Army NCO Group Awards Scholarship to Widow of Soldier

COLUMBUS, Ga. -- A Fort Benning organization for top non-commissioned officers has awarded a scholarship to a Columbus State University education student whose soldier husband was killed while preparing to deploy to Iraq.

photoShannon Tapscott of Smiths Station, Ala., a senior early childhood education major, was awarded the Audie Murphy Scholarship by leaders of the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club affiliate at Fort Benning.

Her husband, 2nd Lt. James Tapscott, died in July 2005 while undergoing surgery after he was critically injured during airborne training in preparation for his unit’s deployment.

She and their two children maintain close ties with her late husband’s unit, the 362nd Engineering Company, which has returned from Iraq.

“My husband wouldn’t have had it any other way,” Tapscott said.

David Rock, dean of CSU’s College of Education, recommended Tapscott for the scholarship.

“Shannon believes she has something to offer children because of her life experiences,” Rock wrote in a recommendation letter. “After graduation, she will pursue a career at one of the local elementary schools and hopes to ensure that young children much like the ages of her own children receive grief counseling and recognition of their fallen family members.”

The club named for Sgt. Audie Murphy, the most decorated American soldier of World War II, was started at Fort Hood, Texas, in 1986 and continues today throughout the Army.

Induction into the SAMC honors non-commissioned officers whose leadership achievements and performance merit special recognition and who have contributed significantly to the development of a professional NCO corps and a combat-ready Army.