Monday, March 26, 2007

Dining Out

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…

In a very rare occurrence, the Wiki lets me down. Their entries for Dining In/Dining Out are pretty danged poor, to say the least. There are better descriptions here and here (pdf).

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.


  1. First things first:


    Hope it is a great one...

    As for the dining-ins and outs...mine went fine. My experience as Mr. Vice seemed well received, and no-one told me my career was over. So I guess I didn't cross any lines...maybe right up to a couple...but not over.

    I'll send pics...


  2. SN1 said: Hope it is a great one...

    Thanks! It's not over yet, but so far, so good.

    A great birthday would be (1) an excellent meal, followed by (2) a good cigar and a good single-malt, and (3) the company of the woman you love.

    As Meatloaf sang: "Two out of three ain't bad..."

    I burnt the last of the Partagas stash, btw, in reference to (2), above.

    Send those pics!!

  3. Thanks for the kind words, Buck.

    Also, happy birthday! Hope you had a good one.

  4. Happy B-day! I know it's technically the day after, but I have not gone to sleep yet so it's kind of close.

    I've enjoyed all the dining-ins tremendously. The last one was exceptionally note worthy because... I WAS THE LAST MAN STANDING! I love saying that.


  5. Happy Birthday! I knew your b-day was coming up, but I was not sure when. I hope you had a good day - even if you were not on the Isle of Muljeres.

  6. Happy Birthday Buck. Sorry I'm a day late. BTW, I remember some dinning-in's we attended.

  7. Thanks, all y'all!

    Sam sez: I WAS THE LAST MAN STANDING! I love saying that.

    And I would, too. Were it true... :-) of those wouldn't have been at Wakkanai, now, would it? Didn't we wind up across the street wowing all the ladies in our Class A's and clip-on bow ties, among other things?

    {Insert BIG Ol' Grin here!!!}

  8. Yes. The same night that steve took a dive out the second story window of "Momma Youngs" and broke his leg. Or was he tossed out the window?

  9. Dan asks: Or was he tossed out the window?

    My money's on "he fell," even though I didn't actually see it. Coz it would have taken three men and a boy to throw Steve out the window, no matter how drunk he may have been. And we, all of us (save the ...ahem... ladies), were just as sloshed (if not more so) than he was...which would have made the task of tossing his butt out the window exponentially more difficult.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.