Saint Maurice was Primicerius of the Theban Legion. In 287 AD he marched in service of the Roman Empire fighting against the revolt in the Berguadae Gauls. His men were composed entirely of Christians recruited from upper Egypt, near the Valley of the Kings. The Legion marched to the Mediterranean Sea, were transported across, and traveled across Italy to an area in Switzerland. Serving under Augustus Maximian Hercules, Maurice was ordered to have his legionnaires offer pagan sacrifices before battle near the Rhone at Martigny. The Theban Legion refused to participate, and also refused to kill innocent civilians in the conduct of their duty, and withdrew to the town of Agaunum.
The Order of Saint Maurice has five levels. A nominee for the Order of Saint Maurice must have served the Infantry community with distinction; must have demonstrated a significant contribution in support of the Infantry; and must represent the highest standards of integrity, moral character, professional competence, and dedication to duty. The same medallion is used for each level, with a attachment that identifies the level. The levels are as follows:
- Primicerius (Highest Level)
- Centurion (Middle Level, BDE and BN Officer/NCO Leadership and Special Nominees)
- Civis (For Civilians)
- Peregrinus (For Foreign Soldiers)
The Order of Saint Maurice is awarded by the National Infantry Association (NIA) and the Chief of Infantry. A nomination on an individual for the Order of Saint Maurice must be submitted by an active member of the NIA. If it is submitted by any individual who is not a member of the NIA it will be rejected. When an award nomination is submitted to the NIA, it is reviewed for completeness, and presented to an awards board. It is hoped that when an individual is nominated for this award, the nominator has taken sufficient time to prepare a nomination packet that does the potential awardee justice. The board reviews each award nomination on its merits and the criteria adopted by the NIA.
If a Soldier is worthy enough to be awarded the Order of Saint Maurice award, it is worn during events where Infantrymen gather and other appropriate events. When worn with the Army Mess, Blue or Class A uniform, the medallion should have the ribbon around the neck, outside the shirt collar and inside the coat collar.
If you have received this award or know someone who has, we would love to hear about it. If you have comments or questions, you can post them below. Thank you.