7 Tips for Planning an Army Dining In Or Dining Out

Today, I want to share seven tips to have a successful Army Dining In or Dining Out.  If you are assigned as the Project Officer or Project NCO responsible for planning this event, I can offer a few pointers to make sure things go smoothly.

# 1 Get the Commander’s Intent

The first and most important step on the planning process is to get the commander’s intent.  Find out what they want the event to be like.  Ask them a few questions and get as much input as possible.  Ultimately, you want to ensure the event is very similar to what they want and expect.

# 2 Talk with the Prior Project NCO or Officer

Your next step is to sit down with last year’s Project Officer or Project NCO and pick their brain.  Ask them as many questions as possible.  Find out their advice for you.  Get whatever information and documents you can from them.

# 3 Get a Copy of the Old OPORD

This is similar to # 2.  You need to get a copy of previous OPORDs for the event so you have a base document.  This will really make your life easier.  If you can’t find one in your current unit, try to get one from a sister unit.  If that doesn’t work, do a quick Internet search.  You’re going to have to write an OPORD anyway, so get something to reference and save you time.

# 4 Start Planning AT LEAST 90 Days Out

The sooner you can start planning for the event, the better off you will be.  I suggest you start your brainstorming and initial planning at least 90 days out, and preferably 180 days out.  The more time you have the better.

# 5 Get 1-2 People to Help You

You can’t go it alone.  You need at least a small team of 1-2 helpers.  Ask the S3 if they can task someone to be your assistant.  If that isn’t feasible, ask a subordinate in your normal chain of command to help you out and be your deputy.

# 6 Get Input from Others

Get input from people in the unit.  Talk to people who have attended other Dining Ins or Dining Outs and ask them what made those events good or bad.  Try to talk with at least 10 different people to get input.  You will get plenty of good ideas by doing this.

# 7 Find a Way to Make It Unique

Most Dining Ins and Dining Outs are fairly similar.  Do what you can to make it unique.  Change up the location, have a theme, or do something to make it very memorable.

Final Thoughts

In summary, these are my 7 best tips to have a successful Army Dining In or Dining Out.  As the Project Officer or NCO, it’s your job to make sure the event is planned, resourced and executed properly.  By following the advice listed above you should be well on your way.

What are your thoughts?  If you’ve ever planned an Army Dining In or Dining Out I would love to hear from you.  Just leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)
Publisher, Part-Time-Commander.com
Email: mrchuckholmes@gmail.com

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2 thoughts on “7 Tips for Planning an Army Dining In Or Dining Out”

  1. I’ve never been to a dining in or a dining out event, but the pictures I’ve seen from my brothers always makes these events look like a great time. All I know is I could have really used this advice when planning my wedding, these simple organization tips would certainly have made the day go much smoother for everyone involved. You offer really great advice about planning ahead and delegating authority to others to make a plan come together.

    1. The planning process for any event, such as a wedding, dining in or dining out is pretty much the same. One of the greatest skills I learned as an Army Officer is “how to plan.” I use those strategies in my business, my marriage and everything I do in life. It helps a lot.

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