NCOs strive for excellence at home, abroad
November 8, 2011
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, Nov. 8, 201 -- "I have to admit I love the damned Army. It was father, mother and brother to me for years. It made me somebody, gave me self-respect," a quote by Audie L. Murphy, World War II's most decorated Soldier.
Murphy's life and his words still inspire Soldiers to achieve great things even today.
Sgt. 1st Class Ebony Alexander, non-commissioned officer in charge of medical operations for 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, and Sgt. 1st Class Scott Bojanowski, equal opportunity adviser for 2nd BCT, 4th Infantry Division, are both members of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club.
The club is a private U.S. Army organization for non-commissioned officers who achieve great leadership and performance.
"This is the top of the top, the best of the best," Alexander said.
Alexander and Bojanowski are currently deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 11-12. Even though they work long hours helping the Soldiers of the brigade stay safe, they have not lost sight of what is truly important.
"You always have to lead by example," Bojanowski said.
Alexander and Bojanowski decided when they were still in garrison at Fort Carson, Colo. that they wanted to provide other non-commissioned officers the opportunity to excel while deployed and become members of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club.
"This is important to me because I think as you move up as an NCO instead of resting on your laurels, you need to keep taking more responsibility," Bojanowski said. "Doing things like this is how you lead by example and develop the younger leadership."
The two non-commissioned officers organized a study group at Camp Nathan Smith for the Soldiers who were interested in becoming members of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club.
"We held the study groups every other Friday during the day for Soldiers who worked at night and one at night time for those who worked during the day," Alexander said. "We helped them put together their leader's books, go over scenario based questions and study subjects that all leaders need to know."
Each Soldier who showed interest in becoming a member of the club was required to get a recommendation from their battalion command sergeant major. They had to achieve a minimum of 90 points in each category of the Army physical fitness test and not be on profile. They were also required to pass three different boards: battalion, brigade and division level along with completing skill level II lanes.
Alexander and Bojanowski helped initiate all of these processes for the Soldiers with exception to the division level board. They even ran the skill level II lanes.
"The testing is pretty competitive," said Staff Sgt. Nestor Serrano, an infantryman with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT, 4th Infantry Division, who participated in the testing in hopes of becoming a member. "It does test your military knowledge. It's not just remembering but your actions on the actual task."
Along with running the lanes, Alexander sat on the brigade level board as a judge and Bojanowski sat in as the recorder.
"Soldiers strive to excel above their peers and this is one way to do it by taking the time, even in a combat situation with a lot of stuff going on, to achieve something they really want to do," Alexander said. "They take the time to study and prove to their soldiers that you can still excel while in theater and continue to set the example by striving for something positive like SAMC."
New members are inducted into SAMC quarterly and thanks to the dedication of Alexander and Bojanowski, Soldiers from 2nd BCT, 4th Infantry Division, were given a chance to prove themselves.
"The SAMC is a prestigious club and only the best compete," said Command Sgt. Maj. Ralph Delosa, command sergeant major for 2nd BCT, 4th Infantry Division. "The work by [Bojanowski and Alexander] shows their dedication to excellence. Taking their personal time to develop other NCOs is what makes our Army strong."