The serving line setup tasks should be done in the
order listed and completed 5 minutes before serving
1. Make space for the buffet serving line. A buffet
table should be located to allow MSs convenient access
to the pantry for filling the serving pans. This also
allows the diners to use the serving line easily without
crowding from furniture or other diners.
2. Place the linen on a special buffet table or a
selected area on the sideboard. Remove all nonessential
items on the sideboard area when used to setup a buffet
3. Set up the chafing dish stands. Setup enough
stands so there is at least one for each food item. Place
them in the serving area so a diner can have ready access
to them without leaning over the table. After the chafing
dish pans have been set in place, put 1 inch of water into
those pans that are for hot food. Sterno heating units are
then placed below the center of the pans containing
water. Make sure there are no flammable items placed
near these units as the setup continues. Do not light the
heating units at this point.
4. Place the sneeze shield now, if one is available. Do
this in a way to make sure all food items are properly
protected. Diners should still have ready access to the foods.
5. Determine what utensils will be needed. Then
place all necessary eating utensils neatly at the
beginning of the serving line. Napkins and silverware
are usually placed on the dining tables. However, when
there are more diners than seats, additional place
settings should be kept on the sideboard. They should
be placed on the dining tables after diners finish and
leave, making room for additional diners. There are not
always enough MSs to do the resetting. On these
occasions, napkins and silverware should be placed on
the serving line. They should be placed next to the china
and away from the chafing dishes.
6. Set the decorations selected by the wardroom
supervisor on the serving table. Decorations are usually
artificial or real flowers arranged around the three sides
of the serving area facing the diner.
In the wardroom where regulations and precedence
closely control seating arrangements, officers are
assigned to permanent seats for daily meals. They are
seated from left to right, as shown in figure 9-6
according to rank and precedence.
Figure 9-6.-Wardroom seating.
The senior line officer in command, or in succession
to command, is the president. He or she sits at the head
of the table, or at the head of the senior table when more
than one table is used. The commanding officer who
regularly eats in the wardroom is the president. When
the commanding officer has his or her own mess, the
executive officer is the president. The exception would
be on large ships that have more than one wardroom. In
this case, the senior line officer of each mess is the
president. However, when the commanding officer or
other senior officer is invited for an occasional meal, this
officer is considered the guest of honor. In this case, he
or she is seated to the right of the mess president.
The caterer sits opposite the president. The officer
next in rank sits in the first seat to the right of the
president. The officer third in rank sits in the first seat
to the left of the president, and so on down the table. All
line officers of the same grade take precedence with
each other according to his or her respective dates of
rank. When they have the same date of rank, their
precedence is according to their lineal numbers as given
in the official Navy Register.
Staff officers with the same date of rank as running
mates of the line take precedence after their running
mates of the line. However, they take precedence before
all line and staff officers who are junior to the running
mate. When officers of more than one staff corps have
the same running mate, they take precedence in the
Medical Corps, Supply Corps,
Chaplain Corps, Civil Engineering Corps, Judge
Advocate Generals Corps, Dental Corps, Medical
Service Corps, and Nurse Corps.
When more than one table is in use, the treasurer
usually sits at the head of the junior table.
When officers of other service branches have the
same relative grade and the same date of rank, they have