Sustainers selected for Sgt. Audie Murphy Club
From left to right: Sgt. Nicole Carroll; Staff Sgt. Gabriel George; Staff Sgt. Janelle Jackson; Command Sgt. Maj. Willie C. Tennant, Sr.; Staff Sgt. Ronald White; Sgt. 1st Class Terence Bright; and Staff Sgt. Kenneth Weldon pose for a picture at Joint Base Balad, Iraq Thursday. All the noncommissioned officers featured, with the exception of Tennant, were inducted into the Sergeant Audie Murphy

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - Six Sustainer noncommissioned officers joined the exclusive Sergeant Audie Murphy Club here Thursday.

According to its Fort Knox website, the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club recognizes those NCOs "who have contributed significantly to the development of a professional NCO Corps and a combat ready Army. Members exemplify leadership characterized by personal concern for the needs, training, development and welfare of Soldiers and concern for Families of Soldiers."

"To me, the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club represents an organization of NCOs who have clearly distinguished themselves from their peers," said Master Sgt. Elbert A. Jackson, 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) command chaplain noncommissioned officer in charge, in a previous interview. Jackson is the only NCO in the 3d ESC who was inducted into the SAMC.

Jackson, of Savannah, Ga., said he remembered the honor he felt when was inducted into the organization alongside drill sergeants, some of the best leaders in the Army.

In order to qualify for induction into SAMC, NCOs must be nominated by their chain of command. Furthermore, NCOs must have a GT score of at least 110, a physical fitness badge, at least two Soldiers under their command, and certain weapons qualification scores.

All of these criteria must be satisfied before a candidate may go before a review board, which will make the final determination of admission based on practical skills tests and scenario-based questions.

Jackson said the process is rigorous and highly competitive, but worthwhile to the professional development of any NCO.

Those NCOs inducted into the SAMC were Sgt. 1st Class Terence Bright, 16th Sustainment Brigade; Staff Sgt. Ronald White, 16th Sust. Bde.; Staff Sgt. Kenneth Weldon, Jr., 16th Sust. Bde.; Staff Sgt. Gabriel George, 16th Sust. Bde.; Staff Sgt. Janelle Jackson, 10th Sust. Bde.; and Sgt. Nicole Carroll, 10th Sust. Bde.

Staff Sgt. Gabriel George, 16th Sust. Bde., said he started preparing three months ago, studying and conducting practice boards, euphemistically called murder boards.

"It's been an outstanding experience and a long journey," he said. "I'm honored to now be a part of it."

The club, named after Audie Murphy, started in 1986 at Fort Hood, Texas, and expanded until it became an Army-wide organization in 1994.

A veteran of World War II, Murphy was one of the most highly decorated Soldiers in American military history. In addition to receiving the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for valor, Murphy was awarded 32 other medals or citations, including the Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, and three Purple Hearts.

Murphy went on to become an author, country music songwriter, and popular movie star featured in over 44 films. His most commercially successful film, "To Hell and Back," was based on an autobiographical book of the same name.

Born and raised in Texas, Murphy joined the Texas Army National Guard and served there until 1966, when he retired at the rank of major. Five years later, he died in a plane crash at the age of 46. Today, his gravesite is the second-most visited grave in Arlington National Cemetery, after President John F. Kennedy.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16