Every year, Det 009 cadets participate in an event called Dining-In: a casual, themed dinner, usually including costumes, a Grog Bowl, and guest speakers. In the fall of 2019, Dining-In was held at Sacred Heart University. This would become one of the last major events that Det 009 would host before cadets left campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic response. It was also the last Dining-In for the officers of Det 009’s cadre before the next rotation of officers arrived. Col McCarthy, Lt Col Hermes, and Capt Baik were all scheduled to move on to their next assignments. Fortunately, it turned out to be a night to remember.
Cadets arrived at Sacred Heart University in full tropical attire to match the theme of the afternoon, and began to make predictions of the events ahead. However, they wouldn’t have to wait long to find out as their conversations were cut off by the opening ceremonies. The ceremonies began with a live performance of the Star Spangled Banner by the Cadet Choir and quickly transitioned to the opening remarks by the host of the Dining In.
The host addressed the cadets and cadre and introduced the Cadet Wing Commander who made his statements. Then, the host called for each flight to add its ingredient to the Grog Bowl. As a parting gift, Capt Baik added a few large cans of spam to the mix. Once cadets and cadre alike had an opportunity to sample the Grog, dinner was served.
While cadets enjoyed their gourmet chicken dinner, they heard from two guest speakers. The first speaker was a Public Affairs officer who talked about her experience and worldview as a liaison between the military and the general public. The second was an Army Ranger who spoke about his journey through the intense training of Ranger School. The Ranger addressed his fight through adversity on the way to graduation, as he broke both of his arms during the training, yet refused to give up and drop out of the program. Their stories provided motivation to overcome the challenges faced in everyday life and offered a new perspective on what it means to be in the military.
After the comments from the speakers, Col McCarthy addressed the mess for the last time before he announced the new cadet wing commander. After the applause subsided, the host thanked all who attended, acknowledged the speakers, and dismissed Dining In 2019. While the next Dining In might look different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Det 009 looks forward to hosting it once again in the Fall of 2020.