Promotion Traditions

On a destroyer we happened to be in the shipyard in San Diego. We had a ceremony on the fantail as yardbirds were walking around doing their thing. Later that evening we had a dining in with the whole wardroom for the newbies at the US Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego. When I made O3 we were on WestPac and it was a modest ceremony for us in the wardroom.
 
🌟congrats to the C/O 2022 on their ‘time in’ promotions today 💯 🙌!!
“Over 2” for most, though some priors might be “Over 4.”

For non-military people wondering WTH:
The time in service promotions occur every 2 years up to 26 years for officers. The priors in 2022 may well have had enough time in that they were already “over 2 (years)” on Comm Day, and they go “over 4” today.
 
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Regarding traditions... I remember the expectations for a wetting down were:
1. The guy getting a promotion should throw a party (better to join forces with others promoted at the same time!)
2. Officers only (avoid crazy antics witnessed by enlisted Marines)
3. Host was supposed to pay the difference between old and new monthly pay
4. Host to chug a mug of beer and catch his new rank insignia (which was placed in the mug) in his teeth

Was #4 a thing or just folklore? I don't remember anyone doing it.

In reality, my NROTC commissioning as an O1 was day before graduation. Mother and girlfriend (now my DW) pinned on my butter bars. Promotion to O2 and O3 were in the Commanding Officer's office with a few of the staff officers in attendance. No family or spouses. Not a public display like an enlisted promotion which is done in front of the assembled unit in formation.

Only "wetting down" I had was a party thrown by a number of us who had been promoted to O3 at/or near the same time at someone's house. Officers and spouses. Had a big six foot sub, beer, wine, etc. Nothing raucous.
 
4. Host to chug a mug of beer and catch his new rank insignia (which was placed in the mug) in his teeth

Was #4 a thing or just folklore? I don't remember anyone doing it.
I had to do this when I qualified SWO and thus "won" my SWO pin.
I think that it was in the Roosevelt Roads O' Club but my memory is not strong on that one.
 
4. Host to chug a mug of beer and catch his new rank insignia (which was placed in the mug) in his teeth

Heck, that's how we got our class rings at USAFA (at least in my squadron) at our Air Officer Commandings' (AOC) home. For those of legal age, it was a class wine glass filled to the brim. Underage...it was sparkling cider as I recall.
 
Had the honor and pleasure of witnessing DD's promotion to O-2 at Camp Lejeune (as well as that of her roommate). It was simple, meaningful and moving all at once.

DD kept it simple, choosing the lawn just outside her workplace at 0800. Her platoon was present, as were her battalion commander, company commander and assorted staff. So were a few fellow LTs, either recently or about to be promoted.

Her Gunny read aloud the President's order. The company XO administered the oath. I stepped forward to replace her butter bars with silver bars. Gunny then ordered the platoon to gather around to hear DD's remarks.

And this is when my allergies flared. To hear DD's short speech was my surest sign yet that she's all grown up and truly a leader of Marines. With confidence and modesty, she thanked those who've smoothed her transition to the platoon, particularly Gunny. There was thanks to her superior officers. And then heartfelt appreciation to her Marines. She spoke off the top of her head, and straight from her heart. I couldn't have been prouder.

When she was done, Gunny said, "All right, everyone congratulate Lt. _____." And with that, each Marine came forward to shake her hand and the ceremony ended. It was all done in about 15 minutes.

Afterward, I spoke briefly with the battalion commander. He said that he tried to attend every O-2 promotion. To paraphrase what he told me: "It's an automatic promotion, but it means so much. As an O-1, your Marines don't expect you to know everything. As an O-2, they suddenly expect you to know everything. The pressure really ramps up." He repeated those same words to DD before departing.

Leading up to the ceremony, DD was very nervous. Apparently, so were her roommate and other buddies leading up to their own events. I now know that it was about those remarks -- just a few minutes before a relatively small audience, but a lot baked into their words. In my days as a corporate executive, I knew that a leader is evaluated every time they open their mouth -- by their superiors and peers, and especially by their subordinates. So it was so important to choose words carefully and present them confidently. I told DD and her roommate that their nerves didn't betray them. Their respective messages were spot-on and genuine.

P.S. Friday night is the "wet down." DD is doing hers with a buddy. The bar they chose is known for cheap beer, so they don't think the full allotment will be spent. (Famous last words, I say.) I look forward to toasting DD as she caps her first week as a 1LT.
 
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4 was “a thing” when wetting downs were held in O clubs.
Regarding traditions... I remember the expectations for a wetting down were:
1. The guy getting a promotion should throw a party (better to join forces with others promoted at the same time!)
2. Officers only (avoid crazy antics witnessed by enlisted Marines)
3. Host was supposed to pay the difference between old and new monthly pay
4. Host to chug a mug of beer and catch his new rank insignia (which was placed in the mug) in his teeth

Was #4 a thing or just folklore? I don't remember anyone doing it.

In reality, my NROTC commissioning as an O1 was day before graduation. Mother and girlfriend (now my DW) pinned on my butter bars. Promotion to O2 and O3 were in the Commanding Officer's office with a few of the staff officers in attendance. No family or spouses. Not a public display like an enlisted promotion which is done in front of the assembled unit in formation.

Only "wetting down" I had was a party thrown by a number of us who had been promoted to O3 at/or near the same time at someone's house. Officers and spouses. Had a big six foot sub, beer, wine, etc. Nothing raucous.
4 was “a thing” back when battalions had wetting downs in the O club.
 
Folks getting promoted will pay the difference between new and old paygrades for the first month's pay. Traditionally, it goes to drinks at the O-Club but nowadays can go towards any number of other things (also O-Clubs are all but dead now). Common to pool a group together for a larger pot of money and therefore a more (or less) memorable night.

Bit of Navy trivia: Wetting down means wetting down the new stripes so they match the older, worn stripes on your jacket. Has less meaning nowadays since SDBs generally stay in garment bags in closets and don't get much of an opportunity to look worn to begin with.
 
Common to pool a group together for a larger pot of money and therefore a more (or less) memorable night.
This is exactly what DD did a couple months ago at Camp Lejeune. She and two other new 1LTs pooled their funds at a semi-dive bar. It was a very memorable night, and more pricey than they anticipated. I guess the Marines present weren't going to let the opportunity go by.
 
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