Commentary: SAMCAca,!E+induction not a 'ticket punch' event
March 27, 2009
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (March 26, 2009) - The noncommissioned officer and Sergeant Audie Murphy Club induction ceremonies we witnessed here March 17 were another vibrant example of time-honored traditions that have reinforced the excellence of the U.S. Army. This ceremony was even more special with the guest appearance of Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston.
The induction ceremony, while a symbolic gesture alone, is more than just a ceremony. This rite of passage is important for many reasons: it serves notice to both the inductees and their audience the importance of their role, the contributions of those that have preceded them, the responsibilities they are now embarking upon, and their responsibility for maintaining and passing down these same time honored traditions.
Hours, days, weeks and many times months are what SAMC candidates and future NCOs spend preparing for the study boards. It is something that many other Soldiers and officers sometimes either may not appreciate or understand. I remember the preparation I underwent while preparing for my series of SAMC boards while stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.
There are some things though, that books simply cannot teach. This is when previous examples, experience and applications of readings come into play.
For those who perform this on a regular basis, it could lead to the start of the nomination process by senior leaders into the SAMC. A common phrase is "the nomination to appear at the SAMC board is an honor in itself." I, like many other SAMC members, while we appreciated this, did not want to settle for just the nomination. We applied ourselves and spent numerous hours preparing and studying until we heard the words, "Sergeant, you have been selected for induction into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club." To me, those words alone were the rewards for the time invested into the preparation for this elect club.
Many have achieved this and many more hopefully will. However, the SAMC is not an all-inclusive club. A SAMC member is a leader who is willing to stand in the shadow of their Soldiers. A SAMC member is a leader who takes pride in the improvement that their Soldiers demonstrate. A SAMC member is a leader who leads by example. In short, a SAMC member is a leader who strives to do the right thing at all times. Is there any difference between any NCO and a SAMC member' There should not be, but in being one it hopefully motivates a leader to become better at the other.
Now that I have sat on the other side of many inductions, I ask myself what is my role' First, we should all recognize that these leaders have volunteered to improve themselves. They are now recognizing their role in making our NCO Corps better. It is our NCO Corps because we as officers work alongside, and hopefully empower our NCOs to continue to foster improvement and professionalism in our Army. As officers, we share a role in the grooming of our NCOs. We shape our Soldiers by our actions and vice versa. We as leaders need to understand the symbiotic role we play in shaping each other.
Second, we need to spread the word that those recommended, those striving membership into, and those who have earned induction understand that the motivation to attain membership into the SAMC is not or should not have the mentality that it is a "ticket punch" event. SAMC should be an internal drive to simply be the best. The rewards are what you help produce in your Soldiers' actions.
Finally, we need to recognize that the SAMC and NCO induction ceremonies are other forms of pomp and circumstance that will foster Soldiers to want to excel. We as leaders should do our best to support these events and empower our NCO leadership to make them memorable events for the participants and the audience.