By Sharon McBride, Field Artillery School STRATCOMNovember 21, 2011
FORT SILL, Okla. -- With the passing of Halloween and on to Thanksgiving -- and with Christmas and New Years just around the corner, most are officially kicking off the holiday season.
For the Field Artillery branch, the holiday season also marks a time to bond as a branch as units prepare to host their annual Saint Barbara's day celebrations. With Saint Barbara celebrations, also comes a laundry list of protocols and requirements that can vary depending on what type of celebration the chain of command decides to hold.
The most common is a Saint Barbara's Ball, but there's also the dining-in, the dining-out, a dinner dance, and lastly, a parade. Although all of these celebrations are different, there are certain elements common to most of them such as receiving lines, toasts, the reading of legends and awardees inductions. These are important activities and should be included when appropriate.
But where should planners go for resources to make sure their event is a success, follows traditional protocols and courtesies, and includes all the important elements for the type of event planned?
For all Field Artillery units' convenience, the United States Army Field Artillery School has posted on their website, located at http://sill-www.army.mil/USAFAS , a one-stop resource for all things related to Saint Barbara.
Look for the Saint Barbara graphic located on the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Click this hotspot and the center of the page will list recommended and approved Fires Center of Excellence talking points for Saint Barbara speeches. Once opened, planners should look at the top of the page for additional hot links to an all-inclusive "How To" guide to conduct celebrations and a "Cheat Sheet" for award nominations.
The "How To" guide includes protocols as well as customs and courtesies recommended for all events. Also included is a sample script, recommended toasts, agendas, timelines, music selections as well as history and legends. Nomination procedures for the Order of Saint Barbara and the Artillery Order of Molly Pitcher can also be found within. Punch recipes and a sample invitation are also included. The "Cheat Sheet" is an easy reference guide for St. Barbara's Award packet procedures.
All information is provided courtesy of the U.S. Field Artillery Association. The FA association itself can also be a great resource for all units, regardless of affiliation or membership status, for planning Saint Barbara celebrations. Located on Fort Sill, their phone is 580-355-4677. They can also be found on the web at www.fieldartillery.org.
"Hosting Saint Barbara celebrations with its associated traditions provides us an anchor to the past. It is reminder of where we have been, and how we have arrived here," said Col. Richard M. Cabrey, commandant, U.S. Army Field Artillery School. "It showcases the elements of our chosen military profession of Field Artillery that distinguishes us from other branches and conveys the richness of our history and the experience of our units and formations.
"By providing this connection with our past it will lend our Soldiers a sense of meaning and purpose, as well as providing an excellent opportunity to coach and mentor our young and upcoming leaders on what it means to be an artillery Soldier," Cabrey said.
"As our Army transforms to face the future, remember Saint Barbara celebrations are meant to inform and inspire future generations of Soldiers and leaders about our heritage even as they seek to create new paths of their own. Have a great Saint Barbara's Day celebration," he said.