By Staff Sgt. Jaquetta Gooden, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command Public AffairsDecember 11, 2013
KO'LINA, HAWAII -- More than 700 Soldiers and guest assembled into the Lanai Ballroom at the JW Marriott Hotel and Resort to celebrate the annual St. Barbara's Day Ball, hosted by the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command on December 6, 2013.
The ball kicked off with an incredible social hour, where service members and guest had the chance to mix and mingle with each other from several different Air Defense and Field Artillery units from Schofield Barracks and Fort Shafter, Hawaii.
Once the social hour concluded the ceremony formalities begun with the posting of the colors and the singing of the National Anthem, sung beautifully by Master Sgt. Q.P. Bean, 94th AAMDC, G-6 Operations NCOIC.
The formal events proceeded into one of the most time honored traditions known as the "Grog Ceremony". The grog ceremony consist of Artillery punch which has a long and glorious history, a history that was told by the appointed "Grog Meister", Col. Carlos Betancourt, Grog Meister and Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations of the 94th AAMDC.
"It was an honor for me to be selected to share such an important part of our Army's history, the task of keeping such a large group focused and interested is, in itself, a challenge; doing so and having people enjoy and respond with smiles and laughter makes it even more special and memorable" said Betancourt.
The grog mixing ceremony symbolizes the heritage of the fires community and the cohesiveness of our war fighting commands. The ceremony was initiated by the Command Sergeant Major, 94th AAMDC, Command Sgt. Maj. Finis Dodson, and included senior leaders from other Artillery and Fire units, who each shared a part of the Artillerymen history, reflecting as far back as 1772, when the first Artillery Regiment was activated.
The celebration continued with inducting Soldiers and family members from the 94th AAMDC, the 3-7 Field Artillery Battalion, and the 2-11 Field Artillery Battalion into the Honorable Order of St. Barbara and the Honorable Order of Molly Pitcher.
As a result, the presented awards not only honored the service members and their individual spouses, but also recognized the sacrifices and contributions of the loved ones of all the services.
Applauses filled the ballroom as the last awardees were presented their awards.
"It's an amazing honor to be inducted into the Honorable Order of St. Barbara. Receiving this award means that I will forever be connected with fine Artillery men and women both past and present, it is a very significant career milestone" said Capt. Peter Bier, Commander, 94th AAMDC Headquarters and Headquarters Battery.
Dinner was served as chandelier lights casted a comforting glow over tables and chairs that were swathed in luxurious ivory cloth. Visual and mouth-watering treats adorned each table; a lovely holiday wreath was a centerpiece on each table. A plate with a generous slice of multi-layered chocolate mousse cake lies in front of each seat, no detail was overlooked. The room was filled with laughter and enjoyable conversations amongst the guest as soft jazz music played in the background.
As the formal portion came to a close, Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, 94th AAMDC Commander, congratulated the Soldiers and Civilians for their hard work while serving within the command, while also thanking everybody for a wonderful evening.
"I am extremely proud and thankful to be a part of this team of winners and warriors tonight as we celebrated our artillery heritage together" said Karbler
Karbler also explained the meaning of the ball, "St. Barbara's Day is an annual event held to honor Soldiers, past and present, who embody the spirit of what it means to an air defender. It reminds us of our honored traditions that help to grow the Army spirit de corps and the spirit of camaraderie."
The ball was a success as music filled the room and bodies filled the dance floor, and guest dance the night away, without a care in the world even if it was just for the evening.