By Ms. Dawn M Arden (Leonard Wood)March 22, 2018
Sergeant Audie Murphy Club membership is awarded to noncommissioned officers who demonstrate superb leadership skills and whose performance merits special recognition, an achievement that is obtained by only a few.
According to Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Weatherholt, 14th Military Police Brigade, that is exactly why Fort Leonard Wood has brought back the induction ceremony.
"These ceremonies are important in order to highlight and recognize the leadership achievements, performance and sacrifices that our outstanding noncommissioned officers make every day," Weatherholt said. "The Sergeant Audie Murphy Award isn't awarded to many NCOs, but those who earn it have truly represented themselves, their organization and the Army in a manner that brings credit upon our corps."
During a ceremony held March 13, at Pershing Community Center, guest speaker, Command Sgt. Maj. Henney Hodgkins, U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School, explained what makes the ideal NCO and candidate for this prestigious club.
"There are many regulations that define what is required and expected of a noncommissioned officer, but knowing the path and walking the path are two different things," she said. "NCOs that are inducted into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club have a true desire to give back to the Army, their community, Soldiers and family members."
Hodgkins added it takes more than being able to recite the NCO Creed, "one must be prepared to live by it."
Three NCOs were inducted during this ceremony; Sgt. 1st Class Jeimie Deras, Company C, 169th Engineer Battalion, platoon sergeant; Staff Sgt. Michael Hooks, Engineer Basic Officer Leader Course, platoon trainer; and Staff Sgt. John Liddle, Company E, 787th Military Police Battalion, drill sergeant.
"The three NCOs we inducted today truly epitomize professionalism and selfless service, by not only setting the example each and every day for Soldiers, NCOs and officers, but by giving their personal time to contribute to organizations that better society and communities at large," Weatherholt said. "They have worked with Habit for Humanity building houses; volunteered their time at animal shelters, and with youth and veterans' programs, and other organizations that help wounded warriors and those with PTSD."
Weatherholt added, "We, as leaders, need to continue to show our Soldiers, peers, leaders and communities that we are here for all of them. That is what the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club and Award is about."
The original club was founded in 1986 at Fort Hood, Texas, and finally expanded Army-wide in 1994. By 1998 membership in the club surpassed 3,000 Soldiers and has since steadily grown.
According to TRADOC Regulation 600-14, all active-duty, Reserve and National Guard noncommissioned officers from the ranks of corporal through sergeant first class are eligible for the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club. Inductees are chosen by a three-phase process which includes: commander's nomination, an initial selection board conducted at the unit level and lastly a final selection board comprised of command sergeants major.