By Sgt. Dustin Robert, 301st Public Affairs DetachmentJune 5, 2012
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- A military club that only admits accomplished non-commissioned officers serving in U.S. Army Europe inducted eight new members, June 1, at the theater at Rose Barracks, Germany.
The Sgt. Morales Club, which promotes leadership and honor among NCOs, strengthened their numbers to lead the way in Army enlisted leadership and to better serve the European community, said Sgt. 1st Class Jesus Serrano, who serves as president of the club in addition to his regular duties as a senior small group leader with the 7th Army's Joint Multinational Training Command NCO Academy in Grafenwoehr.
"The Sgt. Morales Club is an organization like any other club, but the only difference is we are a club of stellar NCOs who take pride in volunteering, whether it be at a local commissary or at the USO, mentoring the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, [also known as the BOSS program], or partnering up with the local high schools and teaching and mentoring young students and young Soldiers," Serrano said. "We're glad to have more inductees to be part of the club."
With eight new members, there are now12 members of the Grafenwoehr branch of the club, which was created in 1973 by Lt. Gen George S. Blanchard to "promote the highest ideals of integrity, professionalism and leadership for the enlisted force serving in Europe," according to the Sgt. Morales club history.
The club promotes the standards of honest living and sacrifice by partnering with local organizations and serving the community. Their most recent community event consisted of donating more 200 gifts to a Grafenwöhr orphanage during the holiday season, in concert with the local Veterans of Foreign Wars affiliation.
"The club is about working hard and helping people. It's about commitment, caring for not only the Army's Soldiers, but for community and family," said Staff Sgt. Teresa Kee, who is a new inductee of the club, and a Warrior Leader Course instructor with the JMTC NCO Academy. "You can't look at it [the Sgt. Morales Club] as what's in it for you. It's more as what you can do for other people."
The club, which was named after a fictitious character who endeavors to not only serve others, but also mold his Soldiers into proficient warriors and performs his duties to the highest degree of standards, personifies how a NCO should operate daily, said Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport, Sr., senior enlisted leader, U.S. Army Europe.
"Who would not want to have a leader like Sgt. Morales or have him a part of your squad?" said Davenport during a speech as the ceremony's guest speaker. "I like to think of Sgt. Morales as a leader who can not only stand up and shout the NCO Creed, but who serves as a living example of that creed we should all strive to live up to."
Becoming a member of the Sgt. Morales club was a lengthy, four-phase process that required determination and a rigid work ethic, Serrano said.
The first phase of the selection process started with the Soldier's senior enlisted leader at the company level. This leader handpicked NCOs for their qualities as potential club members and nominated them to participate in an initial Sgt. Morales board.
The board was made up of a panel of senior noncommissioned officers who scrutinized and examined the Soldiers' uniforms, and tested the candidate's knowledge of basic Soldiering.
After the initial board, the potential candidates advanced to the final phase, during an intermediate selection board conducted at the brigade level, Serrano said.
This board consisted of a panel of experienced command sergeants' majors.
"The Soldiers are asked rigorous situational questions in leadership, training, physical fitness and world events to test their military knowledge, competencies and proficiencies," said Serrano. "After a prolonged nomination and selection process, Soldiers are awarded induction into the prestigious Sgt. Morales club."
With new members, the Sgt. Morales Club is re-energized for community outreach, added Serrano.
"I challenge NCOs, junior Soldiers and Soldiers at any level to emulate that squared-away NCO," he said. "You have to be resilient and have the intestinal fortitude to keep going and to do what's right because everybody can make a difference."