TIKRIT, Iraq — On April 10, Sgt. Holly Burke, a health care noncommissioned officer and squad leader with Company C, 701st Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division out of Fort Riley, Kan., was recognized for her exemplary leadership and dedication to duty when she became an official member of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club.
The Sergeant Audie Murphy Club is an organization of NCO's whose performance and leadership qualities mirror those of Sgt. Audie Murphy, the most highly decorated Soldier in American history.
"It's surreal. It hasn't hit me yet," said the Columbus, Neb., native of her achievement. "It's like you want to expect something, but you don't want to be disappointed in it. I was telling myself that I'm going to take the time, and if I don't get it then I don't get it. But, I will keep going back."
First Sgt. David P. Dixon of Wakefield, Kan., the top noncommissioned officer of Company C, 701st BSB, said he is exceptionally proud of his Soldier and her accomplishment.
"I had no doubt at all that [Sergeant] Burke would be able to accomplish what she was going to do," he said. "She has a way about her that always projects confidence and the things that NCO's are supposed to be. Going to the board was just a step process for her."
Since the start of her military career, Burke has deployed three times to Iraq and said that one of the most fulfilling aspects of being in the military is growing up.
"We're in a time of war and as much as people don't like deployments, I've learned a lot from [them], and I know that I'm helping my Family by coming over here and I'm serving my country."
As a leader, Burke said that she values the time she spends with her Soldiers and hopes that her examples are ones they will one day choose to follow.
"When I came back, they were all out in the hallway cheering me on," she said, as she recalled the reception upon her return from the Sergeant Audie Murphy Board. "As a young [specialist], I didn't [understand what being a member of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Board meant] but I think by me talking about it, studying and showing the dedication of staying until midnight at work; I know they knew that it was important to me, and I think that they see that it's very fulfilling and rewarding. So, I hope that some of them will try it in the future."
The future looks promising for Burke who plans to retire from the military and become a registered nurse. When asked about the rank she would like to retire with, she smiled and replied, "The highest that [I] can."
This work, NCO sets the example, becomes a member of an elite club, by SGT Shantelle Campbell, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.