Frequently asked questions

The United States Field Artillery Association recognizes the tremendous value of Saint Barbara's legacy, particularly the celebrations and awards associated with her name. Such activities and recognition bring the artillery's venerable history to mind, but they have another, more significant function. They establish a standard of excellence for aspiring Redlegs. More than any other event in the life of Field Artillery soldiers, Saint Barbara's Day offers an opportunity to enhance professional commitment and underscore lofty standards of excellence. That's why celebrations associated with Saint Barbara must be examples of excellence in planning and performance.

Our History

Reading the legend of Saint Barbara is an important part of every celebration. Such readings may be included as part of a ceremony for the Orders of Saint Barbara or may occur earlier in the program. There is no established rule about who should read the legend, but whoever does should practice. A good legend will include historical information and the symbolic importance of Saint Barbara.

St. Barbara's Day Celebrations

What is a "Dining Out"?

The dining-in is one of the more common ways to celebrate Saint Barbara's Day. It involves only Redlegs and selected guests. It is a formal dinner with strict rules of conduct. Two persons - Mr. President and Mr. Vice- control the progress of the dinner. This type of celebration is an excellent way to gather Redlegs together socially and build on the camaraderie of a particular unit. What's more, the formality of the dining-in underscores the significance of Saint Barbara's Day. There are, however, a few disadvantages associated with this format. It doesn't involve spouses and, unless strictly controlled, can be counterproductive.

The Dining-out. In modern parlance, the dining-out is quite similar to the dining-in. The only difference is spouses are included. The dining-out is a formal affair, and strict rules of conduct still apply.

Attire

Military Personnel

Dress for the celebrations should be Black Tie.This means military personnel should wear the black bow tie with one of the following uniforms:

  • Army Blue
  • Army Blue Mess
  • Army White
  • Army White Mess

Celebrants may wear ribbons or miniature or regular medals on the Army Blue or White uniforms. Miniature medals are appropriate on the Army Blue Mess or Army White Mess uniforms.

Civilian

For civilian guests, the appropriate attire will be the tuxedo or formal gown.

Rules of the Mess

The Receiving Line

Planners must give receiving lines special consideration. Many people tend to shy away from receiving lines. Such discourteous actions occur because many people don’t know how to conduct themselves in these situations. Planners must do whatever is necessary to educate those who will attend.

Receiving lines usually are located near an entrance and are kept as short as possible. The first person in the line will be an individual whose sole duty is to announce the names of the guests. This person doesn’t shake hands or carry on conversations. His job is merely to introduce the arriving guests to the next person in the line. The subsequent members of the line receive guests. Normally, commanders are asked to do this, but it can be a distinguished guest or whoever is sponsoring the function. Other distinguished persons complete the line.

As couples approach the line, the man moves to the right of the woman, so she is ahead of him, and states the woman’s name to the first person in line. The aide, or whoever is acting as the introducer, then turns to the first dignitary and introduces the woman. The dignitary shakes her hand, and says something similar to, Good evening, {name}, nice to see you. A reply on her part is appropriate. After the woman has been introduced, the man introduces himself to the aide. He then follows the same introductory procedure. Remember, extended conversation has no place in a receiving line. It may be useful to have several junior officers positioned close to the end of the line to direct guests away after they have completed the introductory process.

Toasts

Toasts are a traditional element of the dining-in and dining-out. They also may be incorporated into other celebrations. More often than not, toasts using wine occur after dinner, but toasts early in the program are appropriate. Planners must decide in advance the subject of each toast and the person who will present it. The toasts should be practiced before the celebration so each presenter knows when and how to give his particular toast. The presenter can be anybody in the unit, but a junior officer often is asked to give at least one toast. Toasts may be made to the President of the United States, the United States Army, the division, the regiment and the unit.

When guests from another country are present, the commander or highest official of the host country proposes a toast to the head of state of the guest’s country. When more than one foreign country is represented, the host may present a collective toast to all heads of state naming them in the order of the seniority of the representatives present. To this collective toast, the highest-ranking foreign officer present will respond on behalf of all by proposing a toast to the health of the host nation’s head of state. Finally, a toast should be given in the name of Saint Barbara.

The proper procedure for guests to follow during all toasts is to take the toasting glass and hold it at waist level. When the toast is proposed, repeat the subject of the toast, raise the glass to eye level and then take a drink. For example, when the President of the Mess says, Ladies and gentlemen, The United States of America, celebrants should respond, The United States of America, and take a drink. Remember, no toasts other than those listed in the program should be offered.

The Punch

Awards

The Honorable Order of St. Barbara

The Order of Saint Barbara is awarded through the U.S. Field Artillery Association (USFAA) and the Air Defense Artillery Association (ADAA) and has two levels:

  • The Honorable Order of Saint Barbara is awarded to those individuals who have demonstrated the highest standards of integrity and moral character, displayed an outstanding degree of professional competence, served the Artillery with selflessness; and contributed to the promotion of the Artillery branch. The approval is reserved for O-5 Field Artillery commanders when no O-6 commander is available. They may approve the award for those in or associated with their commands. When there is no such Field Artillery commander available, the Commanding General of the United States Army Field Artillery Center and Fort Sill is the approving authority.
  • The Ancient Order of Saint Barbara is reserved for those members of the artillery community who have achieved long-term, exceptional service to the artillery surpassing even their brethren in the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara. The approving authority for this award is the Commanding General, United States Army Field Artillery Center and Fort Sill.

The Molly Pitcher Award

The Honorable Order of Molly Pitcher is also bestowed by the U.S. Field Artillery Association (USFAA) and the Air Defense Artillery Association (ADAA) to recognize military spouses (historically women) who have voluntarily contributed in a significant way to the improvement of the U.S. Field Artillery or Air Defense Artillery Communities. The approval is reserved for O-5 Field Artillery commanders when no O-6 commander is available. They may approve the award for those in or associated with their commands. When there is no such Field Artillery commander available, the Commanding General of the United States Army Field Artillery Center and Fort Sill is the approving authority.