FORT BENNING, Ga. (Feb. 6, 2013) -- A group of 10 NCOs will have an honor bestowed upon them Wednesday when they are inducted into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club.

The club is for NCOs whose leadership achievements and performance merit special recognition.

The club is named for Sgt. Audie Murphy, the most decorated U.S. combat Soldier of World War II.

Murphy was awarded 33 medals and decorations for his service during World War II, including the Medal of Honor.

After his release from the Army, Murphy went on to become a well-known actor and starred in 44 feature films.

Murphy was killed May 28, 1971, when a plane carrying Murphy crashed into a mountain near Roanoke, Virginia. Murphy was 46.

The club was founded at Fort Hood, Texas, in 1986 before becoming FORSCOM-wide in 1993 and Army-wide in 1994.

Since membership is difficult to obtain, induction often carries with it a sense of accomplishment.

"I really think this is a sign that I can be proud of my accomplishments and how far I've come," Staff Sgt. Brian Mitchell, one of today's inductees, said.

"I started out as an E1, which is the lowest you can start, and now I've become a fairly distinguished NCO, and being a member of this club just adds to my sense of accomplishment."

According to United States Army Forces Command regulations, members must "…exemplify leadership characterized by personal concern for the needs, training, development, and welfare of Soldiers and concern for families of Soldiers."

If an NCO meets these requirements, they may be nominated for membership by their chain of command.

After having their nominations reviewed, approved nominees advance to the final selection board.

Before appearing before the board, however, they attend board preparation that is led by SAMC members.

There, nominees have their application packets examined, go through a full Class A dress uniform inspection and sit before a mock final board.

The nominees also practice reciting the NCO creed and the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command's Audie Murphy biography.

If all goes well in preparation, nominees receive an SAMC sponsorship letter stating they are prepared for the final selection board.

There, the nominees are questioned on a variety of topics.

"The board is made up of situational questions," SAMC member Sgt. 1st Class Philemon Jones said. "It's not like a traditional board where there's a right or wrong answer. It's more opinionated, and it gets more into your own viewpoints on training and leadership. It's kind of a test of leadership."

Jones said the selection board can be intimidating, but that prepared nominees can impress the board by being confident.
"They're definitely looking for confidence and professionalism," Jones said.

"Your uniform will be inspected on a different level than it normally would to evaluate how professional your appearance is. They're also looking for knowledge and experience. You need to be able to articulate your thoughts and know where to find the resources you need in stressful situations."

After the final selection board, new inductees are chosen.

One of those new inductees, Staff Sgt. Brian Mitchell, said the nomination and application process was an arduous one.

"There's just a whole lot of preparation that goes into earning induction," he said.
"It was a very tough process that got pretty nerve-wracking at times."

Once members are inducted, they turn their attention to helping the club carry out its goal of reaching out to both the military and local communities.

"We try to get involved with things in the community, like different charities," Jones said. "Damascus Way, the women's and children's shelter in Columbus, is our main charity. That's the one we spend most of our time with and give most of our money to, but we also do some other things."