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JBLM Soldiers inducted into prestigious club

Four NCOs join Sergeant Audie Murphy Club

Photo by Natalie Hopkins

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For enlisted Soldiers, the honor of wearing the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club (SAMC) medallion is one of the biggest career highlights that a non-commissioned officer (NCO) can strive for.

Named after a heroic World War II Soldier who is the highest decorated Soldier in American history, induction into the private organization is quite a feat.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord Soldiers Staff Sgt. Masasinge Hadley, Staff Sgt. Allister Hawkins, Staff Sgt. Melissa Snow and Staff Sgt. Hector Valadez reached that career milestone Jan. 6, as the four were inducted into the JBLM chapter of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club.

1st Sgt. Kevin Staddie, the branch chief of Warrior Leader Course (WLC) at the Henry H. Lind NCO Academy, spoke highly of this decoration to the new inductees.

"Be proud of this," he told them. "Less than one percent of the top NCOs in the military are inducted into the SAMC. What sets NCOs apart is their SAMC background."

The road to induction isn't easy. Following a nomination, there are numerous board meetings, as well as a test in performance, before the SAMC medallion is put around the Soldier's neck. Those NCOs whose leadership achievements and performance merit special recognition may possibly earn the reward of membership. Members must exemplify leadership characterized by personal concern for the needs, training, development, and welfare of Soldiers and concern for families of Soldiers.

With sponsors introducing each nominee, it was easy to see why the four JBLM individuals were nominated and selected above their peers.

Hadley, with the Northwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility, was touted as a prime example of an NCO; always striving for more, volunteering first and even calling Soldiers for an earlier PT time to ensure that they pass their tests and quizzing them on Army knowledge.

Hawkins, with the 42nd Military Police Brigade, had a former SAMC member sponsoring him. The reasons for his nomination were described in detail, with numerous career highlights including four deployments and leading the Soldiers in his unit to be the most awarded squad in the Battalion.

Snow, with the Henry H. Lind NCO Academy, was sponsored by the SAMC vice president, who mentioned that she always holds her students to a higher standard.

Valadez, with the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, was selected above his peers with an impressive resume; being the first to mind for various roles within the Brigade.

JBLM Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew Barnes also spoke at the ceremony, and was not only impressed with the inductees themselves, but also with the amount of current SAMC members in the audience who have moved their way up in rank.

Giving advice to the four new members, he said, "Look at those who have gone before you. This is just a start."

The Sergeant Audie Murphy Club is a private U.S. Army organization for enlisted non-commissioned officers only.

Photo caption: Joint Base Lewis-McChord Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew Barnes puts the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club medal around Staff Sgt. Allister Hawkins’ neck during an induction ceremony Jan. 6 at the base. The medallion is suspended by a broad powder-blue ribbon which represents the infantry. The medallion is worn around the neck on the outside of the dress uniform for official functions such as military balls or Sergeant Audie Murphy Club meetings.

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