COLUMBUS, Ga. -- The Infantry and Armor communities recognized distinguished leaders of their respective branches during the Doughboy and Gold Medallion ceremony Sept. 13; part of the first Maneuver Conference hosted by the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning, Ga.

This year's Doughboy and Gold Medallion ceremony is the first to collocate the two awards presentations since the 2005 BRAC decision to move the Armor School from Fort Knox, Ky., to Fort Benning.

"This is a precedent," said Bill Hansen, a retired colonel and recipient of the Order of Saint George Gold Medallion, "to have both the Maneuver Conference, which comprises both the Armor and the Infantry, and to have this shared event."

The Doughboy Award is the highest honor the Chief of Infantry bestows on an individual. The award is given annually on behalf of all Infantrymen past and present to individuals who have made substantial, lasting contributions to the Infantry.

The Order of Saint George Gold Medallion was established in 1986 by the U.S. Armor Association to recognize the best tankers and Cavalrymen. The reason the Medallion is so special, said retired Command Sgt. Maj. William Gainey, one of Tuesday's recipients, is that your fellow sergeants major - who are already members of the Gold Order - nominate you for it.

Other Order of Saint George Gold Medallion recipients are retired Gens. Ronald Griffith and John Tilelli Jr.

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. William H. Acebes never dreamed he would be selected as a recipient of the Doughboy Award.

"It's great to be here with all the folks you've served for or with," he said. "Some of the sergeants major here were my privates. I have really enjoyed seeing them move up in the Army."

Acebes said some of those NCOs have created today's lessons learned from current operations.

"Non-commissioned officers now are rotating in and out of combat so quickly that the lessons they are learning are from what happens day-to-day in combat." When these conflicts end, they will write the doctrine that will guide future generations, he said.

Other Doughboy Award recipients include retired Gen. Edward C.Meyer, and Mr. Joe L. Galloway.

"I learned long ago to emulate my heroes," Galloway said. "So I don't see this as much about me as it is the great Soldiers that I've stood alongside in battle. It's about the great Soldiers we have in the Army today."

This sentiment was echoed by Order of Saint George Gold Medallion recipient, Tilelli who said his honor could be attributed to "those who allowed him to succeed in spite of himself."

"Leaders help you succeed, not cause you to fail. And there are a lot leaders here today who helped me succeed through their mentorship and counseling," he said.

The inaugural Maneuver conference continues through Wednesday with presentations and panel discussions on 21st century maneuver training.

For more information about the Maneuver Conference please call the MCoE Public Affairs Office or visit the MCoE website