All Marines, infantry or other, notice that other branches of the military have better-looking bases. A collective ‘what the hell, man,’ when we realize the grass is literally greener in other branches. Marines are the jocks of the military, it doesn’t take a lot to make a Marine happy. When we try to make a case for ourselves that we deserve shiny things, someone has to ruin it for everyone. ‘Rah.
1. Barracks parties can get out of hand
Exhibit A: The barracks party. A good 90% of the time it is just a group of dudes crushing cans of Bud Light and chain-smoking cigarettes. However, every now and then the planets align to form the perfect storm that is the other 10%. It’s the first day of post deployment leave block, everybody’s significant others are in town, it’s a pay day weekend, and no one has had a drop of alcohol for months. Pray.
That next Monday there will be evidence of a fire somewhere, beer cans and cigarettes litter the quad as far as the eye can see, someone went to jail. At least 10 fights happened but now they’re friends, a busted window or two, and some Marines are at the Battalion Aid Station awaiting shots of penicillin. One Christmas leave block we had a Marine get NJP’d for streaking naked in Japan. All of this without hardcore drugs.
2. Marines get in trouble often
The streaking Marine would strike again. Marines are tough, so, eventually the novelty of punishments wears off. This is why corporal punishment doesn’t work; it’s not fair. Why not do the crime if you’re going to do the time? In the civilian world you are innocent until proven guilty, in the military you are guilty until proven innocent. Is it any wonder Marines party harder than any other branch? We know we’re going to get in trouble even if we follow the rules, cheers.
3. The Marine Corps is underfunded
The Marine Corps has no money. We’re pot, we Po’. Point blank our chow halls are garbage, our living quarters are garbage, our garbage is garbage. It is outside of our control what tools we get. We adapt and overcome, at least everything is clean. Yes, the barracks may be falling apart but it has been bleached and waxed! Regardless, we like that the money is spent on equipment and training instead. I remember the first time I shot an AT-4 rocket launcher as a private, it did not matter how bad the food was, that sh*t was cool.
4. The Air Force took all the nice locations
Why are Marines not allowed to be on Air Force bases? We would mutiny, that’s why. Marines aren’t officially banned but Marine leadership knows that morale will plummet. In the Marine Corps your meals are charged from your pay whether you used it or not. In the Air Force you pay for what you consume. Our bases are in a swamp, a desert, or an island you cannot leave. Dealers choice. Air Force bases need airspace with favorable conditions for routine flight paths. We’re a little jelly; that’s why we make fun of them the most.
5. Rank equals privilege mentality
There is a method to the madness. Tired of roommates? Want more pay? Want to be far away from junior enlisted and officers so you can crack a cold one in peace? Get promoted and gain access to the Staff NCO Club. The number one reason Marines can’t have nice things is by design. Nice things are for closers.
There’s nothing that projects American force like an amphibious assault ship or carrier on the horizon, since they’re floating fortresses of the sea. For sailors, serving on these vessels is like hitting the jackpot in terms of living space. But for Marines, life on a Navy ship is less than stellar.
The boys of Terminal Boots (Lance Cpls. Deacon Gerard, John Davis and Joseph Jewett) put together this short video showing what life is like for Marines on a US Navy ship.
At one point in the video, an off-camera questioner asks, “how do you feel being aboard a Naval vessel?” The response: “Honestly, I’d rather be back in jail.” There are plenty more laughs. Watch:
This hilarious 2013 video footage shows the moment a female airman gets tasered and instinctively grabs for anything — which for one unsuspecting male airmen — was the worst possibility.
The airman had no control over the junk-grab, since being tased impedes your nervous system. A U.S. Air Force training article describes the experience:
Two small, dart-like electrodes strike a person’s body with 50,000 volts of electricity causing them to experience stimulation of their sensory and motor nerves resulting in strong, involuntary muscle contractions.
Those strong, involuntary muscle contractions clearly affected the airman on the right.
Retired U.S. Navy Captain and former NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly once received a full gorilla suit in a care package while living on the International Space Station. He didn’t tell anyone about it. One day, without warning his fellow crew, he put it on. Hilarity ensued.
And luckily for us, there’s video:
Kelly was a fighter pilot in the Navy before becoming a U.S. astronaut. A veteran of four space flights, he commanded the International Space Station (ISS) on three expeditions and was a member of the yearlong mission to the ISS from March 27, 2015, to March 2, 2016. His book, Infinite Wonder, features the photographs he took during that year. In October 2015, he set the record for the total accumulated number of days spent in space.
It was his brother, Captain Mark Kelly, who sent the gorilla suit care package. Mark Kelly is also a retired U.S. Navy pilot, engineer, and NASA astronaut, and the husband of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.
Who else could get away with sending such a gift?
The Kelly twins have also been part of an investigation on the health effects of long-term space flight. While Scott lived aboard the ISS for a year, Mark remained on Earth as a “genetically identical ground control.” Scientists have been able to discern the effects of space on the human body to the DNA and chromosomal level, from Scott’s gut microbiome to the thickening in his retina and carotid artery.
These kinds of studies help give clues toward human health as we explore space. While the ISS is in low-Earth orbit and not deep space like, say, Mars, the findings give scientists more information about the effects of space travel.
Toys today are much safer than those our parents had – and that’s a good thing. Even though so many bemoan the “everyone gets a trophy” mindset, let’s face it, some of the toys of yesteryear may have seemed like fun to the adults designing them, but they weren’t the best idea in the hands of children. These banned children’s toys might actually have “fun” purposes, but we think they’re really best for training kids for war.
The toys of yesteryear had so much going for them. These fun features allowed kids to main, poison, spear, and otherwise seriously injure their playmates. All in the name of good fun! This list of banned toys might no longer be around, but they’re still alive in our hearts. If you’re too young to have enjoyed these wild toys, just ask anyone born before 1900. Chances are they not only remember them but have the scars to prove it.
1. Lawn Darts
Also called “Jarts,” anyone who grew up in the 90s remembers these banned darks. What a random idea for a toy! Lawn darts are pointed steel stakes with plastic stabilizer fins, weighted to always come down point first. The idea was to stand far from a marked target area, then toss the darts high in the air, so they come down within the area.
What really happened, as you might expect, is the darts never hit their targets and hit eyeballs, elbows, and everywhere else instead.
2. The CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit
Prayers everywhere were answered when the CSI Fingerprint Kit hit the shelves. Or at least, the prayers of 10 year olds, that is. Finally, pre-teens everywhere could solve mysteries and drop one-liners as they put on their sunglasses. The kit also helped kids learn how to operate in a chemical warfare environment since the dust used to lift the fingerprints contained tremolite, a deadly form of carcinogenic asbestos. This banned toy was pulled from the shelves shortly after its arrival, but we’re not totally sure why.
3. The Atomic Energy Laboratory
Does your little one have the problem of being lumped into some kind of “Axis of Evil?”
Well, all you need to do now is go back in time and get your hands on the Gilbert Atomic Energy Laboratory. The U-238 Lab (yes, that was its name) came complete with radioactive materials to get the little Marshal and the glorious people’s democratic revolutionary nuclear program up and running before he meets the same fate as Saddam. Wait, in case you didn’t read that all the way through – the U-238 Lab came with radioactive materials. There are so many obvious reasons why this is on the banned toy list. Can you imagine giving nuclear materials to a 10 year old?
4. Kite Tube
Ever wanted to practice some Navy SEAL skills in a CRRC when you were a kid? Not being a SEAL and not having a CRRC should have stopped no one. In fact, young kids could have had CRCC skills training and airborne training – at the same time. Enter the Kite Tube. This banned toy is actually as dangerous or worse than any military live-fire exercise. And it’s probably killed more people than ISIS.
5. Splash Off Water Rockets
They aren’t from North Korea, they just act like they are. The idea behind the Splash Off Water Rocket is that the main compartment would fill up with water pressure until it had enough pressure to slip the surly bonds of Earth.
Unfortunately for kids, instead of breaking Earth’s bond, it shattered the compartment, launching plastic shrapnel in 360-degrees at water rocket velocity. So while this could teach kids to accept failure like the North Korean missile program, it could also teach them to dodge mortar and grenade shrapnel.
6. Mattel’s Sonic M Blaster
I’m not actually certain this was ever banned, but if it hadn’t premiered in the 1950s, it would have been. Nothing beats letting your kids fire a compressed air gun that not only fired the burst of air but also was loud enough to rupture an eardrum at close range. It was a weapon meant for a young Snake Plissken.
In case you were wondering, yes, that’s a young Kurt Russell taking out his neighbor’s property. They won’t do anything about it, because hopefully, they know better than to mess with a kid that’s learning to aim and fire a bazooka.
7. Austin Magic Pistol
You know it’s a weapon when the size of the round in the toy is on the cover of the box. This 1940s-era muzzle-loaded “toy” used an explosive mix of calcium carbide (aka “Magic Crystals”) and water to fire a ping-pong ball at high velocity.
Who doesn’t love a good laugh at their employer’s expense? It’s all the stuff that you have to deal with, day in and day out. Only this time, it’s poking fun at the bear. It’s not you on the chopping block, it’s someone else. That means it’s time to let loose and relax — all while getting in a solid chuckle. There’s no exception for Army jokes. In fact, we laugh that much harder, knowing there are so many solid jokes at the expense of Uncle Sam. Take a read and join us in chuckling over the expense of the institution that is the U.S. Army.
Acronyms at their best:
ARMY — a recruiter misled you
2. This low-blow at boots on the ground:
What do you call kids in the military?
3. Getting cheesy:
What do you call a soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray?
A seasoned veteran.
4. When backtalk is still funny:
As a group of soldiers stood in formation at an Army Base, the Drill Sergeant said, “All right! All you idiots fall out.”
As the rest of the squad wandered away, one soldier remained at attention. The Drill Instructor walked over until he was eye-to-eye with him. The soldier smiled and said, “Sure were a lot of ’em, huh, sir?”
5. Past careers come to light:
Did you hear about the karate master who joined the military?
He saluted and nearly chopped off his own head.
6. Training done right:
A drill sergeant grumbles at his fresh young trainee, “I didn’t see you at camouflage training this morning, Private.”
“Thank you very much, Sir,” replies the soldier.
7. The laws of nature:
If God had meant for us to be in the Army, we would have been born with baggy green skin.
8. Pulling rank:
During training exercises, the Lieutenant who was driving down a muddy back road encountered another car stuck in the mud with a red-faced Colonel at the wheel.
“Your car stuck, sir?” asked the Lieutenant as he pulled alongside. “Nope,” replied the colonel, coming over and handing him the keys. “Yours is.”
9. A macabre play on words:
Overheard at the VFW, “When I was in the Army, I got both my arms shot off.”
“I shouldered on, anyway.”
10. A trip down memory lane:
Son: Dad, what was your favorite day as a soldier?
Dad: The first time I sent some private to find batteries for the chem lights.
11. A difference in opinions:
The company commander and the sergeant were in the field. As they go to bed for the night, the first sergeant said: “Sir, look up into the sky and tell me what you see?”
The commander said: “I see millions of stars.”
Sgt: “And what does that tell you, sir?”
“Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Theologically, it tells me that God is great and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it tells me that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you, Top?”
Sgt: “Well sir, it tells me that somebody stole our tent.”
12. Getting punny:
What do you get when you drop a piano on an Army officer?
A flat major.
These jokes poke fun at the largest military branch to date, we can all slap our knees at its expense. Whether you’ve served or just enjoy a quick chuckle, these jokes are bound to brighten your day.
Have some great Army jokes to share? Tell us below.
The 9/11 terrorist attacks launched the war on terrorism and ruined air travel as we knew it. So the TSA was born.
You used to be able to get through security in less than 15 minutes, but with the creation of the Transportation Security Administration the process takes a lot longer. However, despite this first-world-problem, TSA has foiled over 39 terror plots, according to The Heritage Foundation.
Some may see the TSA as an inconvenience, but to the al-Qaeda fighters in this video, “they are an elite force of anti-terrorist commandos.”
Wookies. Homo Spaciens. The Anti-Gravity Gang. Rocketmen. Floaty Bois.
Those questionable offerings were among about 400 suggestions on what to call members of the military’s newest branch, submitted by Air Force and Space Force members before “Guardians” was chosen in December, according to a list provided to Military.com on Friday.
Other suggestions included Starmen, Rangers, Gladiators, Cadets, Trekkies (in honor of the popular “Star Trek” franchise), Luminaires and STARgeants.
Someone even suggested: “Nothing, because you wouldn’t hear it in space anyway.”
Last year, Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, chief of space operations for the Space Force, said the service was sifting through nearly 700 crowdsourced names of what to call its space professionals. In December, then-Vice President Mike Pence made the official announcement that Space Force members would be called Guardians.
“Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Guardians will be defending our nation for generations to come,” Pence said during a ceremony the day before the Space Force’s 1st birthday.
Space enthusiasts and military members were quick to point out that “Guardians” evokes the Marvel Comics’ “Guardians of the Galaxy” film franchise about a motley crew of superheroes in space.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” was also a submission, according to the service’s list.
In 2016, the Air Force unveiled its list of rejected names for its new stealth B-21 bomber, which was ultimately named Raider after the Doolittle Raiders, the World War II-era bomb crews who launched morale-boosting strikes on Tokyo after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor.
They’re not our moms or our dads, but they are just as tired of our tomfoolery. Commanders put up with our clowning while taking the brunt of responsibility from Leadership for the squadron and let’s remember: all sh*t rolls downhill. Thanks to the Commander, probably a little less rolled down to us. This holiday season, let’s show our Commanders our appreciation for driving them to the brink of insanity on a weekly, if not hourly, basis.
Ear Plugs: for when they have to sit through yet another meeting about the length of your sideburns. You could also swipe some of these guys from the front desk on your way out to the flightline.
Scotch: single malt is best, though more economical alternatives will also do the trick in case SNACKO funds are running low. Pay your SNACKO bills people. Commander deserves the good stuff.
Spoofer Email Address: to deflect orders from higher ups to requisition volunteers for Wing-wide mandatory fun. Can’t reply to an email you never get.
GPS Tile: to track that one guy in your squadron who can’t make it back in time before curfew. Which was created because of him in the first place after a night in Songan… or Iwakuni…or Sigonella…or Phuket…or Dubai…or Yuma… or….
A Giant A** Umbrella: We all have our commanders to thank for the protection they provide from the ongoing storm of sh*t that rains down from the Good Idea Fairies known as Leadership.
A Giant A** Butterfly Net: Alternatively, to keep the hare-brained shenanigan butterflies from fluttering around the squadron up to Leadership.
Flowers: for their spouses. No doubt the hours they’ve spent worrying about us have taken their attention away from their family. Their real kids probably did not drink a bottle of Fireball and then get handcuffed on the curb for peeing in the bushes near a Saddle Ranch, and yet the Commander has to answer that call at 2am. We’re sorry. And it wasn’t our fault. It was only a security guard anyway, not the real police.
A Laser Pointer – because herding cats is hard and they deserve to have their fun.
One of the benefits of quarantine is catching up on every single television show ever made. There’s nothing better than revisiting some of the classics and clearly, Cheers has to make that list. What’s extra entertaining is when these 40-year-old shows accurately predict the future (like these M*A*S*H episodes).
In episode five of season one, Cheers absolutely nails it.
In this episode, titled “Coach’s Daughter,” customer Chuck (played by Tim Cunningham) sits at the bar and tells bartender Sam (Ted Danson) and the Cheers’ regulars that he has a new job at a biology lab. He shares his anxiety about working with mutant viruses and the reaction from the Cheers’ crew couldn’t be any more fitting to what we are experiencing with COVID-19.
Cheers ran from 1982 through 1993 with 275 half-hour episodes. Although it was almost cancelled early on, it made it an impressive 11 seasons. Set in a bar in Boston, visiting the friendly location on the airwaves became a weekly household staple, with everyone wanting to visit the place, “Where everybody knows your name.” Cheers earned 26 Emmy Awards, six Golden Globe Awards and many other accolades. It remains one of the best shows in history.
Cheers had several episodes with military-connected plots, although none better than “One for the Book,” which aired December 9, 1982. In this iconic episode, two customers enter the friendly neighborhood establishment, and of course their paths should meet. One is Buzz Crowder played by Ian Wolfe.
Buzz and his buddies from WWI agree to meet every 10 years for a reunion, but just as we see with our WWII veterans present day, Buzz’s peers are dwindling. In this episode, Buzz is the last one left. Luckily for him, you may walk into Cheers alone, but you’ll never leave without making friends. In “One for the Book,” that friend happens to be a young man getting ready to head to the monastery and looking for a night of fun before he becomes a monk.
Photo: Cheers, NBC Universal
While Cheers ran on NBC, all 275 episodes are now available for streaming on CBS All Access. Start today and we’re confident you can finish the series before the end of quarantine. Or, let’s be honest, by the end of the week.
You’ve done the crafts, you’ve read the entire internet and you’ve finished Netflix. All there’s left to do is cry, eat and laugh. We’ll help you out with the last one. Hope you and yours are staying safe, healthy and somewhat sane.
These are your top 50 memes and tweets for the week of April 20:
1. Everything is fine
At least he’s maintaining social distancing.
2. The word of the mom
3. Conference calls
Zoom backgrounds make it better.
4. Laughter IS the best medicine
Oh Dad. So smart.
5. Happy little tree
I want peopleeeeeee.
6. Atta boy
Nothing to see here, nothing to see.
7. True transformation
I’m not proud of how hard I laughed at that one!!
8. The boombox
We’ve trained our whole life for this.
9. So loud
What are you eating, BONES?
10. M.J. knew
Now if we could just heal the world…
11. More vodka, please!
These are good life skills.
12. Reality tv
No wonder my kids like to watch other kids playing with toys on YouTube. We do the same thing with HGTV.
13. No pants
I can’t imagine having to wear shoes to a meeting again…
14. Hand washing
So many temptations to touch your face.
15. Catch me outside
How bout dat?
16. Shady pines
Might have to binge watch Golden Girls.
17. So much truth
If you having tortilla chips for breakfast means I don’t have to cook…
18. Iguana private office
Something about you getting on the phone screams, “COME TALK TO ME.”
19. SPF 15
At least you’re getting your vitamin D.
20. Dreams do come true
You bought it “for the pandemic.”
21. Pro tip
It’s like working out, but easier.
The sun is not impressed.
Every parent ever.
The sweatshirt is a nice touch. I bet her Barbie dream house is covered in crafts and regret.
25. Jax beach
26. What happens in Vegas…
Quarantine needs to stay in April 2020.
27. SO much truth
And most of them look tired.
28. Pajama shorts
Trick question. You don’t have to wear pants.
29. Good PR
Mmm ice cream.
30. Singing in the rain
31. Sick car
Taped together and barely holding on — a working title of everyone’s 2020 memoir.
32. Get it girl
No but seriously, why did I eat all my snacks?
33. Dun-dun. Dun-dun. Dun-dun.
To be fair, everyone didn’t die.
34. Lightning speed
Well played, fastest man in the world.
35. All by myself
We feel you, Ernie.
The isolation has turned to boredom.
We heard there’s a DUI checkpoint in the hallway though, so be careful.
38. Last nerves
Every. Little. Thing.
39. Grooming at home
All of our DIY haircuts and grooming.
40. Apologies, ya’ll
Lots of self-awareness happening.
It does, Kermie. It does.
42. Mind over matter
Beware my special powers.
43. Dogs know the truth
Stop judging me.
44. You can’t have both
This is why we can’t have nice days.
Deep thoughts by Dad.
46. Zoom stand in
I think people would pay for this.
47. You did it!
At least you didn’t quit.
48. Pinky promise
Just boxed wine. Not the ‘rona.
49. You know that’s right
Maybe you’ll get a “spa day” in the bathroom by yourself.
Marines are proud – it’s on our posters and commercials but there are things that inspire pride that should be secured and to kept to themselves. Marines take things too far and can’t have nice things. This phenomenon of belligerence has led to uniform regulations bans because we like to stick it tothe man. The Marine Corps’ green weenie got a taste of it’s own medicine and it didn’t like it.
Two sizes too tight
At the PX, Postal Exchange, everyone always bought them two sizes too small. Marines come in all shapes and sizes and there were those that really wanted to get the point across. Silkies prevent chafing if you wear the correct size. Every 6’2, small size wearing, water buffalo looking Marine on a run uses the excuse ‘they didn’t have my size.’ Okay, but was it necessary to roll them up and cut out the inner lining too? Stop asking me to be your sit up partner.
The infantry would run across base to taunt the support units
Grunts would go out of their way to run down PT road and right up to the Division Head Quarters just to jog in place. If memory serves me well, there use to be pull up bars right outside the office windows and people wanted to show their dedication to physical fitness. Pump out a full set with unwavering eye contact. Those pull up bars were moved.
They would stretch far longer than necessary
Warmups prevent injury. Unsurprisingly, Marines demonstrate that they know every stretch in perfect form, for science.
The ban has loopholes
Olive green trunks of any material, similar in design to the current standard issue general purpose trunks, may be worn at the option of the individual on all occasions for which the PT uniform is authorized/prescribed. Optional trunks may be purchased through Marine Corps Exchanges or commercial sources and are not required to contain Marine Corps approval identification. For comfort and/or modesty, Marines are authorized to wear tights under the general purpose trunks that are not longer than, and the same color as the general purpose trunks.
MCO 1020.34H, 3023 1 b.
Marines never accept defeat. It’s what makes the Devil Dog so ferocious in the face of adversity. They never retreat, never surrender. However, for some reason this is one of the hills we decided to die on and never let go.
In 2011 the base banned silkies along with the rest of the Marine Corps. From what can be observed in the order, they’re banned from unit PT due to uniformity. The first loophole is that during individual PT one can wear whatever one wants. The second loophole is if the leader of the formation decides the uniform of the day is silkies, everyone must wear it. The third and final loophole is there is no MARADMIN specifically forbidding them. There is no written rule anywhere that states you can’t other than MCO 1020.34H, which is vague at best.
Past commandants refuse to acknowledge the topic. Silkies are comfortable – for the wearer. That’s the point, they make the leadership uncomfortable while simultaneously keeping the troops cool during physical training. That’s why they’re banned on Camp Lejeune. Marines adapt and overcome, unfortunately, in this case.
The Dining-In is a military custom that predates the Air Force, the military, even the United States. There are many versions of it, whether that branch calls it Mess Night, Regimental Dinner, or something else. Though other branches hold these, this is one of the oldest traditions of the youngest branch of service.
The Dining-In is held at any unit level – Wing, Group, or Squadron. This is the most traditional form of Air Force unit social events, where dress uniforms are expected and rules and ceremony are to be followed. A proper Dining-In will include hails and farewells, as well as recognition for achievement. The function is supposed to be a morale-building event, after all.
The Dining-In is one of very few events in official Air Force culture where drinking a lot in front of your unit is encouraged and being an overachiever won’t get you sent to ADAPT. Just have a designated driver (or four) on stand-by. The rules are strict and many will be sent to the Grog Bowl (more on that later).
Chief Master Sgt. William Wade, the superintendent of the 59th Clinical Support Group, samples the grog at the 2nd Annual Joint Dining-In. (U.S. Air Force photo by Robbin Cresswell)
The Air Force iteration is said to have started in the 1930s with the Army Air Corps’ General H. “Hap” Arnold’s “wing dings.” Many of its original traditions are still very much alive. While the customs of the Dining-In holds formality above all else, it’s important to remember the point of this is to have fun and build morale.
Dress is considered “Black Tie.” Officers will be in mess dress, Enlisted will wear mess dress or semi-formal dress uniforms. Some events will have a military band present, and as such, the diners may be ordered to march to their seats.
And there are other orders.
The Rules of the Mess
Thou shalt arrive within 10 minutes of the appointed hour.
Thou shalt make every effort to meet all guests.
Thou shalt move to the mess when thee hears the chimes and remain standing until seated by the President.
Thou shalt not bring cocktails or lighted smoking material into the mess.
Thou shalt smoke only when the smoking lamp is lit.
Thou shalt not leave the mess whilst convened. Military protocol overrides all calls of nature.
Thou shalt participate in all toasts unless thyself or thy group is honored with a toast.
Thou shalt ensure that thy glass is always charged when toasting.
Thou shalt keep toasts and comments within the limits of good taste and mutual respect. Degrading or insulting remarks will be frowned upon by the membership. However, good-natured needling is encouraged.
Thou shalt not murder the Queen’s English.
Thou shalt not open the hangar doors. (talk about work)
Thou shalt always use the proper toasting procedures.
Thou shalt fall into disrepute with thy peers if the pleats of thy cummerbund are not properly faced.
Thou shalt also be painfully regarded if the clip-on bow tie rides at an obvious list. Thou shalt be forgiven, however, if thee also ride at a comparable list.
Thou shalt consume thy meal in a manner becoming gentlepersons.
Thou shalt not laugh at ridiculously funny comments unless the President first shows approval by laughing.
Thou shalt express thy approval by tapping thy spoon on the table. Clapping of thy hands will not be tolerated.
Thou shalt not question the decisions of the President.
When the mess adjourns, thou shalt rise and wait for the President and head table guests to leave.
Thou shalt enjoy thyself to thy fullest.
Violations of Etiquette
Failures to comply with the rules of the mess are “punished,” generally with fines or a trip to the Grog. The Grog, held in a Grog Bowl (usually an unused toilet), consists of multiple types and flavors of alcoholic drinks blended together, and may even contain other things, like Tootsie Rolls or oysters. It is a punishment, after all.
Any member of the mess can call out violations warranting a trip to the grog bowl at any time. Members bring infractions to the attention of the President by addressing the mess and raising a point of order. If the validity of the charge is questioned, members vote by tapping their spoons on the table.
When the President sentences a violator to the grog bowl, the person proceeds to the bowl promptly, remembering to march and perform all proper facing movements. The bowl is usually located on or near the Vice’s table. Upon arriving at the grog bowl, the violator does the following:
An about face and salutes the President
An about face to the bowl and fills the cup
An about face and toasts the mess: “To the Mess”
Drink the cup completely then inverted over their head to ensure it is empty.
Does an about face, replaces the cup, about faces again, salutes the President, and returns to their seat.
Except for the toast, the violator is not permitted to speak at all.
President – the central figure of the event and primary planner, usually the ranking commander of the organization. The President will oversee the Dining-In and appoint subordinate officers:
The President also ensures the Dining-In has a speaker and a chaplain for the Invocation. He or she will greet all the guests before dinner is served and will open and close the mess.
Vice-President – The chief assistant to the President, usually the most junior-ranking officer (but the President may choose anyone to serve in this role). The VP sits alone in the back of the room, facing the President, observing the proceedings and making not of violations of the Rules of the Mess and breaches of etiquette.
While usually the VP is a comfortable position, here the VP is the MC – the toastmaster – the success of the event depends on the Dining-In VP’s wit, levity, and ability to keep the show going. The Veep is also responsible for opening the lounge, sounding the dinner chimes, and preparing toasts as directed by the President. He or she must compose poems and jokes (in good taste) at the expense or tribute only to those persons and organizations who are present. The VP is the last person to leave the party.
Arrangements Officer – Responsible to the President for handling the details involved with planning the evening’s events, but is not to make any final decisions without the advice and consent of the President.
The AO will set the seating arrangements and ensure each seat is marked with the proper name and organization, will ensure proper flags and awards are in place, set up suitable microphone and lectern systems for the speaker and chaplain, ensure the VP has the necessary dinner chimes, arrange the photographer, publish a proper agenda for the evening as well as a guest list, and hire the hat and coat check team.
The day after, the AO will prepare letters of appreciation for the President to sign and send to guests of honor and others who helped with the evening.
Mess Officer – The Mess Officer will handle all responsibilities related to the actual food preparation.
Protocol Officer – The Protocol Officer Ensures everyone receives a formal invitation at least four weeks in advance of the event and will take RSVPs and will get biographical information on special guests for the other officers. The PO will ensure transportation and billeting arrangements are made and will make the seating arrangements for the Head Table. The PO briefs the Escort Officers on protocol requirements related to the guests, handles parking arrangements, and advises on flag arrangements.
Escort Officers – One escort officer should be appointed for each official and personal guest. The EO will contact their assigned guest in advance to discuss dress, location, meeting point, and composition of the audience. If the guests are from out of town, the EO will meet them at their initial arrival point and arrange for transportation and accommodations during their stay. It is essential the EO brief the guest on the customs, courtesies, rules, and procedures of the Mess.
Make sure the guest is properly introduced to as many members of the mess as possible. They will ensure their guest is always in the company of several members of the mess, yet take care that no individual or group monopolizes the guest. Upon their guest’s departure, the EO will escort the guest to the point of departure and bid farewell on behalf of all members of the Mess.
This is how a dentist loads the Grog. (U.S. Air Force photo by Robin Cresswell)
Addressing the Mess
A member may want to raise a point of order, propose a toast, or identify infractions to the Rules of the Mess. The proper way is as follows:
Rise and state “Mr./Ms. Vice-President, a point of order”
When recognized by the VP, identify yourself and state your business.
It is required to speak in rhyme when addressing the Mess. The President may waive this and all other requirements as he or she sees fit. The penalty is being sent to the Grog.
Sequence of Events
The event starts with a cocktail hour. At the end of that hour, the VP will chime the mess to dinner. Members of the Head Table will remain in the cocktail lounge. Once the guests are in the dining area and standing at their assigned seats, whether marched or not, Head Table members file into the room in order and walk to the Head Table. After ruffles and flourishes are played, the President then calls the mess to order with a gavel and will propose the first toast. The first two are always the same and should be given as such:
Toast: “To the Commander-in-Chief”
Response: “To the President”
Toast: “To the Chief of Staff, United States Air Force”
Response: “To the Chief of Staff”
The proper response to further toasts is “Hear, Hear”.
Improper toasting procedures will be punished by a trip to the Grog. Serving staff should be prepared with a few bottles for each table – Often many toasts are given by the President, including to the heads of state of foreign visitors, the colors, other services, and more. When the President is done, the floor is open to any further toasts from the guests throughout the remainder of the evening.
Stand and identify yourself
Address the VP by saying, “Mr. Vice-President, I want to propose a toast”.
The VP informs the President and receives approval.
Everyone stands and the toast is given.
After toasting, the President will explain the POW/MIA table, make opening remarks and introduce the guests of honor – then dinner will be served. After dinner, the President will rap the gavel three times and call the house to Recess. During Recess, diners are excused to the lounge for cocktails while dinner is cleared and dessert is served. The VP will sound the chimes again to reconvene the diners (do not bring cigarettes or cocktails into the dining room).
As coffee and tea are served, the guest of honor will speak. After the guest speaks, the VP will propose a toast to him or her and the President will close the Mess, thanking the planners and retiring the colors. Between the posting of the colors and the retirement of the colors, other events are allowed, including handing out awards, and multiple guest speakers.
The Combat Dining-In
The newest of these traditions (and probably the most fun), these are very similar in function to the rules and tradition of the Dining-In, except they are far less formal. The rules are similar – but the differences are important to know. There aren’t any hard or fast ones because they vary by unit.
The sky is the limit – you may be forced to eat with your mess kit… or maybe they’re only serving MREs. You may not even get to eat because you’ll be throwing your dinner on another reveler. There are many variations to the rules of the combat version of this tradition.