Promotion Traditions

It’s that time of year where many JOs will be automatically promoting to O-2 or O-3 over the next few weeks. Can anyone share any memorable experiences or traditions of putting on the next rank?
On my first ship I promoted to LTJG and those of us who promoted to LTJG that day threw a wardroom wetting down party. This was expected of us and the five or so of us did it at my wife's and my house in Virginia Beach which had a pretty big yard which we needed since wife and I had spent most of our cash on buying the house and did not have a lot of furniture. I think we had burger, dogs and chicken plus salads, etc as well as beer, whiskey, etc. It cost us a fair amount but was a ton of fun.
 
On my first ship I promoted to LTJG and those of us who promoted to LTJG that day threw a wardroom wetting down party. This was expected of us and the five or so of us did it at my wife's and my house in Virginia Beach which had a pretty big yard which we needed since wife and I had spent most of our cash on buying the house and did not have a lot of furniture. I think we had burger, dogs and chicken plus salads, etc as well as beer, whiskey, etc. It cost us a fair amount but was a ton of fun.
Sounds like a blast! I bet celebrations like that are some the days you look most fondly on when you reflect on your time on service.
 
! I bet celebrations like that are some the days you look most fondly on when you reflect on your time on service.
Wetting downs were great...I still remember one epic bash which a bunch of LT's put on at NAS Brunswick. A full on down east lobster broil, with all of the trimmings (and plenty of liquid refreshments). Unfortunately, I had CDO duty that weekend and couldn't fully partake, but was fortunate that something occurred and I had to talk with the Skipper (that was before cell phones) so i drove on down and got some great chow.
 
O-1 to O-2. The CO at my first duty station did quarterly wetting downs. All those promoted in that window divvied up the cost of a two-hour open bar at the Club, pro rata per rank and the upcoming pay raise, per some arcane formula the XO had. It was mandatory. No other option. I was miserable, watching people trying to drink as much as they could while I nursed a Coke. I didn’t like the whole vibe. And I hated the money lost to a celebration I had no say in.

O-2 to O-3. I had a cool CO and CSO and a small wardroom. I rented a decent-sized power boat with comfy seating, a head and a tiny galley, with another officer being promoted, and took us on a day trip out to the rock formations around Capri in the Bay of Naples. Had Prosecco, German beer and soft drinks, and a fabulous platter of Italian coldcuts, cheeses, olives, roasted peppers and bread. The other officer brought cannoli and Italian cookies. We had a blast. Everyone enjoyed themselves. Skipper was impressed with my boating skills. The spouses and SOs were happy. Nobody got stupid drunk.

O-3 to O-4. After-work gathering was scheduled at the I-Bar on NAS North Island for all promoted that quarter. We lost a petty officer earlier that week in a motorcycle accident. We canceled the event, did not re-schedule and gave the pot of pooled money to the family.

O-4 to O-5. I was frocked to O-5 (promoted but not paid) as I was ordered into an XO O-5 job, the day I reported in. Pay date came and went. No one noticed.

O-5 to O-6. Honored to be promoted in Mem Hall at USNA. Held an open house that evening for all my Yard neighbors, company officers, company SEL, chain of command, faculty and other staff officers and friends. Invited my Batt stripers and company COs and XOs AFTER their own dinner (otherwise I would have had to triple the food budget), to drop by for “Mid Hour” with all of us, and then depart. I had Adam’s Ribs catering, beer, bubbly and soft drinks. Hawaiian shirts and aloha attire.

Of course, I have attended a few wetting-downs. 🤫🤐
 
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O-1 to O-2. The CO at my first duty station did quarterly wetting downs. All those promoted in that window divvied up the cost of a two-hour open bar at the Club, pro rata per rank and the upcoming pay raise, per some arcane formula the XO had. It was mandatory. No other option. I was miserable, watching people trying to drink as much as they could while I nursed a Coke. I didn’t like the whole vibe. And I hated the money lost to a celebration I had no say in.

O-2 to O-3. I had a cool CO and CSO and a small wardroom. I rented a decent-sized power boat with comfy seating, a head and a tiny galley, with another officer being promoted, and took us on a day trip out to the rock formations around Capri in the Bay of Naples. Had Prosecco, German beer and soft drinks, and a fabulous platter of Italian coldcuts, cheeses, olives, roasted peppers and bread. The other officer brought cannoli and Italian cookies. We had a blast. Everyone enjoyed themselves. Skipper was impressed with my boating skills. The spouses and SOs were happy. Nobody got stupid drunk.

