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The Grog Bowl

Air Force Protocol
from 'Til Wheels are Up'

The Grog Bowl

The grog bowl is an "accessory" traditional to a dinings-in, although it is not required. However, without a "grog bowl," some other means of punishment for infractions should be considered.

The contents of the grog bowl are best left to the imagination of the planning committee. The contents should be non-alcoholic as to not dampen the spirits and participation of those individuals who, for religious or personal reasons, do not consume alcoholic beverages. It is permissible to have two grog bowls, one alcoholic and one non-alcoholic.

Some organizations have successfully used a grog mixing ceremony where the contents of the grog are combined along with a humorous narrative by Mister/Madam Vice.

Certain members of the mess seem to be frequent violators, such as Mister/Madam Vice. It is not uncommon for the President and the Guest Speaker to be charged with at least on violation. If the President must leave his/her position at the head table, he/she must appoint another individual to assume his/her position.

If you're the Arrangement Officer or Mister/Madam Vice, it's a good idea to make sure you fully brief the President on the rules beforehand (refresh his memory) and work between you the "rules of engagement" to keep this portion of the program from getting out of hand.

Infractions warranting a trip to the grog bowl may be noted at any time by the President, Vice President, or any member of the mess. Members bring infractions to the attention of the President by raising a point of order. If the validity of the charge is questioned, members vote by tapping their spoons on the table.

When the President directs a violator to the grog bowl, the individual proceeds to the bowl promptly. The bowl is usually located on Mister/Madam Vice's table. Upon arriving at the "grog bowl," the violator does the following:
  1. Does an about face and salutes the President.
  2. Turns to the bowl and fills the cup.
  3. Does another about face and toasts the mess.
  4. Drains the contents of the cup without removing it from the lips, then places it inverted on his/her head signifying it is empty.
  5. Replaces the cup, again salutes the President, and returns to his/her seat. With the exception of the toast, "To the Mess," the violator is not permitted to speak during this process.
At various points during the evening, a member may be sent to the grog bowl as punishment for violating the rules of the mess. The formal rules are stated in the next section; however, here are some examples of common violations of protocol warranting a trip to the grog bowl:

Common Violations of Protocol Warranting a Trip to the Grog Bowl
  1. Arriving late at the cocktail lounge.
  2. Carrying drinks into the dining room.
  3. Smoking in the dining room before the smoking lamp is lit.
  4. Wearing the cummerbund inverted.
  5. Wearing an ill-fitting or discolored mess jacket.
  6. Wearing clip-on bow tie at an obvious angle.
  7. Wearing non-issue suspenders.
  8. Toasting with an uncharged glass.
  9. Improper toasting procedure.
  10. Starting a course before the President.
  11. Applauding a particularly witty, sarcastic, or succinct toast (unless following the example of the President).
  12. Loud and obtrusive remarks in a foreign language or in English.
  13. Discussing business, referred to as "opening the hanger doors."
  14. Leaving the dining area without permission from the President.
  15. Talking while another person has the floor.
  16. Caviling or quibbling.
  17. Haggling over date of rank.
  18. Using foul language.



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