precedence according to the time each has served on
active duty as a commissioned officer of the United
States Armed Forces. The seating arrangement changes
when a guest is present. When several guests are to be
present, the seating arrangements are normally worked
out by the wardroom supervisor and approved by the
MEAL STYLE PROCEDURES
Meals should begin immediately after the president
and the officers are seated.
Prompt and courteous
service add much to the enjoyment of a meal. Serving
personnel should be alert. They should not lean on the
sideboard or lounge against the bulkhead when they are
not busy. With proper training, serving personnel will
know what their responsibilities are and how they
should be met.
The meal may be announced by using the xylophone
(fig. 9-7) or by announcing the traditional dinner (or
whichever meal) is served.
The president or the officer in front of whom the
buck is placed is served first, and then the service
proceeds counterclockwise around the table.
Figure 9-7.Xylophone for announcing meals.
INFORMAL MEAL SERVICE
All meals are served by family, cafeteria, American,
buffet, ala carte service, or by a combination of these,
as discussed earlier. Figure 9-8 shows a table setting for
an informal meal.
Foods, including soups, are served from the left of
the person being served. Beverages are served from the
Soup is normally ladled into the soup plates in the
pantry and served rather than offered to the officer at the
The rule of thumb to follow during formal and
informal service is to serve the foods from the left and
remove from the right, except beverages.
To avoid overcrowding the table during family-style
service, refill the water glasses as necessary instead of
placing a water pitcher on the table. In other types of
service such as cafeteria, a water pitcher maybe placed
on the table for those who desire refills.
Coffee should always be available and served
piping hot. Be careful when serving coffee and other
hot beverages especially aboard ship when the ship is
underway. An accidental spill can cause a painful burn.
When an officer has finished a course, remove the
used dishes. Do not stack the dishes in front of the
officer. With the right hand, remove the plate and
silverware used during the course. When more than one
plate is being removed, hold the first in the left hand and
place the others on top of it.
When desserts are not picked up from the line, they
should be served. Place a pitcher of hot coffee on the
table for those desiring seconds and place ashtrays
within the officers reach.
When guests are present, some changes to the
seating and serving order are necessary. Although some
of these changes were mentioned earlier, bringing them
together at this point will help you to recognize what
routines should be changed.
The buck is not used when guests are aboard. A
guest of the ship or the guest of honor sits to the right of
the president and is always served first. Other guests
usually sit to the right of their host officer. When no
guest of honor is present and more than one officer has
guests, the guest of the senior host officer is served first.
In all cases, after serving the guest of honor, the serving
continues from that point counterclockwise around the
table. Do not skip around in order to serve all guests