FORT BLISS, Texas -- Why is the sky blue? Ask any Soldier serving in an infantry capacity and you'll surely get your answer.
Soldiers from 4th Battalion "Regulars", 6th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division: Capt. Gregory Gaines, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Aaron Smith, 1st Sgt. Moises Arreola, 1st Sgt. Christian Beyer; and Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Howerton, G3 Operations for 1st Armored Division, were inducted into the Order of Saint Maurice; and Mrs. Christy Beyer, family readiness group leader in 4th Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, was awarded the Shield of Sparta during the 1st Armored Division National Infantry Association Awards Ceremony at Fort Bliss, Texas, Sept. 12.
"It's important to have a professional organization to honor infantrymen and non-infantrymen today is something special," said Lt. Col. Colin Mahle, native of Sacramento, California, commander of 4th Battalion "Regulars", 6th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, and president of the 1st Armored Division National Infantry Association Chapter. "To echo what Maj. Gen. Patrick Matlock said, 'the framework of any world-class maneuver formation is world-class infantrymen.'"
The Order of Saint Maurice and the Shield of Sparta are awarded by the National Infantry Association and the U.S. Army's Chief of Infantry. This is to recognize the significant contributions made by Infantrymen, Infantry supporters, and spouses.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Aaron Smith, native of Boulder, Colorado, maintenance technician with 4th Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 3rd ABCT, 1st AD, prides himself on his 19 years, of 24 years of service, supporting infantry and armor units.
"I think any infantryman, or, armor individual cannot do their job without sustained readiness being a focus at some point," said Smith. "It's a combined effort on all levels. We need infantrymen to do what they do best, but they cannot do their job without me or my mechanics making sure they have the platform to maneuver them onto the battlefield. It's a collective balance of skills and relationships."
When Chief Warrant Officer 3 Smith was asked how it felt to be inducted into the Order of Saint Maurice? He responded with the following sentiment.
"I can't even describe it, I'm humbled by it because supporting them (infantry units) for so many years, I never would've imagined this was even an option for me," said Smith. "But to have an infantry command recognize me for my support, it means more than any award I've ever received so far."