By Sgt. Neil W. McCabe/XVIII Abn. Corps and Fort Bragg PAOJuly 9, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Members of one of the Army's most prestigious societies, named in honor of the nation's most decorated Soldier, welcomed three noncommissioned officers inducted June 25 at Memorial Hall here.
The new members of the Fort Bragg chapter of the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club are: Sgt. 1st Class Renee Nolin, Headquarters, 108th Training Command; Staff Sgt. Carrie A. Brown, 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, 18th Fires Brigade; and Staff Sgt. Loren A. Gernhardt, Headquarter and Headquarters Company, Headquarters and Higher Headquarters Company, 20th Engineer Brigade.
The inductees represent the finest examples for other Soldiers because membership in the SAMC includes only the best of the best noncommissioned officers in today's Army, said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl L. Rice, XVIII Airborne Corps.
Rice, joined by retired XVIII Airborne Corps Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew McFowler, presented each NCO with an impact Army Commendation Medal, a U.S. Forces Command Certificate of Achievement and the large pewter medallion with the profile of Audie Murphy. Spouses received a certificate of appreciation signed by the Rice and Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick, the corps commanding general. The two men were the official hosts of the event.
McFowler was the featured speaker and for the presentations he stood in for Helmick, who was attending a memorial service for a fallen Soldier, which Rice left for immediately after the ceremony.
In recalling the themes of the club and Murphy's own life, McFowler said, "Inductees, you are the keepers of our standards. I challenge you to keep us trained, ready and accept nothing less than excellence-and be ever watchful over our Soldiers and their Families."
Each of the inductees was first recommended by an existing member of the club. They had to then pass three selection boards at the battalion, brigade and division or corps-level.
Nolin, a Reserve Soldier, said she was actually selected by the Fort Jackson, S.C., chapter while she was mobilized for a tour as a drill instructor.
A native of Columbus, Ga., Nolin said she told the board that she has always strived to follow the example set by Murphy, who as a staff sergeant, repeatedly turned down battlefield commissions, during World War II so that he could remain close to his men.
One example Nolin gave the board was when she was deployed to Iraq in 2003 before the Army had formalized its program for allowing Soldiers to take leave while assigned to the theater, and had set up a lottery system, she said.
Recognizing her role as an NCO, she gave up a trip home to her own Family so that another Soldier could try to save his marriage. "They still send me a Christmas card every year," she said.
Gernhardt, current XVIII Airborne Corps NCO of the Year, said that the Murphy boards were heavy on scenario based questions that challenged how well he knew his Soldiers.
"It is not a board you can study for. You either live it or you don't."