The Khaki Ball: 4 Things To Know

wine glass on restaurant table

It’s about that time for Khaki Ball season! After grueling weeks of physical, mental, and emotional tasks (more on that here), Khaki Ball is truly a way to commemorate and celebrate all the new chief petty officers.

So whether you have never been to one or you just need a refresher, here are four things to know about the Khaki Ball:

The evening celebrates newly-pinned chiefs

The Khaki Ball is held every year to welcome newly-pinned chiefs and their spouses/significant others into the Chiefs Mess. This is a special, exclusive evening for chiefs and their significant others.

Similar to the Submarine Birthday Ball (Sub Ball), the event will likely have pictures and a cash bar. Pro tip: take your photos before the drinks start flowing or the lines get too long. There is plenty of time for mingling, but be prepared to spend some time alone unless you know a fellow spouse or significant other. Your chief has spent weeks bonding with their fellow selects and sponsors so they will have lots to talk about. 

During the formal portion of the evening there will be opening remarks, guest speakers and dinner will be served. There will also be a formal welcoming of all the new chief petty officers. Remember proper etiquette and try not to get up when speakers are giving remarks. The night will end with cake and dancing. The night can get a little wild but remember to have fun but be responsible! You and your Chief have made it!

The Ball is typically held in October

While the (Sub Ball) is typically held in the spring (close to National Submarine Day, April 11), the Khaki Ball is held in the fall (close to Navy’s birthday, October 13). The date and location are typically set prior to the season starting to make sure to speak to your chief select about the date and time.

Here are the dates we could find:

  • Bangor: Saturday, Sept. 30 (Naval Base Kitsap), Friday, Oct. 6 (USS Nimitz)
  • Charleston: Saturday, Sept. 30
  • D.C.: Saturday, Sept. 30
  • Groton: Saturday, Oct. 7
  • Guam: Friday, Oct. 6
  • Kings Bay: Saturday, Oct. 7
  • Norfolk: Friday, Oct. 7
  • Pearl Harbor: Saturday, Sept. 30
  • Portsmouth, NH/Kittery, ME: Friday, Oct. 6
  • San Diego: Sunday, Oct. 9

The attire is semi-formal/cocktail

Contrary to its name, the Khaki Ball is less formal than Sub Ball. This event is semi-formal/cocktail attire and dresses can be knee length. Find a dress that is comfortable, makes you feel confident, is easy to move in and shoes that are comfortable. You shouldn’t be breaking the bank on the dress (remember chief pay doesn’t start right away).

For servicemembers, they wear Male or Female Service Khaki.

Some of my favorite stores to shop for semi formal attire are TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Nordstrom Rack, and Windsor. If you do decide to shop online make sure to shop early so you have to a chance to try it on prior to the event. For more ideas, a quick Google search will help you or visit this U.S. Navy Chief Spouse Facebook page. Ball days can be long from hair, makeup, photos, and mingling so make sure to eat and hydrate prior to the event.

Plan ahead for accomodations and transportation

Schedule childcare as soon as you can. Typically the new chief petty officers and their sponsors will attend so you may find your normal neighborhood babysitter already booked so plan ahead.

The last thing the command will want is a alcohol related incident the night of the event so make sure to arrange a hotel, designated driver, or plan on taking an ride share vehicle home. Often times the hotel will have a block of rooms saved for the event at a discount rate.

Make sure to tag us on IG @thesubmergedlife we would love to see your outfits and follow along for the fun! Follow me for more Hawaii family fun and foodie finds.

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