What is a dining-out?

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Brandon Valle
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
Every year, military bases host traditional, formal events in the form of balls, award ceremonies and dinners. Many of the traditions and events can trace their customs and procedures to the early days of the military.

The dining-in is one of those traditions that date back to ancient times. Though the origin is not clear, it can be dated back to the pre-Christian Roman Legions, second century Viking, and sixth century knights, where banquets were held to honor individuals and military units. Though not exclusively military, many military units adopted the formal dining-in tradition in the early 1800s.

The dining-in is restricted to members of the organization hosting the event where as a dining-out, a newer concept, has expanded to allow spouses and guests to participate. Each is similar in respects of tradition and formality and the 90th Missile Wing is hosting their very own dining-out May 8, 2015.

"This is a not-to-miss opportunity for the Mighty Ninety to come together and have a memorable time," said Master Sgt. Gloria Wilson, 90th MW dining-out chairperson.

Many times formal military events have themes and this dining out is no different.

"This year's theme is 'Mighty Ninety: Our Story' and it's a theme I'm excited about," said Wilson. "The focus is on people - our Airmen and our families. They are what make this mission possible and, in turn, make this base's story possible." 

The purpose of a dining-out is to enhance the esprit of units, lighten the load of demanding day-to-day work, give the commander an opportunity to meet socially with subordinates and enable military members of all ranks to create bonds of camaraderie.

"Our Airmen and civilian personnel work hard and that wouldn't be possible without our support systems of family and friends," said Col. Tracey Hayes, 90th MW commander. "A great way to decompress is to have an event where our personnel, and their guests, can come together for a night rich in fun and tradition."

Following tradition, all attendees of the event are referred to as "the Mess," and key players govern the flow of the event. The key players for the wings' dining out are the president, Mister and Madam Vice, and Sergeant of Arms.

Hayes, will take the role of the dining-out president, where she will be responsible for overseeing the dining-out. Mister and Madam Vice - Senior Airmen Alex Gunther and April Tucay, respectively - will serve as the president's assistants and act as the masters of ceremony. The Sergeant of Arms - Senior Airman Lonnie Myles - assists the vices and is the demonstrator and enforcer of the rules.

In accordance with tradition and dining-out protocol, there are guidelines to be followed, called the "Rules of the Mess."

Rules of the Mess
The following rules will be enforced by the Mess and the Sergeant of Arms:
1. Thou shalt arrive within 10 minutes of the appointed hour.
2. Thou shalt make every effort to meet all guests.
3. Thou shalt move to the mess when thee hears the chimes and remain standing until seated by the president.
4. Thou shalt not leave the mess whilst convened. Military protocol overrides all calls of nature.
5. Thou shalt participate in all toasts unless thyself or thy group is honored with a toast.
6. Thou shalt ensure that thy glass is always charged when toasting.
7. 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.
8. Thou shalt not murder the Queen's English.
9. Thou shalt not open the hangar doors. (talk about work)
10. Thou shalt fall into dispute with thy peers if the pleats of thy cummerbund are not properly faced.
11. Thou shalt consume thy meal in a manner becoming gentle persons.
12. Thou shalt not throw food.  
13. Thou shalt not laugh at ridiculously funny comments unless the president first shows approval by laughing.
14. Thou shalt express thy approval by tapping thy spoon on the table. Clapping of thy hands will not be tolerated.
15. Thou shalt not question the decisions of the president.
16. When the mess adjourns, thou shalt rise and wait for the president and head table guests to leave.
17. Thou shalt enjoy thyself to thy fullest.

If someone breaks the rules, members of the Mess should raise a point of order to identify the infraction, and in the spirit of dining-out tradition, active-duty Airmen may be directed towards the Grog.

The Grog is a special concoction created using unappetizing ingredients - such as pickle juice marshmallows and hot sauce. There will be two grog bowls available, one alcoholic and one non-alcoholic.

Any 90th MW Airmen and families interested in attending should contact their unit dining-out representative who will have additional details, such as location and price.