FORT DRUM, N.Y. - Five noncommissioned officers of 10th Sustainment Brigade took their first step to becoming future members of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club by attending a board Feb. 25 at 10th Sustainment Brigade Special Troop Battalion Headquarters.

Participants had spent the last week studying extensively and preparing to attend the board.
Sgt. Steward McKnight, a human resources specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 10th SBTB, said he attended the study group to help participants prepare for the board and spent two to three hours a night studying.

Command Sgt. Maj. Otis Hooper, senior-enlisted adviser for 10th Sustainment Brigade Special Troops Battalion, who was inducted into the SAMC in 1995, knows the preparation a noncommissioned officer must make to be part of this prestigious club.

"If you truly demonstrate that you know how to take care of Soldiers, you will be inducted into the SAMC," he said.

"It's an honor to be a part of the SAMC, and I want to be an outstanding Soldier and leader," McKnight said. "The board today is to find out who you are as a leader and what makes you a good leader."

Sgt. Heather Holland, a health care specialist from HHC, 10th SBTB, was recommended by Hooper to attend the board.

"There's a lot of stuff the SAMC does that I want to be a part of, like volunteer work and activities they participate in," she said.

Holland said she prepared for the board by writing down the information over and over to help her memorize it.

"The best part of being an NCO is working and influencing your Soldiers and passing on my knowledge to them to hopefully watch them progress into future NCOs," she said.

Sgt. Douglas Adkins, a power generation equipment repairer with HHC, 10th SBTB, had his own reasons for participating.

"I tried out for the SAMC board because I think it's a good way to stand out among your peers," he said. "It shows that you're disciplined and that you have the means and the will to progress yourself as a person and Soldier."

Adkins said he joined the Army because it's a family tradition and it's a great honor and privilege to serve his country. "It's an awesome feeling knowing I'm in the one percent of the people who serves in the military.

"Being a leader means to take full control of any situation that might arise. Pointing Soldiers in the right direction and maintaining a good relationship with your Soldiers (is key)," Adkins said.

The NCOs were asked questions on basic Army knowledge and scenarios. They also had to perform first-aid tasks, inspect Soldiers in their Class A uniform to find deficiencies, assemble an M-16 and M-9, and state Audie Murphy's biography verbatim.

Board members will decide whether candidates are ready to take the next step, which is a brigade board and then a final board at 10th Mountain Division.

Formed at Fort Hood, Texas, in early 1986, the SAMC recognizes outstanding leadership, accomplishments and the embodiment of the NCO philosophy of loyalty, caring, discipline and professionalism.

"Today's board shows that the Army has great noncommissioned officers, and they demonstrated that they have what it takes to be part of the Audie Murphy Club," Hooper said.

"Their performance exceeded everything I thought they would do today, and I'm very proud of them," he added.