Noncommissioned officers reflect pride of service every day, whether standing in front of a formation of new recruits or returning with their squad after a successful mission in the snow-capped mountains of Afghanistan. The pride NCOs have in their duty, their unit and their fellow Soldier is an absolute truth; we see it every day.

One organization that exemplifies that pride of service is the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club. Started at Fort Hood, Texas, in early 1986, the SAMC is an elite organization that recognizes NCOs who have excelled in integrity, professionalism, commitment, leadership abilities and personal ethics. It is an exclusive club created to honor NCOs who have acted in a manner exhibited by World War II's most decorated American Soldier, Audie Murphy.

Attempting to enlist after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Murphy was turned down by the Marines and the Navy for being slight of build before being accepted into the U.S. Army.

Determined to see combat, Murphy refused a transfer to cook and bakers' school and deployed to the European Theater in early 1943. During Murphy's two years in combat he earned the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts. His service set the standard for NCO accomplishment for generations to come.

With all of Murphy's decorations, the creation of the SAMC is arguably the greatest honor he ever received. It is recognition by fellow Soldiers and a sincere admiration by them for the accomplishments, determination and pride Murphy displayed for his country and service.

The mission, goals and vision vary from chapter-to-chapter, but are simply dedicated to improving tomorrow's Army and its Soldiers, in addition to improving and promoting greater recognition of the NCO Corps.

Eight years after the first SAMC was established, it has spread Army-wide. The club now has chapters located at many posts in addition to Fort Hood.

Commanders nominate their finest NCO leaders for selection as SAMC members. Candidates are screened by the unit to determine their leadership ability; training excellence (technical and tactical); care for Soldiers and Families; commitment to Army Values; demonstration of Warrior Ethos and adherence to the Soldier's Creed and NCO Creed.

Fort Benning inducted six NCOs last month at a ceremony in which Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, vice chief of staff for the Army, said "NCOs are what make our Army different from every other army in the world. They are the heart and soul of the United States Army. And, when you get to see the ones I've seen here today training young recruits and making them Soldiers, it's a wonderful thing. It is truly an honor to be able to present these great NCOs with something they have justly deserved."

When the SAMC medallion is placed around an NCO's neck, he or she stands proud. It is recognition that NCOs past, present and future are the "backbone" of the Army.