Audie Murphy Club expands
June 27, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 27, 2013) -- Three Soldiers joined prestigious company as they were inducted into Fort Rucker's Sergeant Audie Murphy Club during a ceremony at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum June 20.
Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Camire and Staff Sgt. Jeremy Dorries, both of C Company, 1st Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment, and Sgt. 1st Class Roger Larson, B Co., 1st Bn. 13th Avn. Regt., were inducted into the club and presented with the Audie Murphy medallion by Maj. Gen. Kevin W. Mangum, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, and Command Sgt. Maj. James H. Thomson Jr., command sergeant major of the Aviation Branch.
"Audie Murphy epitomizes the competence, the commitment and the character we look for in our Army professionals," said Thomson during the ceremony. "These NCOs that have competed to be inducted into (this club) aren't here after the litany of medals that Sergeant Audie Murphy was awarded … they were invited to compete based on their demonstrated competence, commitment and character."
The Soldiers had to endure a series of boards and evaluations to be inducted into the club, and this year's ceremony was special in that it fell on Audie Murphy's birthday, which was by pure coincidence, said Thomson.
"Believe it or not, when we put this ceremony together, we were unaware that today was actually Audie Murphy's birthday," he said. "This should make this a bit more of a memorable day for today's inductees."
Those inductees said the road to get to where they were today was long and hard, but they all agreed that it was well worth it.
"It was a long trip and it was very rewarding," said Camire. "I just hope to give back to the community, and I can't thank my unit and my command team that helped push us all along to get to this point enough."
Camire said one of his motivations to compete was due to an NCO that helped him as he was competing for Soldier of the Year in Washington, D.C., several years back. She handed her own Audie Murphy medallion to him and told him to return it once he received one of his own, an unspoken promise he can now proudly say that he fulfilled.
For others, it was about setting an example of leadership.
"I just want to set an example for my Soldiers," said Larson. "Audie Murphy, to me, means engaged leadership. If I'm not going to do it, then why should they?"
"I'm hoping that I'll be able to give my experiences to (my Soldiers) so that they'll learn something from me, the way I learn from them," he said. "That leadership is what we need to keep strong in the Army."
Murphy was a war hero, an actor, songwriter, poet and the most decorated Soldier in World War II, earning 33 awards and medals, including the Medal of Honor.
The Sergeant Audie Murphy Club originally started in 1986 at Fort Hood, Texas, and the Fort Rucker club has been active on the installation with leader development and taking care of Soldiers and Families.
"Fort Rucker's Audie Murphy Club is very active in supporting the surrounding communities," said Thomson. "Every year, they make sizable donations to the Fort Rucker food locker in both goods and upkeep, and recently they raised money for the Southeast Child Advocacy Program."
Club members also participate in numerous community and Family support activities like Toys for Tots, the Angel Tree Program and the Army Emergency Relief fund.
The club also has the added responsibility of running the USAACE-level ceremonies on the installation, according to Thomson, and provides the narrators, award bearers and personnel needed for the ceremonies.
"It's important that we understand that this isn't about getting the blue sash and medallion," said Thomson. "It's about joining an organization that epitomizes our profession and gives back to our communities."