DLA Army Reserve Element holds 'dining out' to say farewell to outgoing ARE commander

By Air Force Master Sgt. Scott Mathews DLA Joint Reserve Forces Public Affairs

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The Defense Logistics Agency Army Reserve Element on May 14 honored its outgoing commander, Army Col. Ralph S. Roper, with a "dining out" banquet during the unit’s May Battle Assembly.

Nearly 130 joint service members, friends and family attended the semiformal event at The Club at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

“This was a great opportunity to show spouses, other services and friends what we do in the Army,” said Roper. “It brings us all together to break bread, honor tradition and have fun at the same time.”

The event included posting of the colors by Civil Air Patrol cadets, the playing of Taps, many formal toasts and symbolic place settings honoring deployed and fallen soldiers.

It was at times serious and somber but also had a lot of humor sprinkled in. Lighthearted moments included punishment handed down by the “vice president of the mess” for not obeying the rules for the evening and two attendees racing on children’s toys, one in a mask; and another attendee putting on funny clothes and singing.

The evening also featured the making of the “grog,” where about 10 members created a punchbowl drink they made from different symbolic liquids, to share with banquet goers. The narrator of the event said that today’s grog is a symbolic reflection of an age-old tradition.

“The DLA ARE held this dining out to celebrate the Unit’s achievements this last year supporting DLA and to say farewell to Col. Roper as his 24 months as the DLA ARE Commander come to an end,” said Capt. Lukas Toth, DLA ARE HHD Commander.

Roper went on to say, “The way our service members were involved and engaged really brought this thing to life. It wasn’t just about me; it was about the group as a whole.”

The honoree of the evening decided to go off script a little and recognize individuals who helped make the evening a success.

Army 1st Lt. Tara Drumm and Army 2nd Lt. Jenise Harris received Army Achievement Medals and Toth the Army Commendation Medal for their efforts coordinating and executing the dining out and the change of command the following day.

“This was a great way to finish up my time here with this wonderful group of people,” said Roper.

The dining out, a periodic military banquet, is similar to a dining in, except the commander of the hosting unit can invite spouses and friends. The Dining In is a military tradition dating to the 10th Century.