“Most navy warships (Depending on the captain, of course) have pretty strict mealtime rules. Carriers not as much because they’re so big, but cruisers, destroyers and frigates typically have very specific meal start times where you are in place in the wardroom standing at your chair waiting for the captain. If you’re not there or are late, you either ask the captain to join, or you don’t eat.
The chaplain generally blesses the meal, and we wait for the captain to eat first. And you have to ask to be excused from either the captain or senior officer present to leave as well.
There is a lot of etiquette and rules governing most of the meal. We have fine china and silverware in the wardroom, with junior enlisted still working on their vocational rating serving the officers. There’s even a dumb waiter going up to the wardroom kitchen from the main galley and mess decks below.
It’s amazing that tradition has held in the face of operational life on a ship with everyone standing watch at different times 24/7, running drills, flight ops, everyone sleep deprived, etc. but I’ve never had a captain on any ship budge on the pleasantries of it; it feels almost sacred, which is refreshing.
I think it’s held so long because it brings everyone together in a daily forum so that the captain can build relationships. Kind of like families, eh?”
—Chris, in an email to my parents and siblings as part of a discussion on eating together as a family
My mom found the USN anchor teacup in a northern CA antique store. The anchor and cherry blossom teacup is a replica of Japanese Navy teacup. Chris and I got it in 2009 at Sasebo’s JMSDF Museum.