News: Two 'Iron Eagle' Non-commissioned officers recommended for prestigious Sergeant Audie Murphy Club
Story by Sgt. Jason Dangel
By Sgt. Jason Dangel
Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
CAMP TAJI, Iraq – Two non-commissioned officers from the Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad, were recommended for membership into the U.S. Army's Sergeant Audie Murphy Club after successfully completing a board competition at Camp Taji, Oct. 29, 2008.
Staff Sgt. David Gomez, air traffic control equipment repairer, Company F, 2nd Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, and Sgt. Raphael Ayala, petroleum specialist, Co. E, 3rd Battalion., 4th Avn., Regt., both from San Antonio, achieved the highest scores during the competition.
The two stood out amongst their brothers in arms in hopes of gaining membership into the club that is synonymous with one of the greatest enlisted leaders in U.S Army history.
"We have produced winners at the division-level boards. We have produced winners at Forces Command level boards. What I have heard in the formation is if you get through a 4th Combat Aviation Brigade board, you can reach the top – and that's the bottom line," said Command Sgt. Maj. Archie Davis, the brigade's senior enlisted Soldier, after announcing the winners of the competition.
"We want the fiber of the NCO Corps and the fiber of the Audie Murphy Club to stay rich and solid as part of our tradition and heritage as noncommissioned officers, and that is what all of you have shown us today," he continued.
Both Gomez and Ayala still have a long road ahead of them as they wait to see if they will be admitted into the club. The club started at Fort Hood more than 20 years ago.
The board victory only ensures a recommendation to the club. The Soldier's records will be further reviewed by 4th Inf. Div. leadership before any decisions are made.
If Gomez and Ayala are inducted, their names will forever be tantamount with the prestigious club, and they will also receive a Sergeant Audie Murphy Club medallion that can be worn around the neck with the Army dress uniform.
"I have been in the Army for 17 years, and if I were to be inducted into the club, it would pretty much be icing on the cake," said Ayala shortly after being named one of the winners of the competition.
"Just being recommended is an honor within itself," he added, "and it really says a lot about the accomplishments that I have made during my career in the military."
The Sergeant Audie Murphy Club was founded in 1986 and spread Armywide in 1994 in honor of Audie Murphy, the most decorated American war hero during World War II.
During his time in the military, Murphy achieved the rank of staff sergeant as an NCO and was eventually awarded a battlefield commission to second lieutenant and later as a company commander.
It has been said that Murphy received every decoration for valor the United States had to offer at the time. In total, he received 33 U.S. medals, five medals from France and one from Belgium.
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