KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan —Two 3rd Sustainment Brigade noncommissioned officers donned the coveted Sergeant Audie Murphy Club member medallion, June 13, as they officially entered into the elite organization during an induction ceremony held at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.
The SAMC, a private U.S. Army organization, recognizes exceptional noncommissioned officers who show exemplary leadership traits.
Newly inducted Sgt. 1st Class Dwayne Taylor, the senior fuel operations sergeant with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, said he first learned about the club as a junior Soldier.
“I first heard about it as a (private first class) from my section sergeant who told me about all of the great things that the Audie Murphy Club does for the community and how it supports families,” said Taylor, a native of Philadelphia, Penn. “I knew (then) I wanted to become a part of it. Being there for people and the caring aspect has always been embedded in me.”
The four-phase selection process for induction into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club began with a nomination by a senior noncommissioned officer and culminated with a final selection board.
“The SAMC is not your average board,” said Staff Sgt. Natalie Williams, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the strength management section with HHC, 3rd Sustainment Brigade. “You are not competing against the other candidates. This is a competition with oneself. Becoming a member of this NCO-only, prestigious club was very challenging at times.”
Williams explained that joining the club took months of dedicated studying and preparation for a performance test and initial selection board before she attended the final board.
“The hardest part of this whole process was learning about Audie Murphy, attending study halls, the mock boards and the unknown—basically not knowing what to expect,” she said.
“You don’t know what to expect or study for,” he said. “You have to be able to show the board members that you not only know the information, but know how to apply it.”
In the end, says Williams, the countless hours spent studying was well worth it.
“This experience was a great accomplishment for me in my career,” said Williams, who has 12 years of Army service. “From here, I will share my knowledge and experience with my Soldiers and future SAMC candidates. I will host study halls and just continue to seek out leaders with the same leadership qualities.”
According to the Army regulations, SAMC members exemplify leadership characterized by personal concern for the needs, training, development and welfare of Soldiers, and concern for families of Soldiers.
“If we aren’t taking care of all Soldiers, then we’re irrelevant,” said Taylor. “Now (that we are SAMC members) we have to continue to mold and groom our Soldiers. We must understand and learn the regulations set before us in order to better train Soldiers to prepare them for the next level.”
Even though Taylor and Williams have just recently been inducted, they are following in their mentor’s footsteps and seeking out new SAMC members. Master Sgt. Sundi Ganaway, the NCOIC of the 3rd Sustainment Brigade personnel section and Williams’ mentor, said she is proud to see the fruits of her labor.
“One of my proudest moments is to see my NCOs get inducted,” said Ganaway, a Rockford, Ill., native who has been a SAMC member since 2007. “We are the top two percent of the NCO Corps, and I am proud to say some of my Soldiers are among that.
“I think that is one of the most important things that Sergeant Audie Murphy Club members can do—pay it forward,” said Ganaway. “We do that by mentoring NCOs that we see could have a bright future that stands out from the rest.”
The SAMC club prides itself on giving back to the community in their area. The Kandahar SAMC was established in May 2010, and although members are serving in a combat zone, they do what they can to give back to their fellow deployed service members.
“We (are hosting) a volleyball tournament in July and another talent show in August,” said Ganaway. “We try to at least do one event each month to support the community here in Kandahar.”