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SEAL/SPECWAR questions

NavyOffRec

Well-Known Member
Do you think the troops would be generally more resentful that we have our own mess, or that they get to watch every single one of us exercise head of the line privileges while they queue up for an hour to eat after us? That's a toss up.
When I was on the carrier as an E-5 or below I was more irritated when someone used head of line privileges after I had been standing in line forever.

There is also the fact that back then it was nice to eat and not be in earshot of the CPO's, it gave us a chance to blow off steam.

Then as a CPO it was nice to be able to work stuff out with other CPO's out of earshot of the junior guys to prevent them from getting the wrong ideas.
 

GroundPounder

Well-Known Member
Do you think the troops would be generally more resentful that we have our own mess, or that they get to watch every single one of us exercise head of the line privileges while they queue up for an hour to eat after us? That's a toss up.
This is a serious question, not a razz the Navy thing. Who gets to cut in line to skip the wait, is it based on rank? Maybe it's based on an assignment that you are doing that requires you to eat in a small window of time so you can be on station when you are needed?

If there is one thing the Army drills into officers is that you never eat before your men.
 

Flash

SEVAL/ECMO
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
There is also the fact that back then it was nice to eat and not be in earshot of the CPO's, it gave us a chance to blow off steam.

Then as a CPO it was nice to be able to work stuff out with other CPO's out of earshot of the junior guys to prevent them from getting the wrong ideas.
I have heard several others commenting about that being an advantage to separate messing, since you have so few places to escape on the ship that eating without your bosses was a nice 'escape' a few times a day.
 

NavyOffRec

Well-Known Member
This is a serious question, not a razz the Navy thing. Who gets to cut in line to skip the wait, is it based on rank? Maybe it's based on an assignment that you are doing that requires you to eat in a small window of time so you can be on station when you are needed?

If there is one thing the Army drills into officers is that you never eat before your men.
There are times when you only have 30 minutes to eat between training, meetings, watches, etc..... there were times on the carrier where no kidding I would stand in line for over an hour to eat as an E-5 or below, the lines would go up into the hangar bay!
 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
This is a serious question, not a razz the Navy thing. Who gets to cut in line to skip the wait, is it based on rank? Maybe it's based on an assignment that you are doing that requires you to eat in a small window of time so you can be on station when you are needed?

If there is one thing the Army drills into officers is that you never eat before your men.
It's a combination of things. I'll just speak to small boys, but generally an officer gets head of the line privileges if eating down in the regular mess. Right or wrong, it's a thing.

There are also other reasons for head of the line privileges that applies to watch-standers. If you're about to go on watch, there's typically an early chow time period where you go ahead of those that may be waiting for regular chow, or in the wardroom, you sit down before the others who are hungry and waiting for normal hours. Aircrew (both pilots and crewman) will exercise this as well if they have to go fly, which is usually during a meal time.

I have seen it, at least in the wardroom, where common sense applies, and if those of us waiting to eat during normal hours see that all the watch standers have eaten, then you can sit down a few minutes early. But that will depend on specific wardrooms and whether there is an expectation by the Captain that you wait for him, which is also a thing sometimes.
 

Brett327

Well-Known Member
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
This is a serious question, not a razz the Navy thing. Who gets to cut in line to skip the wait, is it based on rank? Maybe it's based on an assignment that you are doing that requires you to eat in a small window of time so you can be on station when you are needed?

If there is one thing the Army drills into officers is that you never eat before your men.
Generally, if you are an E6 or above, you get head of the line privileges. As a practical matter on ships, the opportunity rarely presents itself for officers because we have separate messing facilities. Sometimes you’ll bypass the line going into the ships store. Everyone’s time is valuable, but the realities of flight operations usually preclude waiting in line for an hour for food. It’s also rooted in our service tradition, which is very different than other services. I recall a fairly prominent GO CSM coming aboard a carrier several years ago pontificating publicly about how “unjust” our system was. Thanks, CSM, but go ahead and stay in your own lane when you’re a guest on our ship. I get it, different than the Army approach, but it works for us and it’s really not something the troops care about.
 

