By 2nd Lt. Joshua RahaeuserDecember 13, 2013
SAN MARINO--Paratroopers from the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) celebrated the festival of Saint Barbara in the The Republic of San Marino as guests of the civilian and military leaders here Dec. 4.
Saint Barbara is the patron saint of San Marino and of field artillery. While the artillerymen of 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment do not actually fire cannons or rockets, as fire support specialist and officers, they are still an integral part of the field artillery branch.
'The Redlegs,' as the battalion fire support team is known, were greeted by leaders from the Sammarinese military, participated in an honor guard and toured the mountaintop capital city.
"This was easily the best St. Barbara's Day celebration I've ever been to," said Staff Sgt. Daniel Blair, battalion fire support noncommissioned officer.
For many of the fire supporters, who live in Italy and have seen places as diverse as Iraq and Afghanistan, San Marino and its stable institutions are a very different experience.
This was the first visit to San Marino for all of the paratroopers, yet many are already planning on returning for either future events in the community, or to visit with their friends and families.
"My family would love to visit here; it's close to our home, and the city is beautiful," said Sgt. Esteban Salazar, a fire support NCO.
During their time in San Marino, the Sky Soldiers were able to visit the seasonal Christmas market and walk through the city's numerous shops and restaurants before departing for Vicenza.
This is the latest event between 173rd paratroopers and the Sammarinese military, having forged a bond earlier this year.