FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii -- For 18 years, Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Dukes has served as a mortuary affairs professional, fulfilling our Nation's sacred commitment of ensuring dignity, honor and respect to the fallen by providing care and disposition of missing and deceased personnel, including personal effects.

Dukes currently serves as the 8th Theater Sustainment Command's MA NCOIC as well as the senior MA operational planner for the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command's area of responsibility.

He was awarded the Honorable Order of St. Martin, Jan. 14 for his commitment to the Army's Quartermaster Corps and the MA community.

Dukes enlisted in the Army in 2000 and says his passion for his job elevated when he deployed to the Pentagon for the Sept. 11 attacks.

"I would say that the Mortuary Affairs MOS is one of the top emotionally demanding and stressful MOSs in the Army," said Dukes. "This was a lesson that I quickly learned within the first six months of my career. It was the mission to recovery remains from the pentagon on 9/11 that taught me this."

Dukes has deployed to Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iraq (two tours), and Kuwait. He has been on seven operational tours (Cambodia, Germany (three missions), Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Lao People's Democratic Republic giving him the distinguished opportunity to return fallen service members from World War II and Vietnam.

Maj. Gen. Charles Hamilton, the 8th TSC Commanding General and senior Quartermaster on the island of Oahu presented the award, recognizing Dukes' hard work and dedication to Corps.

The award was presented at the beginning of the Joint Mortuary Affairs Symposium, which was hosted by U.S. INDO-PACOM and the 8th TSC. Dukes served as the lead planner for the symposium, bringing together MA leaders from all Pacific based services and also included representation from U.S. Central and European Commands; the Joint Mortuary Affairs Center based in Fort Lee, Virginia; and the Japan and Korea Mortuary Directors.