FORT HOOD, TexasAca,!" For mounted Soldiers, there is hardly a more prestigious honor than to receive the medallion of the Order of St. George.

Since 1986, when the order was established, 6,195 awardees have been inducted, and leaders from 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, added 16 of their own to this number during a recent award ceremony on Fort Hood, Texas.

The order was named in honor of St. George, the only saint commonly portrayed as fighting mounted. St. George is depicted in Italian legend as having defeated a dragon, saving a princess and preserving the livelihood of a city; and his memory is celebrated annually by the Italian Armor Force.

Aca,!A"He a common thread among the Armor and Cavalry forces of most NATO nations,Aca,!A? said Lt. Col. Andy Shoffner, the commanding officer of 4th Sqdn, 9th Cav. Regt. Aca,!A"His memory lives on today in the spirit of the armored knight who helps Soldiers in need, who is the epitome of selfless service, and who is the archetypal mounted warrior.Aca,!A?

There are two medallions awarded to Soldiers serving in mounted branches, and one award given out to non-service members who support mounted Soldiers.

According to Shoffner, the bronze medallion is reserved for armor branch officers who demonstrate successful command of Soldiers in an armor, cavalry, or reconnaissance unit, and enlisted Soldiers who have been successfully served as a platoon sergeant, first sergeant, or command sergeant major and have led mounted Soldiers. All nominees must demonstrate tactical and technical competence at both their current levels of service and those of their subordinates.

Soldiers can also qualify for a black medallion if they are lieutenants or junior enlisted tankers and cavalrymen and have demonstrated outstanding leadership and exceptional teamwork as part of an armor or cavalry unit; and must demonstrate tactical competence as a crewman, vehicle commander, section or squad leader.

For deserving non-service members, there is a Noble Patron of Armor Award, which recognizes individuals who have significantly contributed to the operational success, or the morale and welfare, or armor and cavalry organizations.

During the award ceremony, awardees were called forward and kneeled in the tradition of the horse-mounted knights, and were inducted into the Order of St. George by the senior armored officer in the 2nd BCT, Col. Ryan Gonsalves, himself a patron of the order.

The men receiving this award are said to be the very best this profession has to offer, and therefore it is right to recognize their dedicated service and professionalism both on and off the battlefield, explained Shoffner.

Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs an honor and a privilege and a career achievement,Aca,!A? said Capt. Nathan Jennings, who received the black medallion for leading C Troop, 4th Sqdn., 9th U.S. Cav. Regt. during a 2009 tour to Iraq. Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs a rare privilege to be recognized with my peers and to be inducted into the Order with men I served in combat with.Aca,!A?

Aca,!A"IAca,!a,,cm immensely appreciative that my Squadron commander and Brigade commander consider me worthy of this award,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs a testimony to the cavalry Soldiers and officers who supported me.Aca,!A?

Jennings highly recommended any Cavalry or Armored Soldier to aspire to receive this award, and had some advice for them.

Aca,!A"Earn the support of your subordinates, peers and superiors, and through hard work and dedication, the award will take care of itself,Aca,!A? he said.