JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii— The 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command hosted its annual ball at the Hale Koa Hotel in Honolulu to honor Saint Barbara, the patron saint of artillery, Dec. 8.
More than 200 Soldiers and guests attended the event. Saint Barbara's Day falls on December 4 and artillery units traditionally honor the patron by holding a formal ball and dinner, where service members are inducted into the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara.
The Honorable Order of Saint Barbara recognizes Soldiers for their accomplishments within the artillery branch and is an honorary society of the Army and Marine Corps artillerymen and women.
According to legend, Saint Barbara was executed by her father after she became a Christian. Soon after her execution her father was struck by lightning and his body was consumed by the fire. Artillerymen adopted her as their patron saint during the late middle ages. The first cannoneers would ask her to protect them from their own guns blowing up on them.
Spouses are also recognized for their contributions and support to the unit by inducting them into the Honorable Order of Molly Pitcher.
The order honors "Molly Pitcher," whose real name was Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley. She was given her nickname after bringing pitcher after pitcher of cool spring water to the men in her husband's artillery battery during the Revolutionary War. When her husband fell wounded at the Battle of Monmouth, she stepped up and took his place loading the cannon.
Soldiers began their evening by taking pictures with their dates as they made their way to the Derussy Ballroom. Service members and their guest spent the first hour of the night socializing while filling the dinner tables and the ballroom with laughter and dialogue.
"It's important that we take a moment to reflect on the importance of tonight," said Maj. James Pruett, the logistics plans officer for the 94th AAMDC and the master of ceremony for the event.
"The Army has a long and honored tradition of bringing Soldiers and their Families together. This evening, we honor the patron saint of artillerymen, Saint Barbara," he continued, giving the audience a quick background of what the patron saint signifies to artillerymen and women and then announcing the beginning of the formal part of the event.
Music from the 1940s played in the background to signify this year was also the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.The 94th AAMDC commander, Brig. Gen. Sean A. Gainey, provided opening remarks for the ball.
"Today we are going to celebrate one of those great traditions within the artillery community," said Gainey. "And it's even more special because we are also celebrating the 75th anniversary of [the attack on] Pearl Harbor. I was fortunate enough to attend the Pearl Harbor commemoration ceremony yesterday, and I tell you it was an honor to be there and see some of our World War II veterans."
Gainey welcomed all the guests, including the command teams of subordinates units from Japan, Korea, and Guam, who represented their units during the grog ceremony by each adding unique ingredients from the region where each of the units are stationed.
Distinguished guests attending the annual event included retired Army Gen. Walter L. "Skip" Sharp, former director of the Joint Staff; Vice Adm. James D. Syring, Missile Defense Agency director; retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeffrey A. Remington, former 7th Air Force commander; Maj. Gen. Glenn A. Bramhall, commander, 263rd AAMDC; retired Army Maj. Gen. Roger F. Mathews, former 94th AAMDC commander; and retired Army Command Sgt. Maj. Tedd "Joe" Pritchard, former command sergeant major for the 94th AAMDC.
Syring, the ninth Director of the Missile Defense Agency, was the guest speaker and spoke about the importance of the Sea Dragons' mission in the Pacific Theater.
"Never enter a war without the will to win," said Syring, referring to the Sea Dragons' mission as the first line of defense in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
By remaining an engaged and trusted partner with our allies in the Pacific, we show our commitment to preserving the security, stability, and freedom to ensure regional prosperity. Ballistic missile defense is an important part of this vision and the support that MDA provides is invaluable.
"What we are doing with our material development is to give you the capabilities to defend our nation and our allies. I know your mission involves interoperability, integration, and missile defense throughout the theater," he continued. "The importance of the allied fight and how hard it is to integrate that vision cannot be overstated, but we have no choice, it must be done, and I submit the 94th is doing it in a fine fashion."
The formal portion of the evening concluded with the award presentations to the following Soldiers, Family members, and friends of the 94th AAMDC.
Eighteen service members from both the Army and Navy were inducted into the Honorable Order of St. Barbara during the ceremony: Staff Sgt. Michael Cabanayan, Master Sgt. Ira M. Davis, Lt. Cmdr. Jon Davis, Cmdr. Michael Davis, Sgt. First Class Jeremy E. Dean, Maj. Robert Deleon, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Bryan G. Duncan, Master Sgt. Tamesha Hobbs, Sgt. First Class Nardello Keith, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Casey Lynch, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael Osman, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael Parrett, Maj. Keith Pruett, Capt. Pedro Quintero, Sgt. First Class Timothy Seppala, Cmdr. Jeffrey J. Smith, Col. Bruce Stephens, and Capt. Daniel Warner.
Mrs. Jillian Compton and Mrs. Kelly Shrum were inducted into the Honorable Order of Molly Pitcher and presented the Order of Molly Pitcher Medallion to recognize them for their contributions to the unit.