Fort Hood, Tx. -- Every year, Army Artillery units across the United States and overseas hold celebrations to recognize individuals and family members for their service and contributions to the field artillery community. Normally, the award presentation ceremonies are larger with hundreds of participants and recipients being presented the award simultaneously; however, with the threat of COVID-19 looming, this could not be possible.
Based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19, DIVARTY leaders held six separate ceremonies in the span of four hours to uphold the annual tradition and recognize members of the formation who contributed to the FA Regiment on Fort Hood.
“Tonight we are just trying to keep traditions alive, we are trying to do this in a way that we can celebrate all the contributions of the incredible people from 1st Cav. and 3rd CR while doing it safely,” said Col. Neil Snyder, commander, DIVARTY. “It’s about celebrating the Artillery."
During Saturday’s celebration, 40 Troopers received the Honorable St. Barbara’s Order and six spouses received the Molly Pitcher Award.
According to the Field Artillery Association, the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara award was introduced to the U.S. Army in 1934 and recognizes those individuals who have demonstrated the highest standards of integrity and displayed professional competence while contributing to the promotion of Field Artillery in ways that stand out in the eyes of the recipients seniors, subordinates and peers alike.
“I’ve been in the field artillery for a little over seven years, it feels great that the impacts I’ve had during those years are being rewarded,” said Capt. Tice Stewart, commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2-82 Field Artillery. “It’s an honor to be a recipient of the Order of St. Barbs.”
For civilians and military personnel including spouses the Field Artillery Association created the Honorable Order of Molly Pitcher, which recognizes voluntary efforts of individuals who also contributed to the improvement of the field artillery community.
The legend of St. Barbara, which originated around the year 300 AD., states Saint Barbara was an extremely beautiful daughter of the wealthy heathen Dioscorus. Because of her beauty, he was fearful she would be demanded to marry marriage and taken away from him. To prevent this, he jealously imprisoned her in a tower to protect her from outside influences. During her father’s absence and her captivity, she converted to Christianity. At her father’s return and realization of his daughter’s new faith, he dragged her before the Prefect of the province, who decreed that she be tortured and put to death by beheading. Her father carried out the beheading himself and on his way home, he was struck by lightning, which consumed his body. St. Barbara’s story and the manner which her father was killed by lightning, led the Christian community to regard her as the patron saint in time of danger and thunder storms, fire, and sudden death.
When the gunpowder made its appearance in the Western world, St. Barbara was invoked for aid against accidents resulting from explosions — and since some of the early artillery pieces often blew up instead of firing their projectiles, from the practice of calling upon St. Barbara, she eventually became the Patroness of Artillery.
“Tonight I am genuinely humbled to get to put a small a small token of appreciation around the neck of many people who’ve done well by the Artillery men of this division,” said Snyder. “We’re going to a small piece of cloth and a small medallion, it’s from the heart and it’s in recognition of all you’ve contributed to the Artillery and to our team.”
According to the award description, the Military Order of Saint Barbara was created to promote good fellowship and esprit the corps among artillerymen and to recognize St. Barbara , as the patron saint of artillerymen.