By Tom Zimmerman, U.S. Army War College Public Affairs OfficeDecember 14, 2007
Sgt. Audie Murphy is widely known as the most decorated Soldier in American history, so it was fitting that the only active-duty Medal of Honor recipient was the keynote speaker for an induction ceremony of the club named in his honor.
Col. Gordon Roberts, a USAWC student, helped induct Sgt. Jerry McKissen into the Sgt. Audie Muprhy Club on Nov. 29 in the Bliss Hall foyer. At the event, leadership was clearly the tone of the afternoon.
""NCOs are doing the most remarkable things these days, the right things, every day and every night and I am so impressed and humbled at their ability to achieve," said Maj. Gen. David Huntoon, USAWC commandant at the ceremony.
No one was better suited to talk about the importance of leadership than Roberts. As a specialist fourth class assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division and less than a month after his 19th birthday, Roberts silenced four enemy bunkers on a ridge in central Vietnam and helped save and evacuate wounded Soldiers from an exposed hill, all under intense fire. Roberts received his medal from President Richard Nixon at the White House. There are 111 living Medal of Honor recipients. At age 57, he's both the youngest and the only one on active duty.
Roberts also had a connection to Murphy, who died in a plane crash in 1971.
"I had the privilege of meeting Audie Murphy and learned of his death two months after receiving my Medal of Honor. Audie Murphy became a role model to me and everyone around me," he said.
Roberts reminded McKissen that this ceremony wasn't the culmination of his accomplishments as an NCO either.
""Receiving the Audie Murphy award is a starting line, not the finish line," he aaid. "It's not simply getting yourself better, but it is getting everyone around you better. As NCOs we have to train, your nation counts on that."
McKissen thanked the people who came to the ceremony to support him and help him through his career.
"I wouldn't be here today without all of the friendship and support of those other NCOs and Soldiers I served with," he said. "Thank you." McKissen is the NCOIC of the Carlisle Barracks Dental Clinic.
Roberts also had a message for the other officers, NCOs and Soldiers in attendance.
"Everyone who bears this uniform bears the same responsibility. This war is not the end of the testing process. You are no better than the Soldier that stands on your left and stands on your right."
Sgt Audie Murphy Club background
The original club was started at Fort Hood, Texas early in 1986. In 1994 at a Sergeant Major of the Army conference, the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club spread Army-wide, to all commands with installations retaining the selection process for their own NCOs.
When a Soldier is inducted into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, he/she is given a medallion which is approximately 2 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.