Association of Quartermasters

Order of Saint Martin Award

On 7 February 1997 the Quartermaster Corps established the Military Order of Saint Martin, a suspended medallion similar to the Artillery/Air Defense Order of Saint Barbara. This award has three grades. The first presentations of the Order of Saint Martin were made at the Quartermaster Regimental Ball at Fort Lee, Virginia in June 1997.

The Saint Martin Story

Saint Martin, whose name comes from Marten Tenens (one who sustains Mars), was born in Hungary during the reign of Emperor Constantine, and spent his early childhood in northern Italy. The Roman Army had a law that required sons of veterans to serve in the military. He was assigned to a ceremonial cavalry unit that protected the emperor and rarely saw combat. Like his father, he became an officer and eventually was assigned to garrison duty in Gaul (present-day France).
It was on this garrison duty at Amiens that the event took place that has been portrayed in art throughout the ages. On a bitterly cold winter day, the young tribune Martin rode through the gates, probably dressed in the regalia of his unit -- gleaming, flexible armor, ridged helmet, and a beautiful white cloak whose upper section was lined with lambs wool. As he approached the gates he saw a beggar, with clothes so ragged that he was practically naked. The beggar must have been shaking and blue from the cold but no one reached out to help him. Martin, overcome with compassion, took off his mantle. In one quick stroke he slashed the lovely mantle in two with his sword, handed half to the freezing man and wrapped the remainder on his own shoulders.

Saint Martin--the Patron Saint of the Quartermaster Regiment--was the most popular saint in France during the great antiquity and the early Middle Ages. It is said that French kings carried his cloak into battle as a spur to victory. Usually pictured on horseback dividing his cloak with the beggar, the image of Saint Martin as a Soldier-Provider offers a fitting symbol for Logistics Warriors charged with SUPPORTING VICTORY now and for all time.

Saint Martin, was drafted into the Roman Army at age 15, he later became a member of the royal cavalry guard. It was while he was campaigning in Gaul, as an 18-year-old tribune, stationed in Amiens, that the famous legend of Saint Martin and the beggar took place.

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