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176th Wing Combat Dining-In

KULIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Alaska -- 2nd. Lt. Vanessa Ortiz, 2nd Lt. Charity Mollison, and Lt. Col. Patty Wilbanks at the 176th Wing's final "Combat Dining In" at Kulis Air National Guard Base. Photographer unknown.

KULIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Alaska -- 2nd. Lt. Vanessa Ortiz, 2nd Lt. Charity Mollison, and Lt. Col. Patty Wilbanks at the 176th Wing's final "Combat Dining In" at Kulis Air National Guard Base. Photographer unknown.

KULIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Alaska -- Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing put on a combat dining-in Nov. 6 in a maintenance hangar on the base.

A dining-in is a military tradition. Members gather to dine, poke fun of each other in good taste and follow a rigidly enforced set of humorous guidelines.

"It's very cool," said Staff Sgt. Jesus Rodriguez, a personnelist with the 176th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. "It's supposed to bring camaraderie."

Attendees were required to bring their military ID, dog tags, uniform and a ticket. It was highly recommended to bring water guns, water balloons -- and to wear whatever uniform a member cared least about.

Wing members who broke protocol were sent to the grog bowl, a container of gross liquid to be consumed in front of the entire audience, or mess. There were few repeat offenders.

Although the dinner had its kinks, such as delayed dinner and the acoustics of the hangar, it panned out well due to the improvisation of the president of the mess, the vices and those behind the scenes.

"It's a fun experience for all," said 2nd Lt. Yutashea Zirkle, a logistics readiness officer with the 176th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

A combat dining-in has its roots in the ancient Romans' celebration banquets. The custom was adopted by and evolved in the British military, then carried over to the American military.

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