Around the world, St. Barbara is recognized as the patron saint of field artillerymen. We associate her commitment and Courage with the qualities of those who have over the centuries, served the guns.
According to Legend, Barbara was the beautiful daughter of a wealthy pagan named Dioscorus, who lived in Necomedia, in Asia Minor around 300 A.D. Recognizing her unsurpassed beauty, Dioscorus imprisoned Barbara in a tower during his frequent and prolonged absences. But even incarceration could not keep this young beautiful woman from converting to Christianity. When the Pagan, Dioscorus learned of Barbara's conversion and her refusal to denounce her Christianity, he was enraged and dragged her before the local prefect who decreed the she be tortured and beheaded. Dioscorus carried out the sentence with his own sword. Later that same day, as the brutal heathen made his way home, he was struck down and consumed by a blinding flash of lightening. Only the remnants of his scorched garments and scarred sword remained as a reminder of his evil deed and of God's wrath.
Because of her faithfulness and her association with the avenging thunderbolt, Barbara has become the traditional patron saint of those who would seek protection from thunderstorms, fire, explosions, and sudden death. The gunners of the 17th century adopted St. Barbara as their patron saint because of the questionable reliability of their own cannons and to this day, artillerymen revere her selfless sacrifice and dignified service.
Therefore, Saint Barbara has come to be known as our benefactress to watch over all artillerymen throughout the world. It has become a proper tradition to remember St. Barbara in a what that is truly fitting of professional artillerymen. Upon gathering of the Marines that serve field artillery - a hearty meal with great amenities is served; the time-honored tradition of laying the artillery punch is performed, followed by the ceremonial induction of new artillerymen into the order of St. Barbara.