Students from Vincent Middle High School gathered on December 2 at the Vincent National Guard Armory for an evening of dining and dancing at the 2017 Vincent JROTC Military Ball, an annual formal event for the Yellowjacket Brigade. More than 200 students attended the event, including 158 Junior ROTC cadets and their dates.
Male cadets attended the ceremony wearing their full uniforms while the ladies wore formal gowns. The night included a grog bowl ceremony with ingredients significant to Vincent JROTC, a slide show presentation with photos from activities throughout the year, dining, and dancing.
According to Major Stanley Murrell, the grog bowl is a military tradition at formal ceremonies. In military units, it includes a mixture of different beverages, and often additional items of historical or sentimental meaning to the particular unit. These items could include adding a handful of brown sugar as the narrator speaks of the sands from Beaches of Normandy on D-Day, or wine from the Rhine Valley, where US troops crossed into Garmany during the latter part of WWII. Murrell said sometimes the bowl is simply the symbolic elements, and many times items are added for humor, such as an old boot from the oldest member of the unit, a pacifier from the youngest member of the unit, or adding “gunpowder” (really black pepper) to give the punch an additional kick.
“Our grog bowl is high-school appropriate,” Murrell said. “We added a blue liquid, representing the ‘blue skies of Alabama’ (blue Hawaiian Punch), a golden liquid representing the ‘fields around our homes, ready for harvest’ (ginger ale), a mysterious black liquid representing the ‘other of our school colors’ (Coke), and similar descriptions while various soft drinks or punches were poured into the bowl over dry ice, creating an impressive layer of fog around the grog bowl.”
The cadet leadership gave brief speeches highlighting the hard work and accomplishments of the first semester. After the grog bowl ceremony, the formal dinner, and the Military Ball Court presentation to the audience, Cadets and their dates danced the rest of the night away.