Mike posted a series of excellent pics and a story about the Dining Out he attended recently. He cuts a fine figure in his Class A's, he does!
Reading Mike’s post and looking at his pictures fired off some long-dormant synapses in the ol’ brain. The Dining In is an old military tradition. I went looking for a little bit of a little background for you…
As an example, the wiki says absolutely nothing about The Grog Bowl, which, although watered down considerably from the Days of Yore, remains a central fixture of the Dining In/Out. One can devine the purpose of The Grog Bowl from the following:
The following rules will be strictly enforced. Violations will result in punitive action by the President of the Mess. He will be assisted by Mr.Vice and Madam Vice, who have in their possession a bottomless "Grog" bowl.
Break a rule (and there are many!), “win” a trip to The Grog Bowl. And here are the Rules of Engagement for The Grog Bowl:
Persons being directed to the grog bowl will:
1. Without talking, proceed directly to the grog bowl.
2. Station thyself in front of the grog bowl facing the head table.
3. Salute the President of the Mess.
4. Pour thyself a full cup of grog; about face, raise cup and state "To the Mess."
5. Drink the contents of the cup without removing [the bowl] from thy lips.
6. Show the cup to be empty by turning it upside down over thy head; remove cup.
7. About face; replace cup; about face again; salute the President of the Mess; return to thy seat.
Omission of any of the above steps will demand a repetition of the entire procedure.
Back in the day the contents of the Grog Bowl were designed expressly to be semi-lethal, in an alcoholic “you can’t partake of the Grog without getting seriously impaired” sort of way. Today? Not so much.
The contents of the grog bowl are best left to the imagination of the planning committee. The contents should be non-alcoholic as to not dampen the spirits and participation of those individuals who, for religious or personal reasons, do not consume alcoholic beverages. It is permissible to have two grog bowls, one alcoholic and one non-alcoholic.
I’ve seen (and imbibed) amazing alcoholic concoctions in those bowls and survived to tell the tale(s), none of which are forthcoming. Be glad!
Oh, by the way, about those long-dormant synapses… I was Mr. Vice at my NCO Academy Dining Out in 1977. Without going into any detail (OPSEC and memory-failure being the two chief reasons) I’ll simply say “A Good Time was had by ALL!” A memorable evening in each and every aspect.
Some days I really miss the Air Force.