JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Five soldiers from the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence were inducted into the Sergeant Major of the Army Leon L. Autreve Chapter of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, or SMAVA SAMC, at a ceremony at the Fort Sam Houston Post Theater October 30, 2019. Command Sgt. Maj. Alberto Delgado, U.S. Army North Command Sergeant Major, was the guest speaker.

Inducted into this prestigious military club were Staff Sgt. Alexander Bach, Staff Sgt. Kacie Kennedy, Staff Sgt. Charles Mays Jr., Staff Sgt. Brandy Ritch, and Staff Sgt. Jazmi Swingler.

Swingler, a drill instructor assigned to the Medical Professional Training Brigade, received a special surprise as her father retired Sergeant Maj. Arthur Swingler, himself a member of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, presented her with the ribbon he received when inducted in into the SAMC 1999.

"In seeking membership into the prestigious Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, NCOs like the ones we will induct today, vowed to go the extra mile in ensuring their Soldiers have the knowledge, experience," said Delgado in this remarks. "Throughout my career, I've met a host of exceptional NCOs, from every walk of life, from every military specialty, who have sought to become the very best leaders they can be. These NCOs have exemplified leadership characterized by personal concern for the needs, training, development, and welfare of Soldiers and concern for Families."

Induction into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club is an arduous process, consisting of a recommendation by the Soldier's non-commissioned officer chain-of-command to participate in the rigorous board examination process. Only the absolute best Soldiers are recommended and inducted. The club recognizes noncommissioned officers who set the highest standards of leadership, excellence and exemplify the characteristics of Sgt. Audie Murphy, an American hero.

When a soldier is inducted into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, he or she is given the medallion above which is approximately two inches in diameter. The medallion is suspended by a broad powder-blue ribbon representing the traditional color of the infantry. The medallion is worn around the neck on the outside of the Class A, or dress blue uniform, for official functions such as military balls or Sergeant Audie Murphy Club meetings.

Fort Sam Houston's Sergeant Audie Murphy Club was established in 2000, when the installation command sergeant major Command Sgt. Adolph M. Arista Jr., directed the formation of a local chapter. In 2002, Fort Sam Houston's Sergeant Audie Murphy Club was redesignated the SMA Van Autreve Chapter. Today the club is a thriving chapter with monthly functions to aid in the support of Fort Sam Houston's soldiers and community's interests. The SMA Van Autreve Chapter, which has the distinction of being the first chartered club in the MEDCOM, is committed to community and installation involvement.