The 3rd United States Infantry (The Old Guard) will be holding its annual Ball on May 08, 2009 at 6 p.m. at the Crystal City Hyatt.

The TOG Ball is an exciting night that involves dinner, dancing and the building of camaraderie between Soldiers of the regiment.

I wanted to point out some important etiquette tips in advance of the Ball execution because many Soldiers throughout the regiment may have never attended a military Ball. To help those Soldiers, I have created "Sgt. Parker's Guide to The Old Guard Ball."

1. Get there with enough time to settle in and chat with your fellow Soldiers. This is a great time to introduce your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse to the people you work with every day. This is also the best time to use the latrine and encourage your date to do the same.

2. You will know the cocktail hour is over by the sounding of a bugle to signify the start of the dinner hour. This is your time to find your seat. All seats are arranged by company, so be sure to check the seating chart to find the location of your table.

3. At your seat, you will find the program. Keep this program and look at it to see what the sequence of events is. THIS IS IMPORTANT! Shortly after sitting, the colors will be posted. Respect the colors as you would any indoor ceremony and give your date a quick class on how to properly respect the colors. If you or your date need to use the bathroom facilities, do so quietly and respectfully.

4. Following the posting of the colors, the chaplain will give his invocation. After that, come the Toasts. The Toasts are a very important part of the Ball. The Toasts give us, as a regiment, an opportunity to raise a glass and pay tribute to those that mean so much to us as Soldiers. At this time, a designated speaker will propose specific Toasts in accordance with the sequence in your TOG Ball program. It is YOUR responsibility during this time to respectfully listen and reply with the appropriate response, also found in your program.

5. Following the Toasts, the opening remarks will be made by either the RCO or RSM. During this time, it is proper etiquette to remain quiet.

6. After the remarks, dinner will be served and the TOG video shown. This is another great time to go to the latrine if necessary.

7. Shortly after the video, the guest speaker will be introduced. Please show our guest speaker the proper courtesy of not speaking during his or her remarks. Unfortunately this has been a problem in the past and doesn't reflect the proper values and ideals of the regiment. Following the guest speaker, closing remarks will be made and the colors will be retired. Remember how you respected the colors as they were posted' The same rules apply when the colors are retired. Too easy.

8. Now comes the fun part... time to dance! Hit the dance floor and cut up the rug like never before, but keep in mind that this is a formal ball, not the dance club you may be used to going to on the weekends. Relay this information to your date as well.

9. Here comes the most important rule: HAVE FUN. This is an excellent opportunity to see your teammates outside of work and continue to build strong relationships. Have fun, but also BE RESPONSIBLE. Designate a driver or make arrangements to stay at the hotel. If you had too much to drink, be strong enough to realize this and call a taxi or take the Metro home. As with everything in the Army, have a plan, and if that plan doesn't work, use your back-up plan.

Here are some numbers to help you out in a pinch:
- Staff Duty: 703-696-3003
- Taxi: 703-522-3333
- To get to the Metro: Once you leave the hotel, take 27th St. towards Jefferson Davis Highway. Take a right onto Jefferson Davis highway and walk about A,A3/4 of a mile to 18th St. The Metro will be on your right. The Crystal City Metro runs the blue line.