Thursday, June 26, 2003

The Dining Out...Family Arrives

I lied, I'll have a couple more posts before this OTS page is done because I wanted to talk a little about what they call in the military a Dining Out. The Dining Out,which has both military members and civilian guests in attendance, is an event built on many years of tradition. All the military members wear their mess dress, and the guests dress up nice as well. For us, it was a good time to celebrate a big step in all of our lives by earning our commission as 2nd Lt.'s in the USAF. It was also cool to have my best friend down for the event.

The whole ceremony started with everyone standing to welcome the official party...for us it was a two star general, two colonels and a lieutenant colonel. Once they were in place, some other formalities took place and then we took our seats for the meal. One of the formalities after sitting down was no one can eat until the highest ranking officer starts to eat...in this case it was the general. After he taunted us a bit to see if anyone to start before him, he dug in and so did we. After our first course, they moderator for the night asked for those providing the entertainment to take their places. I was part of one of the skits, so I headed backstage to get ready. Overall, the skits turned our well...everyone was laughing pretty hard, even the head table.

Another formality to the Grog Bowl. The Grog Bowl in a white porcelain toilet, centered at the middle of the dinning room for everyone to see. It's filled with a bunch of different alcoholic "beverages" so it tastes rather bad. There was also a non-alcoholic bowl. The bowl is kind of like "punishment" for those who screw up while eating during the whole meal. See, there are a list of rules all those in attendance must follow or else they're going to the Bowl...the guests must follow them as well, or their military friend will be sent. I was one of the first privileged ones to try the contents of the Bowl...yeah, that was just great! The rule I broke was that I was clapping with my hands instead of using my spoon and hitting it on the table. Here's how the procedures go for making a trip to the Grog Bowl.

Step 1 - Walk up in front of the Grog Bowl table and face the head table (where the DV's sit).
Step 2 - Salute the "king" of the mess.
Step 3 - Do an about face, and fill your cup.
Step 4 - Do an about face, raise your cup and say, "to the mess." The crowd then replies, "What a mess!"
Step 5 - Drink the contents of the cup in one gulp and then hold the cup over your head to prove you did.
Step 6 - Do an about face, and set the cup back on the table.
Step 7 - Do an about face, and the salute the "king" of the mess before taking your seat.

After most of us had finished our meals, the commander of OTS Lt. Col. Davis got up and started explaining he had been watching out for rules infractions during the dinner. He began to call of names and to my surprise I was the second on his list...CRAP!! What the heck did I do this time?! He ended up call about 10 people to stand in front of the Grog Bowl table and perform the little "ceremony." He went of for a bit talking about how bad we had screwed up the rules, when he ended his little speech with,"Class 03-06, I present to you your Distinguished Graduates." These words immediately came to mind, "No freakin' way!" I could not believe that out of the 120 or so classmates in class 03-06 that I was in the top 10%...it completely blind sided me! All I can say was that it's further proof that God has brought me into the military, and He has me right where I need to be. Only a short time ago I was trying my best to get into the program, and then here I am graduating towards the top...it was an awesome feeling. Two others from my flight made DG as well! How awesome is that? It goes to show that those of you looking to come to OTS want to be in the best squadron here...the Cobra Squadron!

Later this afternoon, some of my family will be arriving...it'll be good to see them. We'll have a chance to show them around OTS so they can see where we've been and learn a little about what we've been up to over the past few months. It'll be a good time, and then tomorrow is the commissioning and our graduation parade. The weather's supposed to be nice, so it looks like the C-5 flyover is on! I know it's not a fighter jet, but it's a huge plane and needless to say it'll get the crowds attention. Well, I'll sign off for now and post again after graduation...

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