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Boarding a Ship in Civilian Attire
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Naval Orientation - Military manual for administrative purposes
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Boat Etiquette - 12966_152
and  supervision  of  service.  Both  offices  are recognized  as  collateral  duties,  and  attention  is paid  to  them  in  the  marking  of  officers’  reports of fitness. As with all things, doing either job well requires  study  and  application.  Some  caterers perform their tasks exceptionally well. They give their  full  attention  to  planning  balanced  diets  and light appetizing luncheons and to planning with the Mess Management Specialist for new dishes and  varied  menus.  At  the  close  of  each  month, the  mess  treasurer  gives  the  mess  members  a statement  of  the  mess  accounts. The  senior  officer  of  the  wardroom  mess always welcomes junior officers and treats them as  full-fledged  members  of  the  mess  in  every respect. Nevertheless, a junior officer should not be  too  forward  in  conversation  or  action.  An error  on  the  side  of  formality  is  more  readily pardoned  than  one  in  the  other  direction. Like  many  other  phases  of  naval  courtesy, wardroom  etiquette,  of  necessity,  undergoes  many changes   in   time   of   war.   In   the   interest   of completeness,  we  will  cover  the  rules  of  wardroom etiquette as they are in peacetime and then give some  of  the  variations  that  would  be  brought about  by  war. In  Peacetime The  wardroom  is  the  commissioned  officers’ mess and lounge room, The main peacetime rules of  wardroom  etiquette  are  as  follows: Don’t enter or lounge in the wardroom out of  uniform. Except   at   breakfast,   don’t   sit   down   to meals  before  the  presiding  officer  does. If  necessary  to  leave  before  the  completion of  the  meal,  ask  to  be  excused. Introduce   guests   to   wardroom   officers, especially  on  small  ships. Never  be  late  for  meals.  If  you  are unavoidably late, make your apologies to the  presiding  officer. Don’t  loiter  in  the  wardroom  during working  hours. Avoid  wearing  a  cap  in  the  wardroom, especially  when  your  shipmates  are  eating. Avoid  being  boisterous  or  noisy. Don’t  talk  shop  continuously. Pay  mess  bills  promptly. As  a  new  officer,  be  a  good  listener. Don’t  discuss  religion  and  politics. Don’t  express  unfavorable  comments  and opinions about senior officers. Expressing such   comments   with   the   intention   of being  overheard  by  seniors  is  known  as "bulkheading." Good manners, with a consideration for other members  and  their  guests,  constitute  the  first principle  to  which  all  others  are  secondary. The  executive  officer  normally  serves  as  the president  of  the  mess.  A  small  ship  such  as  a destroyer,  however,  does  not  provide  a  separate mess for the commanding officer. In this case the CO,  who  eats  meals  in  the  wardroom,  serves  as president  of  the  mess. Officers are assigned permanent seats at the table,  alternately,  in  the  order  of  grade,  to  the right  and  left  of  the  presiding  officer.  (Second ranking officer sits on the right of the presiding officer,  third  on  the  left,  and  so  on.)  The  mess caterer  occupies  the  seat  opposite  that  of  the presiding   officer. In Wartime During  a  war,  the  routine  of  the  wardroom is  vastly  different  from  that  just  described. Regular   mealtimes   are   out   of   the   question during general quarters. If, before starting to eat, officers always waited for the presiding officer to sit  down,  meals  would  be  too  irregular  and delayed. Instead  of  dining  in  the  wardroom  during wartime,  many  officers  eat  a  hasty  meal  of sandwiches  and  coffee  served  topside  whenever time  allows.  A  rule  about  never  being  late  for meals is hardly binding under such circumstances. The seating arrangements in wardrooms may undergo  changes  during  a  war.  A  ship  may scatter  higher  ranking  officers  among  many  tables rather than concentrate them at one place, where a  chance  enemy  hit  might  wipe  out  all  of  them at once. Seating arrangements for persons eating in shifts are sometimes cross-sectioned by grade among  the  various  shifts  for  the  same  reason. 7-9

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