The patron saint of artillery

by Cpl. Charles Plouffe
U.S. Marine Corps

CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan -- St. Barbara’s Day has been celebrated by artillery men dating back to the 17th century in hopes to ward off thunderstorms, explosions, fires and sudden death.

3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment held a formal celebration the evening of March 9, 2018, for staff non-commissioned officers, officers and their spouses to come together and honor St. Barbara, the patron saint of artillerymen.

“This is one of the best events in the Marine Corps annually,” said Lt. Col. Ben Harrison, the 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment battalion commander. “We are very serious about the fact that all of the [military occupational specialties] in the regiment make our artillery successful in getting accurate and timely fires on target.”

During the celebration, several Marines of different MOSs were awarded the Order of St. Barbara Medallion for demonstrating a degree of professional competence and contributions to the promotion of the artillery branch.

The Honorable Order of St. Barbara, a board made up of members who were previous recipients of the award, recognizes Marines for their accomplishments in the artillery occupation and is an honorary society of both the Marine Corps and Army artillery community.

The night was full of laughter and tom-foolery, similar to a mess night, with a ceremonial grog, toasts, and skits to depict the birth of artillerymen in the military.

“St. Barbara’s Day allows our community to come together and celebrate the lifetime of servitude individuals have given to the artillery field,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Lamar Burris, a recipient of the St. Barbara’s Medallion. “I am honored to have received the award.”

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