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The Marines of 11th Marine Regiment celebrate Saint Barbara's Day--the patron saint of Artillery--in Las Pulgas, Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 21, 2016. The regiment remembered those Cannon Cockers who have gone before them with a memorial service, inducted new members into the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara, and added some levity with a homemade trebuchet competition. (Marine Corps photo by Cpl. April L. Price/Released)

Photo by Cpl. April Price

St. Barbara, the patron saint of field artillerymen

26 Jan 2016 | Cpl. April Price 11th Marine Regiment

The event brought together the newest members of with 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force to the most experienced artillerymen, as well as guests from within the community to strengthen their unbreakable bond and passion for being artillerymen.

According to legend, St. Barbara’s father, the tyrant and pagan Dioscorus, feared that his daughter was so beautiful that she would be demanded in marriage. If taken away from him, he also feared that she would have exposure to Christianity.

Therefore, he secluded her in a tower to hide her from the world. In her solitude, she would look out of her window and view living things and believed it was all part of a master plan so she gave herself to religion and received instruction into Christianity, and was baptized.

Her father Dioscorus, infuriated by her conversion, tortured his daughter and eventually took her life by beheading. As punishment for her death, God struck Dioscorus with lightning leaving only his sword as a reminder of God’s vengeance.

Because of her connection with lightning, people often call upon St. Barbara for protection against thunder, lightning, and accidents involving explosions or gunpowder. This is why artillerymen have an annual event to celebrate and give their thanks to this patron saint.

“St. Barbara’s Day is an opportunity to get together and celebrate our heritage and history as an artillery community and have fun,” said Sgt. Cesar Rodriguez, a high mobility artillery rocket system handler with 5th Battalion, 11th Marines.

At the end of the celebration, Marines were inducted into the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara, presenting the wives with necklaces represented the Molly Pitcher Award, and displayed several humorous skits and videos showing the fantasies artillerymen live.

“The Honorable Order of Saint Barbara is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated the highest standards of integrity and moral character, displayed an outstanding degree of professional competence and served the Artillery with selflessness,” explained Master GySgt. Daniel J. Brennan, a field artillery operations man with Headquarters Battery, 11th Marine Regiment.

Those awarded the Order of Saint Barbara receive a medallion attached to a red ribbon. The medallion for the Honorable Order is silver; the Ancient Order has a gold colored medallion. One side of the medallion depicts a cannon while the other has a likeness of Saint Barbara standing by a tower with three windows.

Brennan, a member of the prestigious group, said the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara is for Marines who have dedicated their life to going above and beyond what it means to be an artilleryman.

“We are one of the few communities in the Marine Corps that celebrate our heritage,” added Brennan.

With the celebration coming to an end the Marines toasted the United States of America, the Army and Navy, Marine Corps, artillerymen, and of course their patron Saint, Barbara.