Sergeant Morales Club welcomes 'the best of the best'
January 22, 2014
WIESBADEN, Germany - They're the best of the best.
That's what a roomful of Soldiers and civilians gathered to acknowledge Jan. 21 at the Community Activity Center on Wiesbaden's Clay Kaserne. They were there to congratulate the four newest members of the prestigious Sergeant Morales Club.
"This is the elite," said Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald L. Tyce, 5th Signal Command's senior noncommissioned officer. "This is the best of the best."
Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy A. Gary, 72nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion; Sgt. 1st Class Edwin Lauderback, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden; Staff Sgt. John R. Whalen, 7th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade; and Staff Sgt. David M. Foster, 52nd Signal Battalion, joined a rare body of NCOs
recognized for epitomizing the three Ps -- poise, pride and perseverance, according to Tyce.
"They exemplify that and showed their capabilities including pride in the organization … they never quit," he said, adding, "I think you all have done a great job. … These are our future leaders."
"When a soldier demonstrates competence and excellence in his or her job, he or she is nominated by the first sergeant or leader," said fellow Sergeant Morales Club member Master Sgt. Jerrold Brown, 5th Signal Command. "About three percent of Soldiers are selected to join the Sergeant Morales club Army-wide."
While the club is unique to Europe, stateside NCOs are honored in the club's counterpart, the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, Brown said. "Essentially the honor means being able to take care of Soldiers and their families under any circumstances."
Explaining that most nominees who go before the rigorous Sergeant Morales Club board fail to pass on the first try, Brown said that makes membership all the more coveted.
"Never give up," Brown advised those interested in achieving the recognition. "It's rare to make it on the first try -- so definitely don't quit -- it's worth attaining."
"Going into this competition is nerve-wracking," said Lauderback, who passed the board on his fourth try. "It's like going into the lion's den with all of these sergeants major. You never know what they're going to ask you.
"The biggest thing is, it's like a pedigree," he added about the accomplishment. "You're one of the best of the best. … It's a great platform to do a lot of good -- get out in the community and help people.
"You really test your knowledge as an NCO," Lauderback said. "It was a great opportunity to give myself an honest assessment of where I stood as an NCO. When I finally succeeded … it felt like such an achievement."
Foster, too, said he appreciated the chance to "give back" after joining the elite group of people.
"My only advice for other NCOs is just to be ready and to accept the challenge," he added.