By Sgt. Quentin Johnson, 2nd BCT PAO, 1st Cav. Div.March 1, 2011
BELTON, Texas - It's a peaceful night full of remembrance, tradition and fun.
Music plays while guests are greeted at the door by commanders, command sergeants major, and VIP's.
This was the beginning of an auspicious event for the entire 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, in Belton, Texas Feb. 25.
The event, known as the St. Barbra's Day Ball, was an opportunity for Soldiers, spouses, guests and others from throughout the 2nd BCT to celebrate the rich heritage of the U.S. Army's Field Artillery, said Lt. Col. Nate Cook.
Part of that heritage is remembering St. Barbra herself, the patron saint of artillerymen everywhere.
As legend has it, since her own martyrdom, in which St. Barbra's father was said to have died by lightening after he killed her because of her conversion to Christianity during third or fourth century A.D., St. Barbra is regarded as defender of those in danger from explosions, fire and thunderstorms.
In addition to honoring the battalion's heritage, all attendees observed the commemorative Punch Bowl ceremony. The private, time-honored ceremony is one that artillerymen have been conducting at military balls for years.
The ceremony is centered on the elixir itself, with each ingredient representing memorable times and events for artillerymen throughout the past, said Cook.
After the ceremony, nine Soldiers from throughout the 2nd BCT were awarded the Honorable Order of St. Barbara for their integrity, moral character and professional competence while contributing to the success of the 3rd Bn., 82nd FA Regt.
Two spouses, Ashley Allen and Valerie Decal, were recipients of the Order of Molly Pitcher for their dedication and selfless volunteerism towards the field artillery community.
Following the awards, guest speaker Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Kevin Bergner, executive vice-president and chief administrative officer for USAA, spoke to the audience about his experiences in the artillery and his gratitude for service the U.S. military provides.
Bergner explained how a recent study stated that the American Soldier is one of the most respected figures in the U.S.
That same respect is seen among each Soldier in the 3rd Bn., 82nd FA Regt., said Cook. That respect is also intertwined within the battalion's traditions.
"There are a lot of traditions within the battalion and a lot of unity. We [Soldiers within the unit] have great teamwork," said Pvt. Freddie King, a Bellville, Ill. native and tactical data specialist with the 3rd Bn., 82nd FA Regt.
Commenting on his first experience at a military ball, King said he never realized there was such an extensive history within the field artillery and his battalion.
"It [the ball] opened my eyes ... I saw how close the spouses were," said King's spouse Deanna.
According to 1st Lt. Christopher Freeman, a Shelburne, Vt. native and rear detachment commander for the 3rd Bn., 82nd FA Regt., the most eye opening, memorable event of the evening for him was his marriage proposal to Emily Varvir of Dallas, Texas. She said yes.
The ball ended with a time of dancing and laughter. Cook said everyone enjoyed themselves and were appreciative for the opportunity to be regaled in a relaxed atmosphere away from the everyday motions of work.