Mississippi Armor sergeant earns top honor

13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)
Story by Sgt. John Stimac

Date: 02.12.2010
Posted: 02.12.2010 04:48
News ID: 45249
Mississippi Armor sergeant earns top honor

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE TAJI, Iraq — The Order of Saint George bronze medallion was awarded to the assistant operations sergeant with the 155th Special Troops Battalion, 155th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Feb. 9 in a ceremony at the headquarters company building at Contingency Operating Base Taji, Iraq.<br /> <br /> Sgt. 1st Class Henry D. Harper, a Plantersville, Miss., native, was notified 36 hours prior to receiving the award that he would be recognized as a platoon sergeant and leader of armor Soldiers.<br /> <br /> "I can't put it into words how I felt when I received the call," he said. "It was like being on a Super Bowl winning team."<br /> <br /> According to the official armor association Web site, http:www.armor-assn.org, the award is given only to the very best tankers and cavalrymen. Most active and Reserve Soldiers are eligible for the award.<br /> <br /> Any Army colonel in a position to evaluate the fitness of the award nominee may approve a nomination for the bronze medallion.<br /> <br /> Col. John M. Rhodes, the deputy commander with the 155th HBCT and Corinth, Miss., native, said it is always an honor to give awards of this caliber to a Soldier.<br /> <br /> Rhodes, who is the president of the Armor Association with the 155th HBCT, said to be qualified, the Soldier must function in a leadership position in the career field.<br /> <br /> "One must be armor qualified and belong to an armor unit," he said. "Harper was a tank commander and distinguished himself as a leader in all kinds of positions."<br /> <br /> Rhodes said this was the first time he got to award the bronze medallion in a combat zone.<br /> <br /> "Basically, that is what the medallion is all about. It makes it more fitting to be able to award it in a combat zone," he said.<br /> <br /> Harper said it was an honor to receive the award.<br /> <br /> "This is something I have been waiting my whole military career for," he said. "I didn't think I would see it in my military career. To be put in a group with some of the best armor Soldiers in the world is an honor."<br /> <br /> The approval process is long and can take anywhere from four to six months.<br /> <br /> "You have to be nominated by a senior officer, then the packet must be approved by a brigadier general, then that goes to the Armor Association to get approval by their commanding general," said Harper.<br /> <br /> He said being awarded here in Iraq made it all the more special.<br /> <br /> "It's been a blessing that I could have received this award," said Harper. "If it wasn't for really good [noncommissioned officers] and officers I have worked with, I would have never received this award."<br />