O-3 to O-4. After-work gathering was scheduled at the I-Bar on NAS North Island for all promoted that quarter. We lost a petty officer earlier that week in a motorcycle accident. We canceled the event, did not re-schedule and gave the pot of pooled money to the family.

O-4 to O-5. I was frocked to O-5 (promoted but not paid) as I was ordered into an XO O-5 job, the day I reported in. Pay date came and went. No one noticed.

O-5 to O-6. Honored to be promoted in Mem Hall at USNA. Held an open house that evening for all my Yard neighbors, company officers, company SEL, chain of command, faculty and other staff officers and friends. Invited my Batt stripers and company COs and XOs AFTER their own dinner (otherwise I would have had to triple the food budget), to drop by for “Mid Hour” with all of us, and then depart. I had Adam’s Ribs catering, beer, bubbly and soft drinks. Hawaiian shirts and aloha attire.

Of course, I have attended a few wetting-downs. 🤫🤐
Ah. . .
O2 to O3 - Frocked and then transferred to a new ship. No wetting down as no one noticed
O3 to O4 - In reserves and again frocked a month after I came into the unit as XO (and relieved an O5). Again, no one noticed when the actual promotion happened.
O5 - No memory of why it didn't happen. On the fleet staff and not frocked so not sure why it was missed as we had a pretty good group that
was up for a good time.
 
Ah. . .
O2 to O3 - Frocked and then transferred to a new ship. No wetting down as no one noticed
O3 to O4 - In reserves and again frocked a month after I came into the unit as XO (and relieved an O5). Again, no one noticed when the actual promotion happened.
O5 - No memory of why it didn't happen. On the fleet staff and not frocked so not sure why it was missed as we had a pretty good group that
was up for a good time.
You are overdue for a make-up. No statute of limitations. Maybe @Kierkegaard will host a group of us…I’m thinking kalua pork.
 
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I’ve never been promoted so I don’t have any promotion stories but. . .

I noticed through the years that when a Marine officer gets promoted to captain it’s a big deal because they trade one bar for two and there’s other reasons I’m sure. My wife and I couldn’t make it to our son’s promotion so the next time he came home we went to the museum and each put captain bars on his collar in front of the engineer monument. Daughter took pictures and the whole nine yards.

He had no expectations of us flying out to 29 Palms when he made major. His CO had to pull him out of the field to promote him. He walked into a full auditorium all dirty from desert dust and his colonel pinned him.
 
I hope everyone realizes the paygrade of O-6 is the first rank where you are trusted to know there is a left-facing eagle and a right-facing eagle and have to be worn in the appropriate orientation. All the more junior ranks are interchangeable as to side worn.
 
I hope everyone realizes the paygrade of O-6 is the first rank where you are trusted to know there is a left-facing eagle and a right-facing eagle and have to be worn in the appropriate orientation. All the more junior ranks are interchangeable as to side worn.
My hope next week is that I pin on DD's O-2 bars rightside up. Unlike at USNA graduation, when I accidentally pinned on her 0-1 bars upside down. DW nailed her side of the butter bars. Of course, she's more into proper style than I am. 🤭 The nice thing is that no one noticed. Not even DD. 🤗
 
I noticed through the years that when a Marine officer gets promoted to captain it’s a big deal because they trade one bar for two and there’s other reasons I’m sure.
Didn’t seem to be a big deal when ours was promoted to captain. Small contingent (10+) of peers in the ready room and a few words from the CO. Mom pinned on his bars and got the OK from his CO to give him a hug. Took about 10-15 minutes at most.

Not a promotion, but bigger deals were TBS graduation and Naval Aviator Designation Ceremony. Both were 2 day events with an open house and events for friends and family.

After TBS there was a mad dash to put Quantico in your rear view mirror.

For the “Winging” there was a huge after-party/rave hosted by the 30+ newly anointed aviators in Pensacola (circa 2022 post covid IYKYK).
 
I don’t remember parents at any promotions. I have been to a few friend’s pinnings the last few years. Usually kids and spouses are now doing these pinnings. We had some legendary wetting downs. One was in Japan and I think it was about 10 of us. We drank the bar dry. The other one for 0-3 was at a buddy’s house and a handful of folks. We rented a bouncy house for it. Was a blast. Pretty sure really drunk Company Grades between combat deployments on a bouncy house did not pass the safety brief. But we had fun!
 
I hope everyone realizes the paygrade of O-6 is the first rank where you are trusted to know there is a left-facing eagle and a right-facing eagle and have to be worn in the appropriate orientation. All the more junior ranks are interchangeable as to side worn.
And then there's that "person" that wears his dad's eagles...they're just a tad different...to see if anyone notices and/or says a thing...

You know, the ones that have the beaks facing the arrows?

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