Nov. 4, 2021, the Wiesbaden JROTC Warrior Battalion held their first formal dining-in of the year. This event is for the cadets to join as a Battalion, have dinner, socialize, learn new skills, and build upon their traditions. Dining-ins originated from the Vikings, who held formal ceremonies after battles to celebrate their victories and mourn their losses. This tradition spread swiftly to other groups and cultures. The Warrior Battalion event mirrored an Army-style dining-in, with all the cadets in their Class A uniforms. The Battalion hosted the dinner within the ballroom at Little Italy, a local Italian restaurant, and included a small guest list consisting of the Principal and Assistant Principal of Wiesbaden High School, Dr. Heather Ramaglia and Mr. John Zesiger. The Battalion spent its class time learning formal dining etiquette, a life-long skill, in preparation for this event.
The evening began with everyone gathering for the social hour to converse and enjoy hors-d'œuvres. Shortly after, the chain of command formed a receiving line to greet all cadets and acquaint the guests with the Battalion. The bugle player, Cadet Private First Class Judah Zaragoza, played the Mess Call as everyone found their seats in the ballroom. For this event, Cadet PFC Zaragoza learned the Bugle upon request from the Battalion Commander. Following the call, Cadet 1st Sergeant McKinley Viers led the Color Guard to post the Colors. Within the Color Guard,Cadet Captain Diba Bhuiyan held the American flag, Cadet Private First Class Elaina Colon held the Battalion flag, and Cadet Corporal Kiron Villa and Cadet Corporal David Matz carried rifles.At the same time, Cadet Private Theresa Carballo and Cadet Private First Class Kayla Pham sang the National Anthem. Afterward, everyone got settled into their assigned seats to continue with the night.
The next segment of the event was the mixing of the punch. The punch or grog is a military tradition made of ingredients symbolizing certain aspects of the Battalion. Each staff position added one ingredient and explained how it represents a part of the Warrior Battalion. Battalion Commander Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Ella Griffin tasted the punch and decided it needed one more thing: instant coffee, which keeps leaders going. Then, the staff assistants set up the Fallen Comrade Table as Cadet Captain Stefanie Tanner read the Fallen Comrade Ceremonypoem. This table represents all the soldiers that have fought for and died for America’s freedom. The prominent staff members then lead the Battalion in the evening’s toasts.
Throughout the meal, Cadet Corporal Kevin Marrero maintained order as the Vice President of the mess. Several cadets accused and found guilty of being violators of the mess by Mr. Vice were “punished” and had to complete challenging tasks.
The cake, provided by the culinary class at Wiesbaden High School, was cut by SGM (Ret.) Allen Ashton and Cadet Private Troy McAllister. It is a tradition that the oldest and the youngest persons make the first cut together with a saber.
After cutting the cake, both Griffin and LTC (ret.) Jon Ring delivered speeches. Griffin spoke on the purpose of the night, “With this dining in, we are laying our foundations of formal presentation, respect, and etiquette.” Ring advised the audience on better leadership and inspired them to pursue it, “At the end of the day, we have one opportunity in life. The best part about the Warrior Battalion and JROTC, in general, is that you have the opportunity to learn and grow together. It is said that iron sharpens iron, so the harder you are on yourself, the stronger and sharper those around you will be. As each of you continue to grow, commit yourself to sharpening those around you.”
The Battalion Commander asked the Battalion to recite the Cadet Creed with her. Then, the Colors were retired, and the informal portion of the night began, in which each Platoon performed a prepared skit. The skits included marching incorrectly to the Barbie theme song as a cadence, a JROTC uniform fashion show, and Trivia.
Griffin then thanked all the cadets for attending and making the evening special. She then dismissed the cadets, concluding a wonderful evening.