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Commentary | March 7, 2013

Sergeant Audie Murphy Club – promoting excellence

By Command Sgt. Maj. Bernie Knight USARAK Command Sergeant Major

Good can be viral. If you're doing the right things as a leader, people will want to emulate you.

This is one of the reasons U.S. Army Alaska recognizes excellence among its noncommissioned officers by inducting the best of the best into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club.

SAMC members are an elite group of NCOs - corporal through sergeant first class - who go above and beyond every day. They give more than 100 percent every day and look for excellence in everything they do. They don't settle for mediocre.

They add a breath of life to an organization. They make people think, "I want to be in that unit; I want to be like that NCO."

If you have more Soldiers wanting to do that, then you're going to have a unit with high morale, you're going to have a unit that likes what it's doing and gives a little more each day.

I would like to personally congratulate the 10 outstanding NCOs who became members of USARAK's Sergeant Audie Murphy Club in a ceremony last Friday at JBER.

The SAMC has been taking part in many more events on post recently. In the past few years, the club kept a low profile, but that's changing. You'll see them wearing their medals and seating people at Warrior Leader Course graduations. There's a SAMC member at each table during WLC's dining-in event with the USARAK command team and brigade and battalion commanders. These outstanding NCOs volunteer their time and effort in a variety of efforts to improve the local community and help Soldiers and their families.

The club is named for Sgt. Audie Leon Murphy, who became a national hero during World War II for his exploits in battle. He was the most decorated combat Soldier of the war, earning 33 awards, including the Medal of Honor, and was also decorated for bravery by the governments of France and Belgium.

The program was created at Fort Hood, Texas, in 1986 and spread throughout the Army with the motto "You lead from the front." Its mission is to develop, inspire, and motivate the best leaders possible in the U.S. Army.

To become a member of the SAMC you must be nominated by your chain of command meet these criteria:

Be the first-line supervisor of at least two Soldiers. (The USARAK command sergeant major is the only authority who may waive this requirement.)

Demonstrate leadership characteristics by personal concern for the needs, training, development and welfare of your Soldiers.

Maintain a current, working leader's book on all your assigned Soldiers.
Be a qualified expert with your assigned weapon.

Score 270 or better on your last Army physical fitness test.

Those are just the minimum requirements. There's a rigorous board examination process and candidates are evaluated on factors like volunteer work, community involvement, and leadership characterized by personal concern for the needs, training, development, and welfare of Soldiers and concern for families of Soldiers.

Once you're inducted into the SAMC you're not done. Now you've got to continue.

Members are expected to keep contributing to the community. And members are expected to go and find Audie Murphy recruits and mentor them.

What's in it for NCOs?
When it comes time for recommendations for promotion - a SAMC member is probably the one you want to promote first. When you need an outstanding NCO to take on a difficult, but rewarding task, the first NCOs who come to mind ought to be your Audie Murphy members.

The Army recognizes the value of this program; SAMC members will be looked at favorably by the Department of the Army centralized board and can be promoted ahead of peers based on the fact that they've been inducted into an Audie Murphy club, because the Army honors it as an exceptional achievement.

You can find more information about the SAMC on the USARAK home page at: