41st Fires Bde. host St. Barbara's Ball
December 12, 2011
FORT HOOD, Texas--There were no horse-drawn carriages seen on this night. It was more plausible to say "Cinderella arrived at the ball on an M-270 Multiple Launch Rocket System."
For the Rail Gunners, these artillerymen started the night in style. Cannons lined the walkway leading up to the Bell County Expo Center and ice sculptures decorated the foyer. The Soldiers, leaders and family members of the 41st Fires Brigade took part in the annual Saint Barbara's Day Ball, Dec. 9.
St. Barbara is the patron saint of artillerymen, along with anyone working with cannons, and explosives. St. Barbara's Day is typically celebrated during the first week of December.
Along with honoring the patron saint of artillerymen everywhere, the ball presented an opportunity for Soldiers and family members to bond in the United States Army Field Artillery traditions and heritage.
"I'm especially pleased to see our young Soldiers out here tonight," said Col. William McRae, brigade commander for the 41st Fires Bde. "St. Barbara is a part of our history dating back to World War I. Our Soldiers should be proud of what they've done and what they will continue to do as Red Legs."
One of the most anticipated traditions of the evening was the revered punch-bowl ceremony known as the grog. Several selected senior enlisted and officers added various beverages to the punch-bowl to create a concoction worthy enough for the strongest Red Legs. However, for the Rail Gunners, the most junior lieutenant within the brigade was chosen to drink first from the grog. For the final piece of the skit, the lieutenant was carried away on a litter.
"I didn't know the senior leadership of the 41st Fires Bde. was so talented," said Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell Jr., commanding general of III Corps. I'm glad to be here during this celebration that honors the traditions and heritage of Red Legs around the world, but most importantly the fine Rail Gunners that stand here before us."
After the grog, 23 Soldiers were inducted into the Order of Saint Barbara. To receive the military honor, inductees must demonstrate the highest standards of integrity, moral character, and selflessly promote the Artillery branch.
Also Andrya Rhodes, Alicia Schwarz, Cary Burton, Shannon Woods, Jessica Nacarrato, and Ann Campbell was bestowed the Honorable Order of Molly Pitcher for volunteering and helping to improve the Field Artillery.
As the night came to an end, The Soldiers were able to enjoy an evening of tradition and fun. After the colors were retired, the dance floor was open to crowd for dancing.
"What I enjoyed the most was seeing everyone as their normal, everyday self," said Spc. Heriberto Valdespino, MLRS crewmember, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 41st Fires Brigade. "Events like the St. Barbara's Day Ball, gives us a chance to see other sides of our leadership and build on our camaraderie outside of the brigade. Seeing everyone here just adds to the sense of pride that I have in the unit."