By Amy SunseriMarch 16, 2011
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. -- Three noncommissioned officers stationed on Fort Huachuca were recently inducted into the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club. The SAMC is an elite organization comprising of NCOs who have demonstrated performance and inherent leadership qualities and abilities characterized by those of Sgt. Audie Murphy.
Sgt. Audie Murphy was an NCO who, as a squad leader, consistently demonstrated the highest quality of leadership, professionalism and regard for the welfare of his Soldiers. A ceremony was held March 9 in Fitch Auditorium, Alvarado Hall, inducting Staff Sgt. Randy Gray, Company B, 304th Military Intelligence Battalion, Staff Sgt. Dale Kelso, 18th Military Police Detachment and Sgt. Enrique Jimenez, 18th MP Det. into the SAMC.
"The TRADOC SAMC is a privilege earned by a few exceptional noncommissioned officers," explained Sgt. First Class Adam Champion, 111th MI Brigade SAMC representative.
"I always have had the upmost respect to those fellow noncommissioned officers who were part of the elite Sergeant Audie Murphy Club. ... It is truly an honor to say that I am being inducted into this prestigious organization," said Gray.
All active Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard NCOs [corporal through sergeant first class] assigned or attached to TRADOC units are eligible for the SAMC. Yet, it takes hard work, leadership, personal concern for the needs, training, development and welfare of Soldiers and their families to be considered for membership.
"I am immensely proud of their [Kelso and Jimenez\'s] accomplishment," stated Capt. Shawn Fitzgerald, 18th MP Det. commander. "I am happy that they both went out of their comfort zone and challenged themselves. It speaks to the character, determination, and will to succeed that these two professionals exhibit on a daily basis. They have distinguished themselves from their peers and set an example for other NCOs and Soldiers to follow."
The SAMC selection process works in three phases. First, an NCO has to be nominated by their unit commander. The commander screens and evaluates possible candidates prior to the initial selection board. During phase two, an initial selection board is conducted at unit level under direction of the senior unit NCO. Selected candidates then move onto phase three, the final selection board. The SAMC final selection board will determine, through a question-and-answer system, if the candidate has reached a level of knowledge in a range of subjects to warrant induction into the SAMC.
The process was long and arduous, according to Gray. He said it took hours of studying regulations and field manuals and having to rely on his own experiences with the Army.
"It just took a little dedication and discipline to get through the process; but in the end, now that it's over, I can say its well worth it and I'm glad I did it," Gray stated.
The SAMC started at Fort Hood, Texas, in 1986. In 1994 at a sergeant major of the Army conference, the SAMC spread Army-wide to all commands, with installations retaining the selection process for their own NCOs. According to Champion, there are over 30 SAMC members, including honorary members, on Fort Huachuca.
"I'm honored to be selected by such wonderful non-commissioned officers into such a distinguished club. To be selected was not a challenge to be taken lightly. It really gives me a sense of accomplishment to be selected," said Jimenez.
"I now look forward in being an active member in the club because the local chapter gives so much back to the community," Gray added.