We had our submarine squadron Dining-In on Saturday night.
I clearly failed my JOs and did not provide adequate guidance to them to prepare them for this event. Shame on me. I forget that over the years, I've learned a few things the hard way about preparing for formal functions like this, and I could have saved my guys some heartache if I had shared some of those experiences beforehand.
So for anyone else headed to any formal functions in the near future (like, say, the Submarine Birthday Ball in one month), allow me to offer a few words of advice. Actually, here's a little thought-provoking quiz to help you start thinking ahead:
You are going to a formal function that requires a uniform you have not worn in a long time, not to mention the fact that you have had a PCS move since the last time you wore it. You should:
a) Wait until 1 hour before the event begins, then discover that your pants and/or jacket don't fit, and you're missing your shirt studs and suspenders.
b) Wait until 1 day before, then try them on to find out they don't fit. Hurry to the uniform shop and beg, plead, and pay the tailor "rush" fees to have your new pants hemmed.
c) Try them on at least a week before the event so you have time to buy a pair that fit and have them hemmed without any groveling or "rush" fees (because those darn dress uniforms are expensive enough as it is).
Oh yeah, new thought just came to my mind from reading the first couple of comments from Sam and C: If you are stationed someplace like, oh... say... around Dulles in Northern Virginia, then that "quick dash" to the uniform shop may involve a 45 minute drive (or much worse in traffic) to either Bethesda Naval Hospital or to the Washington Navy Yard to pick up your missing items. If you live someplace with NO Navy bases nearby like, oh... say... A2, Michigan, DRIVING to a uniform shop might not even be an option for you - so add on a couple of weeks for shipping from the NEX website.One of my JO's got fined at the Dining-In for trying to "hydro" his uniform (he looked like a stuffed sausage). One of the master chiefs commented he was afraid one of the JO's buttons was going to pop off with enough velocity to kill somebody.
In my case, I said to myself, "Self, I just wore my dinner dress uniform to the Submarine Birthday Ball in Norfolk, so I'll be fiiiiiine." Okay, kids, I want you to go back and circle the key words in that sentence that should have caused alarm bells to go off in the back of my head.
1) Key words that should cause alarm: "Just" and "Submarine Birthday Ball." Um... the Submarine Birthday Ball (in APRIL) was ALMOST a YEAR ago. Try the stupid pants on!!!
2) Key word that should cause alarm: "NORFOLK." Hello, you're in Pearl Harbor now. There was this little thing called a PCS MOVE in between then and now. Things tend to get LOST while moving HALF WAY AROUND THE GLOBE. Inventory your pieces and parts so you don't have to make a mad dash to the uniform shop!!!
There are many benefits to living in Navy housing. Not the least of which is I didn't have to make a mad dash to the uniform shop. LW kindly made a mad dash across the street to our neighbor's house and asked if I could borrow his shirt studs and suspenders, and he hooked me up. :-)
I have to give a shout-out to my LW here, because she was WONDERFUL in helping me get ready last night. In addition to straightening my bow tie and cumshawing missing uniform parts for me, she also reminded me that I had TWO pairs of dress uniform pants in the closet - the pair I got as a JO (that were cutting off my circulation) and the pair I got more recently that fit rather comfortably.
One more tidbit of advice:
My first port call in Chin Hae, Korea was downright painful. Every time we have a port call there, you go out to "dinner" with your sponsor Korean submarine's wardroom. The first time I did this, I thought "dinner" meant food would be involved, so I didn't eat before we went. Then I suffered the consequences the morning after that drink-fest. Someone then explained to me that before a night of heavy drinking like that, you should eat the greasiest burger or pizza you can get your hands on, or take some pepto-bismol. The reasoning was that the grease or pepto-bismol will coat your stomach lining and reduce the rate of alcohol absorption into your blood stream. I have no idea if there is any scientific fact behind that explanation, or if it's just an "old wives tale," but I tell you what. The next time we pulled into Korea, I used that trick, and it worked. I was much better able to hold my liquor and we drank the Koreans under the table.