FORT CARSON, Colo. — Sgt. Zachery Bradley, right, with Alpha Troop, 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division; and Staff Sgt. Jake Fredette with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div., receive congratulatory handshakes Aug. 28, 2019, following an induction ceremony into the Mountain Post Sergeant Audie Murphy Club at the Freedom Performing Arts Center at Fort Carson. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Scott J. Evans)
By Staff Sgt. Scott J. Evans, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
FORT CARSON, Colo. —Since its inception in 1986, gaining admission into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club (SAMC) has been considered an important feat in the career of any Army NCO. Sergeants who volunteer to participate are chosen by their command sergeant major based on overall performance.
At the end of the selection process in June, only two Soldiers of the eligible five, Staff Sgt. Jake Fredette with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, and Sgt. Zachery Bradley of A Troop, 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div., were able to make the cut.
The Mountain Post Chapter of the SAMC held an induction ceremony to formally welcome them Aug. 28, 2019, at the Freedom Performing Arts Center at Fort Carson.
“Make no mistake, it was a challenging journey, and I’m sure that these Soldiers here can attest to it,” said Command Sgt. Maj. T.J. Holland, senior enlisted leader, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson. “The club is just one facet of leader development, where (NCOs) have the opportunity to confront a challenge head-on and get better in their craft as a leader, while becoming a better role model for their Soldiers and their peers.”
In order to have the opportunity to participate in the SAMC board, one has to thoroughly prepare and excel at the Army Physical Fitness Test, a weapons qualification, pass a written exam and perform above standard before a board of SAMC members. The process of how NCOs become members has evolved over the last 30-plus years.
“It started off with just a board, where you would sit in and answer questions (in order) to be inducted,” said Sgt. Maj. Felipe V. Pinero Jr., logistics, plans and operations sergeant major, 4th Infantry Division. “Now you have your hands-on portion of the board, which is normally done the day prior … and an essay that the division command sergeant major comes up with. It’s a good process that gauges a sergeant’s ability to meet certain standards.”
To become a member of the SAMC Soldiers must begin the process early to ensure readiness.
“What’s interesting about this process is that it is not something you decide and begin setting (to accomplish) just a few weeks out,” Holland said. “It takes months of preparation.”
Those who are dedicated enough to be selected to the SAMC are part of an exclusive group of individuals within the U.S. Army.
“The club consists of what many would say would be the top two percent of the top enlisted NCOs in the Army,” Pinero said. “They are the most experienced, highly qualified and perform beyond their peers.”
During the ceremony, Holland encouraged those in attendance to look for candidates who would be interested in joining the organization.
“(The SAMC) wants members of high caliber and of utmost character who are professional (NCOs),” Holland said. “We have plenty among our ranks, but we need your help to seek them out and inspire them to take the next step in working toward induction. It’s about being part of an elite group and it prides itself on community service — and giving back to our Soldiers and Families.”