KINGS BAY CPOA DINING IN 12 MAR 2010
History • The term dining-in derives from an old Viking tradition celebrating great battles and feasts of heroes by formal ceremony, which spread to monasteries, early-day universities and to the military when the officer's mess was established.
Background • A Dining-In is a formal dinner given by an organization. It may honor a departing individual or welcome a new one. It may give recognition to a dignitary, or to individuals and unit achievements. Or it may simply be a pleasant way for individuals on a station to get better acquainted. • Mess members wear the prescribed uniform • Medals are worn by all members of the mess and the military guest, including retired personnel.
Seating • The President of the mess sits at the center of the head table with the guest of honor on his right and the next ranking guest on his left. • The Vice/Madam Vice will sit at a separate table at the other end of the room facing the President. • Those with the highest rank sit closest to the head table. • The seating arrangement will be posted outside the mess area should facilitate members finding their seat assignment before mess call.
Table Setting • A formal place setting is used for the Dining-In. • There will not be any ashtrays placed on the table until after the dinner is completed and the smoking lamp is lighted.
Gavel • The gavel will be used by the President to signal the members. • Gavel raps are as follows:3 = Attention: Three resounding raps, require the attention of the members whether standing or seated.2 = Rise: Two raps cause the members to rise standing in place.1 = Be Seated: One raps is the signal for the members to take their seats.
Receiving Line • A receiving line will be formed at the entrance of the cocktail area, consisting of the President and the guest of honor. • Mess members should arrive a few minutes early so that headgear, coats or other items are secured before entering the cocktail area. • The President will be on the right of the receiving line and the guest of honor will be on the left. • As you come abreast of the President, announce your rate/rank and name and shake hands with him. • The President will in turn introduce you to the guest of honor, whereby you exchange handclasps. • After greeting the guest of honor, proceed into the cocktail area.
Cocktail Hour • Conversations should be light and of short duration. Attempt to talk with as many of your comrades and guests as possible, remembering that the cocktail period is for light-hearted conversation and entertainment. • Smoking is permitted during this period, but do not take a lighted cigarette, cigar or cocktail into the dining room.
Call To Dinner • The signal for dinner will be the sounding of mess call, followed by appropriate marching music. • After mess call, as soon as the music starts, all members not seated at the head table should dispose of their drinks and cigarettes, proceed to the dining area, locate their places and remain standing behind their chairs. • Those individuals seated at the head table will remain in the cocktail area until all others have reached the mess area. • The President indicates that dinner is to be served and heads the line, which will march into the dining room. • No one may take his place at a table after the head table had entered without the permission of the President. • No one may leave without the permission of the President. A member desiring to leave for any reason, must stand, be recognized and request the permission of the President. The President will normally assess a fine or penalty to the requester.
Color Guard • The color guard is composed of one to six color bearers, and two color guards. • The positions of individuals in the single flag color guard, Navy color guard, the Navy-Marine color guard, and the Joint Armed Forces color guard are of utmost importance.
Grace • As soon as the music has stopped, the colors posted and the National Anthem played, the President will rap for attention and announce Gentleman/Ladies, the grace. • The Chaplain or designated member will then say the grace. Upon its completion, all members will be seated at the sound of the gavel.
Toasting • A toast is the traditional and formal way of honoring a country, organization, or institution. • It is disrespectful for an individual not to participate in a toast. • A teetotaler need only go through the motion of holding the glass to his lips or request a non-alcoholic beverage.
Addressing the Mess • There is a formal way of obtaining permission to address the mess. • If you would like to address the mess, stand (when it will not interfere with other proceedings within the mess) and identify yourself by saying, Mr./Madam Vice, (state your rank/rate and name) requests permission to address the mess or has a point of order. • Mr./Madam Vice will respond with what is the nature of your request or (rank/rate of requester), you may address the mess. • Mr./Madam Vice may use their wit to come up with something different, so remain flexible.
Limericks, Ditties, and Skits • During dinner, no toasting will be allowed. • A member may stand, however, and address Mr. Vice to bringing to the attention of the entire mess, topics of timely interest. This is called presenting a limerick or ditty. Limericks and ditties are not intended to insult a member, but are presented in good fun and taste. A limerick should be witty to all and elicit a response from the attacked. • Before presenting a limerick or ditty, acknowledgment must have been received from the President. • Each CPO Mess will provide a skit for one anothers enjoyment. They should be in good taste and should not offend any member of the mess.
The Break and Smoking • After dinner, the President may direct a break so stewards and waitresses may clear the mess area and to allow for the use of facilities and time to smoke. • The President will direct the smoking lamp be lighted. Mr. Vice will present a lighted ceremonial lamp to the President who in turn will offer the light to the honored guest. After the lamp has passed the President, he will announce, he smoking lamp is lighted. • Smoking may now commence in the designated area. • Cigars will be available
Informal Toasts and Fines • After the smoking lamp is lighted and all have returned from the break, the President will introduce the Guest of Honor, who will address the mess. • Following this address, informal toast will be received from members of the mess and their guests. • During this period, anyone who wishes to initiate a toast will briefly present his justification for desiring such a toast, ending with the words of the proposed toast. • Inspired wit and subtle sarcasm are much appreciated in these toasts. If the President deems the toast justified, he will direct Mr./Madam Vice to second the toast in the same manner as in the formal toast. • When in the judgment of the President, the informal toasting has sufficed, he will rap thrice with the gavel and he will then commence the business of the mess by asking Mr. Vice to read the list of offenders, who have violated the customs and traditions of the mess. • Fines and suitable payment are assessed as necessary by the President.
The Final Toast • The President, without rising, will call for a toast to the United States Navy. Mr. Vice will then proceed to the head table and fill each glass starting from the honored guest and ending with the President. • The President then fills Mr. Vices glass, who faces the mess and seconds the toast. • All present rise, responding in unison, The United States Navy, drain the entire glass and remain standing while Anchors Aweigh is played. • Following the toast to the United States Navy, the President will adjourn the mess and invite those present to join him at the bar. • Members and their guests will be free to congregate. Attendees should not depart until the President and all official guests have departed. • Despite its formality and ritual, the Dining-In is intended to be an enjoyable and enriching experience.