By ANIESA HOLMESSeptember 18, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga., (Sept. 18, 2013) -- The 2013 Doughboy and Gold Medallion Dinner honored four retired Infantry and Armor Soldiers and a retired U.S. representative Sept. 10 at the Rivermill Event Centre in Columbus. Hosted by the U.S. Cavalry and Armor Association, the Order of Saint George Gold Medallion was awarded to retired Col. Glenn Snodgrass and retired Command Sgt. Maj. Carl Christian. Retired Gen. William Kernan, retired Command Sgt. Maj. George Conrad and retired U.S. representative Ike Skelton received the Doughboy Award.
GOLD MEDALLION, ORDER OF ST. GEORGE
"The Order of Saint George is the patron Saint of Armor and Cavalry and the highest award that we give in the association," said retired Maj. Gen. Terry Tucker, president of the U.S. Cavalry and Armor Association. "It is the equivalency of the Doughboy Award."
In 1986, the U.S. Armor Association initiated the Order of Saint George awards program to honor the best Armor and Cavalry leaders and established the gold medallion to honor lifetime achievements in promoting mounted warfare. There have been 66 members elected since 1986 who committed to serve the Armor and Cavalry, during and after their careers, Tucker said.
"It is the service after retirement that carries a great weight as to what great Americans are selected," he said. "Only a serving recipient of the Gold Medallion can nominate someone to be a member of the Gold Medallion, and only Gold Medallion holders can vote whether to include a new member."
Snodgrass was commissioned as an Armor officer upon graduating from Gettysburg College in 1967. While serving in Germany with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, his squadron won the German armored reconnaissance Boeslager Cup Competition in 1987. In 1991, Snodgrass was the second American to serve as the chief judge of the Canadian Army Trophy. The Canadian Army Trophy is a tank gunnery competition between NATO countries. In 2006, he was named to the board of directors of the National Armor and Cavalry Heritage Foundation, which is working to build a new Armor and Cavalry Museum on Fort Benning.
Snodgrass said he was blessed to have inspirational mentors and support throughout his career and beyond, including his wife of 44 years, Joan Snodgrass.
"It always comes down to people," he said. "I was blessed by having some mentors along the way who showed me the right way to do things."
Christian's career spanned more than 30 years. He served as a noncommissioned officer for all but six months of his Army career while he was an enlisted Soldier. He retired from the Army in October 2005. His last assignment was as the command sergeant major of 14th U.S. Army Forces Command. He is a former command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Armor Center and School, Fort Knox, Ky.
"I started out as a grasshopper wanting to become a part of the Army," Christian said. "I had an uncle who was in the Armor Corps during Vietnam, he had several tanks blown up underneath him and I felt it was something I wanted to do."
Since retiring, Christian has moved back to his home state of Wisconsin and is active in his local church as a lay minister, religious instructor and is a Knight of Columbus 3rd degree.
THE DOUGHBOY AWARD
The Doughboy Award is presented annually to recognize three individuals for outstanding contributions to the Army Infantry. The award was established in 1980 by the Chief of the Infantry and the first recipient was entertainer Bob Hope.
The voting panel consists of all current and retired three- and four-star generals with an Infantry background, all command sergeants major of three- and four-star Infantry commands and all retired sergeants major of the Army.
Kernan retired from the Army in December 2002. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic and commander in chief, U.S. Joint Forces Command, in Norfolk, Va. His combat tours include Vietnam, Grenada and Panama, where he led the 75th Ranger Regiment during Operation Just Cause and in a parachute assault onto Rio Hato.
"I never intended to go into the Army, but I got married while I was in college and went into the Army to get the GI Bill to go back to school," Kernan said. "I fully intended to get out of the Army and go back to school, but I got hooked," Kernan said. "I was surrounded by people who cared even though it was Vietnam era, people who had a real patriotic fervor. There was something about it that was very rewarding personally, and I found myself really embracing the Army as a career and enjoyed every moment of it."
Kernan said the level of dedication and courage of today's Soldiers is impressive.
"They are extremely patriotic and they have a tremendous commitment to this nation," he said. "They are intelligent, they are bound to each other and this nation and I'm very impressed."
Conrad retired from the Army in October 1996 after serving more than 34 years. His last assignment was as the command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Infantry Center. Since his retirement, Conrad has traveled overseas to provide historical military knowledge to the Balkans, Croatia, Macedonia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Montenegro.
"When I went to Iraq, it was a pretty bad time but I had a job to do to help these people to see the right way to do things," Conrad said.
A Vietnam veteran, Conrad has also served with the 75th Ranger Regiment. He was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame in 2008. Conrad said Vietnam was one of the most challenging times in his career.
"In Vietnam I thought it was the end, but my perseverance and training kicked in and great people to my right and left," he said. "When the fight starts, it's about the men to your right and left."
Skelton served as representative from Missouri's Fourth District from 1977 to 2011. As a representative, he focused on issues involving jobs and the economy, the war in Afghanistan, military health insurance reform and standing up for the U.S. men and women in uniform. He also served as the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee from 2007 until his departure. He was instrumental in the enactment of the Goldwater-Nichols Act, which simplified chains of command, reduced interservice branch rivalries and implemented shared procurement processes between the branches of service. He recently drafted and helped institute the Weapons Acquisition Systems Reform Act and is a frequent speaker on topics that include national security.