By Trish Muntean, Fort Wainwright PAOAugust 24, 2012
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska (August 24, 2012) - The Sergeant Audie Murphy Club Farthest North Chapter, an elite private organization for noncommissioned officers, is taking applications for membership. And although its numbers are down (primarily due to PCS moves) not just anyone can join.
The Sergeant Audie Murphy Club is a private U.S. Army organization for NCOs only, according to the official website. Those NCOs whose leadership achievements and performance merit special recognition may possibly earn the reward of membership.
According to the official website for the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club among other traits members must... "...exemplify leadership characterized by personal concern for the needs, training, development, and welfare of Soldiers and concern for families of Soldiers."
Anyone seeking membership must go through an extensive selection process. First and foremost, candidates must display their commitment as leaders and willingness to serve as volunteers. They do this by receiving a recommendation from a senior leader in their chain of command based on their performance as leaders. They will also be required to attend club functions that involve the community.
This recommendation is part of a formatted packet that must be completed and submitted to the unit SAMC representative. Upon completion of the packet, the candidates must pass a series of selection boards at the battalion and brigade level. Once they pass those two boards, they must pass the final selection board. The final selection board will be conducted quarterly and will consist of an APFT, hands-on testing and appearance before a board comprised of SAMC members and senior leaders. If the candidates can meet all those criteria, they will be inducted into the SAMC.
The organization is a well-organized, highly integrated, non-profit private organization which reaches out to the local Fairbanks and military communities, said Staff Sgt. Eddie Barba, president of the local chapter.
"To be a member of the SAMC means you are an NCO that is fully committed to improving and maintaining the NCO Corps, the US Army and the local community," Barba explained.
We take the responsibilities of being a leader very seriously, he said. The members of our organization have been identified by their peers and seniors as being the example of professionalism and competence.
Especially important, Barba said, is that a member of the SAMC will go above and beyond what is considered the standard in all he/she does, especially when it comes to the NCO's two basic responsibilities of "accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my Soldiers."
Currently there are two chapters at Fort Wainwright. The Sergeant Audie Murphy Club Farthest North Chapter which encompasses all units on post with the exception of Medical Department Activity-Alaska and Dental Activity-Alaska. MEDDAC and DENTAC make up the second chapter.
There are currently 12 members who are actively participating and 10 Soldiers who have applied for membership.
Master Sgt. LaShan Hayes was a Staff Sgt when she joined in 2002.
"At that point of my career I thought it was only fitting for me to be part of Audie Murphy Club," she said. "There is something about an NCO that is Sgt. Audie Murphy. They are the elite, at the top of everything that they do. It is expected of you, not only by the Soldiers and the NCOs, but the officers too. They expect something different from you. "
"You weren't considered a leader unless you were a member of the SAMC," Hayes said, because (Audie Murphy) led, the way Soldiers should be led. Not just thinking of yourself, but of your Soldiers."
Sgt. Cutter Ragusa is early in his Army career and heard about the organization in basic training. He was happy to hear there was a chapter at Fort Wainwright.
"The main reason being that this is a prestigious club. It is something that sets you apart from other people," he said.
"My main thing is setting an example for the Soldiers that I help train and if it is something I am stepping forward and trying to become part of this elite club, I can help them out," he said. "There is so much I can learn from the NCOs that are part of this organization, they are very helpful; everything I need to be an NCO, it just a great thing that I want to get involved in."
Command Sgt. Major Harry Jeffries has been invited to be the senior advisor to the group. Barba said the Fort Wainwright garrison's command sergeant major's experience makes him an excellent choice for the job and he expects that he will contribute much to the organization.
For more information on the organization, visit their website at http://www.farthestnorthsamc.com/index.html