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MDW Sergeant Audie Murphy Club Honors Battaglia, Wife

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife, Lisa, were honored here today by the Military District of Washington’s Sergeant Audie Murphy Club.

While serving as a guest to help induct six new soldiers into the SAMC, Battaglia was surprised with an honorary induction as the first Marine to join the ranks of the club’s MDW chapter, and ostensibly, as the first in the larger organization’s history.

Audie Murphy was a Medal of Honor recipient and the most decorated U.S. soldier who fought in World War II, earning a total of 33 awards and medals. The original SAMC was started at Fort Hood, Texas, in early 1986, and by 1994 had spread Army-wide.

Battaglia’s wife, Lisa, was also surprised with the Dr. Mary E. Walker award, named for the only woman in U.S. history to be awarded the Medal of Honor, for her outstanding efforts to help improve the quality of life for soldiers and their families.

An Elite Organization

“The Sergeant Audie Murphy Club is an elite organization,” the sergeant major said, consisting of noncommissioned officers who have demonstrated exceptional performance and inherent leadership qualities and abilities.

“Not every soldier who even steps up to the challenge makes the cut,” Battaglia added. “It only goes to show the high standards that it takes to become a member of such an organization.”

Members of the club reflect its symbolism and prestige “for life,” the sergeant major said.

The sergeant major said it was a truly “pivotal” juncture in the careers of the six soldiers as they join a “historic club” that defines many qualities and attributes of soldiering and leadership in the profession of arms.

The NCOs inducted into the club are training experts in their organizations, he said.

The inductees set the tone for their organizations, the sergeant major said, by providing training and developing their soldiers.

Holding Soldiers to Highest Standards

“Their enduring objective?” Battaglia asked. “Hold all soldiers -- subordinates and superiors -- to the highest standards that the Army specifies as an ambassador and a true professional proud to serve in the armed forces [and] proud to serve our country.”

The sergeant major praised the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club for its “selflessness and volunteerism” ethos that impacts service members and communities.

Battaglia presented a “snapshot” of what SAMC volunteers have contributed to their communities -- participating in the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Memorial Day weekend wreath camp, joining “Wreaths Across America” to lay wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery, and participating in the Special Olympics Summer Games at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

The MDW SAMC chapter, he said, first stood up in 199. It includes soldiers assigned to the Pentagon, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Fort McNair, Fort Belvoir, Fort Meade, and soldiers assigned to the White House Communications Agency at Bolling Air Force Base.

Club Membership Grows

“Over a decade later, the club continues to grow, in its membership, its charter, and of course, its contributions,” Battaglia said.

The induction ceremony was also on a symbolic day, he said, because on this day in military history, Adolf Hitler declared war on the U.S., ultimately, drawing Sgt. Audie Murphy to Europe where his, and other U.S. troops’ heroic actions, helped defend the nation.

“In closing,” Battaglia said, “while we carry all the professional warfighting legacy of Sgt. Audie Murphy, let’s not forget that even at this moment … we have troops [deployed] around the world.”

Battaglia encouraged the soldiers to “remain vigilant” as they perform their duties as noncommissioned officers.

“Understand that a noncommissioned officer is never off duty,” he said. “So congratulations to our newest club inductees and may God continue to bless our troops and families.”

(Follow Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallDoDNews)