Marine Mess Night/Celebration of USMC 233rd Birthday

Ok, we’re taking a break from talking about everything I do during the week, and today you are going to get a special edition of “my exciting life.” All I’m going to talk about this time is the Marine mess night I went to last night celebrating the 233rd birthday of the Marine Corps.

Observation #1: Marines Rock, yes capital R, Rock. I think the Marines Corps attract all the cool people, and anyone who isn’t already cool becomes cool just by being a Marine. I haven’t had so much fun with so many people in a long time…..take that back, ever.

Observation #2: If you are not a Marine, you have no idea, though I will try to explain.

Observation #3: Parties are fun when they involve Marines.

Observation #4: I am slightly biased toward Marines (I wonder why that is? Maybe becaaaausse….MARINES ROCK)

Ahem….so anyway it was lots of fun. My date was…..drumroll please……my 50 sum year old 3rd cousin Will Logan, who happens to be former Navy enlisted. I know, its lame, but Will is the most amazing and fun person to be around, and he has been well trained by his wonderful wife Linda (thank you, Linda, for letting me borrow your husband ;)>), we had a great time together.

In case any of you are confused, let me explain about mess night. In the navy when a ship is out at sea, the officers usually have dinner together in the officer’s mess. The commanding officer of the ship acts as the president of the mess and another officer acts as the vice of the mess. During mess time there are strict rules about how you can act and what you can and can’t do (for instance you must get permission from the president of the mess to leave the table). They are part of the 200+ year tradition of the navy. Last night was a marine mess night which was also the celebration of the marine corps birthday (Nov 10th). So there were a lot of similarities between it and a normal mess night on a navy ship, but there were also differences.

The night went like this: cocktail started at 1800 (6pm for those who don’t understand military time), at 1845 we moved into the mess and were seated, dinner started at 1700, after dinner was the cake cutting ceremony, then fines, then toasts, then the president of the mess invited everyone to join him at the bar (which is the set phrase used to mean that the meal was over and everyone was free to socialize or leave). Will and I got there at 1755 and found our seats (from the seating chart, we were all assigned places) and I started introducing him to people. My cousin, if I haven’t already mentioned this, is a very entertaining person to talk to and is very friendly and engaging, so all I had to do was point him at someone and mention that he was former navy, and off they would go. I actually didn’t do that much talking (not that I minded) and it was really fun to hear more about Will’s past and what he did in the Navy.

At 1845 we all went to our seats and waited for the pom (president of the mess) to call everyone to be seated. If you haven’t figured out by now, the pom is in charge of everything and runs the show. So he says when we sit, stand, eat, drink, etc. Our Chaplain, Captain Getz, said grace and we started on the salad and soup. After the first course was the traditional “tasting of the beef” and the pom announced “I find this beef fit for human consumption” and we got started on the main meal. Besides my chicken being a little bit hard on the outside, the whole meal was delicious and I quite enjoyed it.

After the meal we had the cake ceremony, where the oldest and youngest marine present cut the cake together. Following the ceremony the Commandant of the Marine Corps address was read and our guest speaker said his piece. It was all very inspiring and moving, but I’m not going to try and describe it because I wouldn’t do it justice. I will say that I am very proud to be a part of an organization, even if it might only be for a short time, that has done so much and stands for everything we believe in as Americans.

After all the formal stuff, the floor was opened up for fines. This is a very enjoyable tradition where anyone and everyone can call out their superiors, peers, or subordinates on dumb or funny things they did and “fine” them for it. You can even make up completely ridiculous accusations as long as you have firm “evidence” to support it. The whole point is to have lots of fun, poke fun at your friends, and enjoy whatever hilarious jokes other people come up with. And, of course, if you break any rules of the mess, you get fined. A fine could be in the form of money (the max was 5$), drinking some of the grog (which was a mixture of who knows what kind of nasty stuff, purposefully made to be as disgusting as possible while not making a person sick), or carrying out some kind of task like singing or dancing.

For example, one of the men got up and went to the bathroom during the meal without first requesting permission from the pom. When he got back he was called out on it and had to do a ridiculous dance. Another example, some NROTC people volunteered a couple weekends ago to judge in a JROTC drill meet, and afterward when they were standing up in front of everyone and a right face was called (you are supposed to turn to the right), one of the sergeants turned to the left instead. He was called out on it and had to pay a fine, drink grog, and do 42 right faces in front of everyone. An example of a fabricated accusation was that one of our gunnery sergeants, in the past few weeks leading up to the election, was very vocal in his dislike of Obama, and so as a joke one of the sergeants photoshopped the gunnery sergeant’s face onto pictures of Obama rallies so that it “looks” like the gunnery sergeant was shaking Obama’s hand, cheering Obama on, and generally being an Obama fanatic. The gunnery sergeant was “commended” on his enthusiasm and “awarded” two “vouchers” so he and his wife could go to Obama’s inauguration. Unfortunately, it is much more funny when you know all the people involved, and you are there, but maybe you get the gist. I was laughing the whole time and it was a lot of fun.

After all the joking around, we finally ended the dinner with the formal toasts. Will and I stuck around for 15 min to be polite and then Will took me back home. I was very tired, but happy. I am pretty sure Will had a good time, but he looked tired too. It was very nice of him to be my “date” and I am very grateful.

Up next week, I’ve got another Chem. midterm and a PFT (physical fitness test) for NROTC. I’m more or less done being sick, but still have some lingering affects, so I am praying that God would heal me up completely in time to do well on my PFT on Wednesday. I will be posting pictures of the mess night on my blog, so check it out maybe tomorrow. I will also try and figure out how to post a video of some of the fun things we did, but I don’t know if that will work.

Have a good week all!

In Him who saved us
Lydia

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