By Army Sgt. Kimberly Johnson
1st Armored Division
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 , native. “It symbolizes one’s long effort toward [excellence in] our branch. It’s a big honor.” Ohio
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,
, native. “Just because of the way he attacks a problem and how adaptable he is … that’s really what the Army needs right now.” Iowa
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.”