Flash

SEVAL/ECMO
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
...I recall a fairly prominent GO CSM coming aboard a carrier several years ago pontificating publicly about how “unjust” our system was. Thanks, CSM, but go ahead and stay in your own lane when you’re a guest on our ship. I get it, different than the Army approach, but it works for us and it’s really not something the troops care about.
It was actually a Marine, the Command Senior Enlisted Advisor for U.S. Southern Command, who visited some of the ships involved in the relief efforts off of Haiti in 2010. During a visit to the ships supporting the relief effort by the CG of JTF-Haiti, that he was accompanying, the staff/crew of the ship did the standard thing and arranged it so the Sgt Maj was going to eat with the E's like any good CSM/CMC does when visiting the 'troops'. The good Sgt Maj found out that the E's hadn't specifically asked to eat with him though so he thought that the staff were trying to be deceptive and deliberately exclude him from eating with the O's he was accompanying on the trip.

A guy on the embarked staff was in my reserve unit later and said the whole brouhaha was all over nothing, and unsurprisingly when he met him in person he was 'that guy'.
 

GroundPounder

Well-Known Member
It's a combination of things. I'll just speak to small boys, but generally an officer gets head of the line privileges if eating down in the regular mess. Right or wrong, it's a thing.

There are also other reasons for head of the line privileges that applies to watch-standers. If you're about to go on watch, there's typically an early chow time period where you go ahead of those that may be waiting for regular chow, or in the wardroom, you sit down before the others who are hungry and waiting for normal hours. Aircrew (both pilots and crewman) will exercise this as well if they have to go fly, which is usually during a meal time.

I have seen it, at least in the wardroom, where common sense applies, and if those of us waiting to eat during normal hours see that all the watch standers have eaten, then you can sit down a few minutes early. But that will depend on specific wardrooms and whether there is an expectation by the Captain that you wait for him, which is also a thing sometimes.
Thanks, that what I figured. It makes sense if there is a task that only a few people can do that are on duty at any given time, you can't have them standing in line forever to eat.

I think the never eat before your troops, is in part because in the field we are in the same place doing generally the same thing. It's not right for the leader to get first grab at the food and be kicked back while your men are still waiting.
 

GroundPounder

Well-Known Member
Generally, if you are an E6 or above, you get head of the line privileges. As a practical matter on ships, the opportunity rarely presents itself for officers because we have separate messing facilities. Sometimes you’ll bypass the line going into the ships store. Everyone’s time is valuable, but the realities of flight operations usually preclude waiting in line for an hour for food. It’s also rooted in our service tradition, which is very different than other services. I recall a fairly prominent GO CSM coming aboard a carrier several years ago pontificating publicly about how “unjust” our system was. Thanks, CSM, but go ahead and stay in your own lane when you’re a guest on our ship. I get it, different than the Army approach, but it works for us and it’s really not something the troops care about.
Thanks.

Like I said, I realize the Navy is much more formal in certain aspects of service life and has worked pretty well for you so far. I think what would be considered normal esprit d corps in certain Army units, would cross the boundary of what would be permissible in the Navy. Not that you don't take care of your sailors, but like you said a different culture.

I think it goes back to the mother ship, where the highest of society went into the RN officer corps, and the 2nd tier got to wear the Redcoat in the legions of foot.
 

707guy

"You can't make this shit up..."
there were times on the carrier where no kidding I would stand in line for over an hour to eat as an E-5 or below, the lines would go up into the hangar bay!
Not only to eat, but everything else on a carrier is a wait. Ship's store, post office, Comm center and especially liberty lines. Just a fact of life when you live with thousands of other folks for months on end. I would usually skip the long lines and eat at the forward mess on TR. Sandwiches and burgers were good enough for me most days.
 

AIRMMCPORET

Plan “A” Retired
This is a serious question, not a razz the Navy thing. Who gets to cut in line to skip the wait, is it based on rank? Maybe it's based on an assignment that you are doing that requires you to eat in a small window of time so you can be on station when you are needed?

If there is one thing the Army drills into officers is that you never eat before your men.

On carriers the enlisted chow lines First Class Petty Officers E-6, Chiefs Mess were all Equal, I would imagine the same for the Wardrooms but IDK.
 

NavyOffRec

Well-Known Member
On carriers the enlisted chow lines First Class Petty Officers E-6, Chiefs Mess were all Equal, I would imagine the same for the Wardrooms but IDK.
There was never really a line in the CPO mess, unless it was right after GQ or some other type of evolution where people flocked at once to the mess.
 

snake020

Well-Known Member
Contributor
It's a combination of things. I'll just speak to small boys, but generally an officer gets head of the line privileges if eating down in the regular mess. Right or wrong, it's a thing.
I'm lost here. Why would an officer be eating on the mess decks on a small boy unless they're doing a meal review? That's usually frowned upon.
 
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