Face of Defense: Iraq-Deployed Tanker Receives Honor

BAGHDAD, Nov. 24, 2010 — Army Staff Sgt. Jason Motes is now among an elite broth­er­hood with­in the Unit­ed States Armor Asso­ci­a­tion — The Order of St. George, sym­bol­iz­ing brav­ery, ded­i­ca­tion and decen­cy.

Army Col. John Ward, divi­sion oper­a­tions offi­cer, 1st Armored Divi­sion, Unit­ed States Divi­sion – Cen­ter, inducts Staff Sgt. Jason Motes into the Order of St. George dur­ing a cer­e­mo­ny in Bagh­dad, Nov. 15, 2010.
U.S. Army pho­to by Sgt. Kim­ber­ly John­son
Click to enlarge

Motes, the future oper­a­tions non­com­mis­sioned offi­cer-in-charge with Com­pa­ny A, Divi­sion Spe­cial Troops Bat­tal­ion, 1st Armored Divi­sion, Unit­ed States Divi­sion –- Cen­ter, is one of very few staff sergeants who have been induct­ed into the order.

“The Order of St. George, to me, is the tra­di­tion for [tank crew­men],” said Motes, a Delaware, Ohio, native. “It sym­bol­izes one’s long effort toward [excel­lence in] our branch. It’s a big hon­or.”

Accord­ing to the U.S. Armor Asso­ci­a­tion, the his­to­ry of St. George dates back to about 280 A.D. St. George was a mem­ber of the Roman emperor’s mount­ed guard and was impris­oned, tor­tured and exe­cut­ed for stand­ing up against the emper­or, refus­ing an order to destroy all Chris­t­ian church­es and sacred writ­ings.

More than 1,000 years lat­er, cit­i­zens of a small Ital­ian vil­lage claim that St. George appeared and killed a drag­on that was tor­ment­ing the town. It is that his­toric image of St. George that sym­bol­izes the hero­ism and brav­ery of mount­ed war­riors.

Over the years, sol­diers of sev­er­al nations have giv­en accounts of St. George appear­ing on bat­tle­fields to aid in their vic­to­ries. St. George is the only saint por­trayed as fight­ing mount­ed, and in 1986 the U.S. Armor Asso­ci­a­tion estab­lished the order to rec­og­nize the best tankers and cav­al­ry­men in the Army.

“If any­one of the junior lev­el of lead­er­ship deserves the Order of St. George, it is Staff Sgt. Motes,” said Sgt. Maj. Dale Sump, the divi­sion mas­ter gun­ner with A Com­pa­ny, DSTB, and a Chero­kee, Iowa, native. “Just because of the way he attacks a prob­lem and how adapt­able he is … that’s real­ly what the Army needs right now.”

Sump, who nom­i­nat­ed Motes for the hon­or, said the Order of St. George medal­lion is a new medal for staff sergeants. He said there were pre­vi­ous­ly just three lev­els of the medal­lion — bronze, sil­ver and gold — giv­en only to senior enlist­ed sol­diers and offi­cers.

Dur­ing Oper­a­tion Iraqi Free­dom, Sump said, the Army estab­lished a new black medal­lion to rec­og­nize junior excep­tion­al armor lead­ers.

Motes’ fam­i­ly has a tra­di­tion of sol­dier­ing; his broth­er and father are both infantry­men. He said he want­ed some­thing dif­fer­ent and chose the armor branch.

“It’s a broth­er­hood,” Motes said. “I am now a part of a very few peo­ple who have [been induct­ed into] the Order of St. George. Being knight­ed dur­ing the cer­e­mo­ny is a sign of respect for what I’ve done, what I could do, and what my lead­ers think I can do more of.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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