OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KSWO) – The Oklahoma Army National Guard made history this month with the promotion of the first African-American to achieve the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CW5), the highest Warrant Officer rank.
Florida native, CW5 Melvin Murphy, is now a resident of Moore. His military journey began when he enlisted Active Duty Army in 1986. Shortly after basic and supply training, Murphy was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, before serving as a supply clerk in South Korea for one year. When he returned from Korea, he was stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he would later join the OKARNG. Murphy stayed enlisted for ten years until commissioning as a Warrant Officer in 1996. He served as the PBO in the OKARNG's 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, where he deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
"That's a position I do not take lightly," Murphy said. "I want to be that inspiration to the subordinates and actually be that individual that they can look at me and say, 'If CW5 Murphy can do it, I can do it as well.'"
Murphy spoke with pride and admiration, at times with a shaky voice in attempt to hold back his tears as he personally thanked individuals responsible for helping him get to the position he is in now.
"I'm a Christian man, so it always goes God first," Murphy said. "Mainly, my support comes from my family. I think quite a bit of folks have something to do with me getting here."
Only one out of 100 Warrant Officer Candidate graduates attain the rank of CW5. Warrant Officers are considered master-level technical experts, combat leaders, trainers and advisors.
"Chief Murphy is one of the most professional Soldiers I have met," Lt. Col. Steven Stanford said, supervisory logistics management specialist, JFHQ logistics section. "His willingness to assist, train and mentor Soldiers has greatly increased the readiness throughout all levels of the organization."