News: Artillery Soldiers pay tribute to Saint Barbara
Story by Staff Sgt. Michel Sauret
By Staff Sgt. Michel Sauret
Multi-National Division - Center
CAMP VICTORY, Iraq – Soldiers and artillerymen from Multi-National Division – Center paid tribute to Saint Barbara with a celebratory gathering at the Joint Visitor's Bureau, Dec. 6.
The celebration started with dinner, followed by the mixing of the artillery punch, a toast to different honors and humorous skits. The celebration ended with the singing of The Field Artillery Song and the 10th Mountain Division Song.
Traditionally, the punch holds several ingredients, including alcohol. This year, being in Iraq and a combat zone, the alcohol was excluded. Several members of the Order of Saint Barbara stepped up to the bucket to pour ingredients such as fruit juice, coffee, energy drinks, Iraqi chai, goat milk, pomegranate, mouse droppings, Iraqi sand and shredded up "plans," a composite of the hard work of the MND-C officers who spend hours in targeting meetings to form solutions for Iraq's prosperity.
"We do it pretty much how we'd do it back home, except no alcohol," said Maj. Thomas Robinson, of Stony Point, N.Y., deputy effects coordinator for MND-C.
The Order of Saint Barbara is an honorary military society of the United States Field Artillery. Both U.S. Marine and Army field artillery along with their military and civilian supporters are eligible for membership. The order is managed by the U.S. Field Artillery Association. There are two levels of recognition; the most distinguished level is the Ancient Order of Saint Barbara, and those who are selected for this honor have achieved long-term, exceptional service to the field artillery.
Saint Barbara was the extremely beautiful daughter of a wealthy heathen named Dioscorus, who lived near Nocomedia in Asia Minor (today Izmit, Turkey) in the third century A.D. Legend has it that Barbara converted to Christianity, enraging Dioscurus who denounced her and ordered her brutally tortured and beheaded in the year 235. After Barbara's death, Dioscurus was immediately struck dead by a bolt of lightning.
When gunpowder made its appearance in the Western world, Saint Barbara was invoked for aid against accidents resulting from explosions--since some of the earlier artillery pieces often blew up instead of firing their projectile, Saint Barbara became the patroness of the artillerymen.