducted into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club recently. He is assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, CASCOM at Fort Lee, Virginia. (U.S. Army photo by Terrance Bell, Fort Lee Public Affairs)
“It is a high honor,” said the Headquarters and Headquarters
Company, CASCOM, Soldier. “The Sergeant Audie Murphy Club is an
elite group of noncommissioned officers. … It is humbling to be an
SAMC, established 24 years ago, is a service-based
leadership organization created to “develop, inspire and motivate
the best leaders” in the Army, according to its website. Only 2
percent of NCOs can claim membership, which is accomplished through
a series of board appearances before senior enlisted members.
Inductees are distinguished by the club’s large metallic
medallions suspended by broad powder-blue ribbons draped around
their necks. They are only worn during official events.
Babineaux, who is the operations NCO in the Office of the
Quartermaster General, has had brushes with membership going back a
few years. The first was a failed attempt as a drill sergeant at
Fort Benning, Ga. He desired to try again at Fort Hood, Texas, but
his promotable status as a sergeant first class made him ineligible.
A rule change allowed master sergeants to become members a few
years ago. By then, Babineaux was on his second stint as a first
sergeant, this time within the QM School’s 262nd QM Battalion. He
still wanted a second shot – not so much for personal gain, but
because he felt like the medallion would add clout to discussions
with Soldiers about self-improvement.
“The thing for me is if
I’m going to promote something or encourage my Soldiers to go there,
and I’m able to be a part of it, why wouldn’t I do it if the
opportunity was there? It’s about empathy. It’s hard for me to know
what that person will go through or has been through if I haven’t
been there myself.”
Babineaux began his SAMC membership
mission in February 2019. He had convinced a few 262nd QM Bn., drill
sergeants and others to join him. The road to earning a medallion,
however, is not a stretch of smooth concrete but more like a bumpy,
winding mountain passage fraught with difficulty. By the time he
went before the battalion board in July, his mission mates had
peeled off, leaving him to pursue membership alone. Undeterred, the
water treatment specialist passed the brigade board in November.
Babineaux then met his greatest challenge at CASCOM where he failed
to receive a positive nod.
“It was a hard pill to swallow,”
said the Houston native. “From my perspective, I hit all the key
points I was told I needed to hit. ... It hurt me a little bit, and
I had to pull back inside and figure out if I wanted to continue.”
At the time, Babineaux had 19 years of service, a wife and two
toddlers at home, and plenty enough on his duty assignment dinner
plate. Nonetheless, he decided he had come too far to turn back and
trudged on; this time with a sponsor, which he did not have before.
MSG DeVon A. McGibbon, an Ordnance School senior instructor, was
impressed with his enthusiasm and decided to help him move the
“I started studying with him and realized he was
truly passionate about making others around him better,” McGibbon
said. “He had issues with expressing that passion in a manner others
When March rolled around, Babineaux was
armed with new tools of expression and ready for redemption. On the
day of the board, he was questioned for two hours by SAMC members
including Command Sgt. Maj. Michael J. Perry III, CASCOM CSM.
Babineaux emerged victorious and surprisingly unfazed.
didn’t feel anything initially, but as I thought about it over time,
I started to feel like I was able to get another goal accomplished.”
McGibbon, who attended the induction ceremony, was equally
succinct about the Babineaux’s achievement.
“I think it is
well-deserved. He did what he needed to do to earn it,” McGibbon
said. “The club is better having a member like him in the ranks.”
Babineaux’s SAMC induction is eons away from his days as a young
Soldier, a time when he lacked commitment to the institution. At one
point, he was disciplined for substance abuse, an incident that
could have ended his career. His NCO supervisors, however, believed
it was an isolated event and pushed him to correct and align. He
did, even in the face of heavy peer pressure back home and in the
barracks. In retrospect, Babineaux said he would not change anything
about those early days.
“I see it as a road I had to travel,”
said the Soldier who rededicated himself to faith after his early
brush with the law. “I’m glad I went through it because if I hadn’t,
I couldn’t empathize with someone who has. So, whenever a Soldier is
going through something – whether it is an Article 15 or whatever –
I can empathize with them because I’ve been there.”
As a SAMC
member, Babineaux can feel comfortable encouraging Soldiers to
excel. He has the battle scars and medal that speak authoritatively.
“Being a part of this club, I now have the ability to push for
future candidates,” Babineaux confirmed. “In the past, I would say
to Soldiers, ‘You need to be Audie Murphy,’ and the question they
usually responded with is, ‘Are you Audie Murphy?’ The answer would
be, ‘No,’ and then I would have to explain why. Then they’d ask,
‘Well, why should I go? You didn’t.’
“Now, it’s a different
process because when people ask if I’m Audie Murphy, I can tell
them, ‘Yes.’ Now, I’m able to push for the program even more.”
With the Audie Murphy medallion firmly hanging from his neck,
Babineaux said he is looking for the next challenge to test his
moxie and to make those around him better.
“I want to be the
example; that I’ll go to the fence line. … I want to continue to the
very last day pushing as hard as I can.”
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