Thursday, November 15, 2018

Drink to the foam

There are a lot of Navy traditions. And I do mean a lot. I found this list just now, but it's certainly not exhaustive. I've learned about a few of them in the past three years of being a Navy wife, and I know I have more to learn. Some have changed over time, as the world has modernized, more women have joined the service, or any number of other reasons. For example, there is a ceremony for crossing the line - when the ship you're on crosses the Equator. Those who have never crossed the line before transition from pollywogs to shellbacks during this event, which was once much more embarrassing and grueling than it is now.

One we've participated in a few times has completely changed from its historical connotations. This tradition, called a "wetting down", occurs when someone promotes. Originally, when someone receives a new stripe or insignia, it would be super obvious because it would be very clean and bright compared to the rest of the uniform. In order to blend it in, they'd wet it down with sea water and dirty it up so it wasn't so obvious they were only recently promoted.

Now, a wetting down more simply refers to a social event where the newly promoted treats the rest of the officers in the command to drinks or something. We don't drink, so for Blake's wetting down for his last promotion, we treated the command to a movie and concessions at the theater on base, and had a great time!

Another tradition we participate in somewhat regularly, including tonight, is the Hail and Farewell, to celebrate both newcomers to a wardroom and those leaving. A Navy wardroom is basically a social club of the officers in a command. On a ship, it's a specific room. Off a ship, in a command like ours, its more theoretical. Of course, because this is the Navy, there is a lot more to it, but wardroom events are opportunities for the officers to socialize with each other, but also for senior officers to get to know and even mentor junior officers. Spouses are frequently guests of the wardroom, and I enjoy the chance to get to know Blake's colleagues and their spouses.

Our first Hail and Farewell was our own when we first arrived in Japan. The CO introduces the newcomer and their family (if applicable), usually in a generally lighthearted kind of way. For those we farewell, the CO talks a bit about their accomplishments over the past tour and wishes them well on future endeavors. It's been a few months since the last event, so we had a number of people to celebrate tonight for the Region Legal Service Office (RLSO), which Blake is the process of transferring back into from the DSO.

Tonight, at a bar on base, was a good time - I got to meet Blake's new CO and XO, who both seem like good people, and chatted with some other friends I hadn't seen for a bit. I did burn the roof of my mouth a little on some waffle fries, but I'll live.

We have a really good and supportive command and JAG community, even with changes in personnel every few months. Not every command is this great, so I know we've lucked out to have such a positive experience for a first tour. Some of the people we are meeting now will likely be people we run into in the fleet for the rest of Blake's career and I think that will be a good thing!
Forgot to take a photo at the event, so we are are on the train home!

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