VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. –
Past and present Virginia National Guard field artillery Soldiers gathered for the traditional Saint Barbara’s Day celebration Dec. 9, 2017, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, hosted by the 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
“The Order Saint Barbara is an honorary military society of the field artillery that links artillery men and women from the past and present in a brotherhood of professionalism and selfless service,” said Lt. Col. Shawn Talmadge, commander of 1st Battalion. “It is an honor to host this celebration, and I enjoy seeing Virginia’s artillery community come together to share stories and enjoy the camaraderie.”
Every December field artillery units across the U.S. Army and Marine Corps celebrate Saint Barbara’s Day, Talmadge said. The purpose of the celebration is to honor Saint Barbara, the patron saint of artillerymen and women, protector from thunderstorms, fires and sudden death. This celebration is traditionally recognized by a formal military dinner, often involving the presentation of the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara.
Talmadge explained that the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara recognizes those individuals who have demonstrated the highest standards of integrity and moral character; displayed an outstanding degree of professional competence; served the United States Army or Marine Corps Field Artillery with selfless¬ness; and contributed to the promotion of the field artillery in ways that stand out in the eyes of the recipient’s seniors, subordinates and peers. Those awarded the Order of Saint Barbara receive a medallion attached to a red ribbon. One side of the medallion depicts a cannon while the other has a likeness of Saint Barbara.
This year eight members of the Virginia Army National Guard received the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara Award. They are Lt. Col. Jeff Daniels, Maj. Bryan Hawley, Capt. Kelly Sparks, Sgt. Maj. Ron Posey, 1st Sgt. Scott Varisco, Sgt. 1st Class Billy Martin, Sgt. 1st Class Brian Powers and Staff Sgt. Derek Ayers.
This year’s “1-111th Best Battery” streamer award was presented to Capt. Travis Roth and 1st Sgt. Timothy Perry of Charlie Battery. The best battery streamer is awarded to the unit who demonstrates excellence throughout the training year in areas such as weapons qualification, physical fitness, drill attendance, tactical proficiency and overall operations. Charlie Battery “The Rain Battery” was reactivated on Jan 7, 2017.
Among the awards that highlighted the evening was the host commander’s remarks and state of the regiment update by Talmadge. The guest speaker for the evening was Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, who earned his commission as a field artillery officer.