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Military Traditions

January 29, 2019 By Bruce Bartels

Sea Services Celebrate 243

On Sunday, October 14, residents who are Sea Service related, their spouses and guests gathered to celebrate the 243rd birthday of the U.S. Navy. The “Dining Out” dinner has been celebrated since the days of the Vikings. Our mess president is Captain Dan Child. After an hour of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, the mess members, 108 strong, followed the bag piper into Rawlinson Hall where the dinner was held.

Captain Child brought the mess to order and asked Captain Les Westling to deliver the invocation. Captain Westling writes a special invocation each time we hold our Dining Out. By tradition it is written in rhyme. Captain John Maloney next described the various items on the POW/MIA table which is set at the front of the room to remind us all that some of our comrades have not returned home. He was followed by Captain Chuck Smith who read the names of our mess members who have passed on since our last Dining Out in 2016.

The next tradition is the “Tasting of the Beef.” Our Chef, Michael Quinn, appeared with the piper and presented the plate of beef to Mr. Vice, this year starring Lt. Commander Ray Arnold. After carefully cutting a small piece and tasting it, Mr. Vice arose and in a clear voice announced, “The beef is fit to eat.” The chef smiled and dinner was served. This year it was a surf and turf entrée with a wonderful filet of beef and a lobster tail. As one guest said, “Gasps of happy gastronomy resounded around the room as guests contemplated and then devoured their entrees.” Dessert was an incredible chocolate cup with ice cream and berries topped with a flower.

The guest speaker this year was Mr. Angus Blackwood, the president of the Navy League of San Francisco. He described the mission of the Navy League and some of the things the San Francisco chapter has done and plans to do. The league helps support the Navy by supporting sailors when their ships are in port. They have a special app for smartphones that lists various sights and sites where a sailor might want to see or go in San Francisco. The Navy League will be supporting the commissioning of a ship in San Francisco in the next few months.

Following dinner and our speaker, it was time to cut the birthday cake. By tradition, Mr. Vice removed the navy officer’s sword from the scabbard and presented it to Mr. Blackwood. He carefully made a small cut in the cake and the Dining Services team took it to the kitchen for plating and then it was served it to all.

The evening closed with toasts to the leaders of our country and our military services. Captain Jim Moor gave the benediction and Captain Child thanked all the mess members for coming and led us in singing the Navy Hymn.

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