Combat Dining In

I'm a big World War II buff. One of the customs that developed in that time was the practice of the "Dining In". The Dining In is a very formal military tradition following specific customs for conduct during the meal, violations of which can send a person to the "Grog". There are usually 2 Grogs -- an awful concoction of liquid items barely digestible but non-alcoholic and an acoholic version that is of such proof that it can serve as alternative lighting should the electricity go out.

The Combat Dining In is its own animal. Here the same sorts of rules (can't come late, can't cut out of the dinner for a bathroom break, can clap to toasts, and so forth) apply only to go to the Grog one must run an obstacle course of water guns, water hoses, or even in some cases the dinner itself having been turned into missiles for attack.

Friday night was my first experience as I was treated to a Dining In experience with one of the 89th's foremost squadrons -- the 89 CES (Civil Engineering Squadron) as they welcomed many of their comrades home from deployment. Within ten minutes my boots were full of water and my wallet would take days to dry out thanks to a dunking into the pool. But I was relieved of having to go to the Grog by the Commander himself, as he recognized that as a Chaplain and official holder of a Geneva Conventions Card that I am a non-combatant, so I was encouraged to send someone in my stead. (Of course, twists like this just add to the fun.) Of course, I still found myself on the receiving end of collateral fire being caught often in the middle of cross fire. All in all it was great fun and a great chance to build some camaraderie.