Thunder Soldiers honored with Order of Saint Barbara

Current and former Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Norfolk-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team gather for their annual regimental muster and celebration of Saint Barbara’s Day Dec. 7, 2019, in Williamsburg, Virginia. (U.S. National Guard photo by Mike Vrabel)

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — Virginia National Guard field artillery Soldiers past and present gathered for the Norfolk-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s regimental muster and Saint Barbara’s Day celebration Dec. 7, 2019, in Williamsburg, Virginia. 

As part of the festivities, deserving individuals were presented with the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara and the Ancient Order of Saint Barbara.  

 According to the Field Artillery Association, 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 selflessness; 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 alike. 

During the ceremony, 11 Soldiers were presented with the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara: Lt. Col. Damien Boffardi, Lt. Col. Colin Noyes, Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Posey, Capt. Matthew Guyer, Capt. Matthew Engle, Sgt. 1st Class Donald Hartung, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Fortner, Sgt. 1st Class Nicole Erasmus, Sgt. 1st Class William Fisher, Staff Sgt. Christopher Fisher and Staff Sgt. James Miller. 

The Ancient Order is reserved for an elite few whose long-term dedication to the Field Artillery has embodied the spirit, dignity and sense of sacrifice and commitment epitomized by Saint Barbara.  It recognizes the select few who stand above their brethren of the Honorable Order in terms of conspicuous, life time service for or on behalf of the United States Army Field Artillery or Marine Corps Field Artillery.  The Ancient Order is the more distinguished of the two levels of the Order of Saint Barbara. 

During the ceremony, four individuals were awarded with the Ancient Order of Saint Barbara, including retired Brig. Gen. Robert Tucker, Lt. Col. Shawn Talmadge, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Roger Hall and Command Sgt. Maj. Stanley Mosley, who are both retiring in 2019 after decades of service.

Before the Order presentations, Lt. Col. Charles E. Reinhold, the commander of the Thunder Battalion, spoke about the units 2019 accomplishments, including a historic exercise in April. 

The Thunder Soldiers listened to the guest speaker, retired Col. Michael Coleman, who discussed the importance of professionalism and service with the unit. 

Hampton-based Charlie Battery was named the “best battery” during the event for their efforts in 2019. (U.S. National Guard photo by Mike Vrabel)

As a conclusion to the ceremony, the Hampton-based Charlie Battery was presented with the “best battery” streamer for their guidon. The streamer is awarded to the unit which demonstrates excellence throughout the training year in areas such as weapons qualification, physical fitness, drill attendance, tactical proficiency, and overall operations.

VNG Soldiers assigned to the Troutville-based 29th Infantry Division Band provided ceremonial and festive music for the occasion.