The Woods

One of the most popular social places on the ship is the Marine Senior NCO's Mess located on Deck 15.

This mess hall is referred to by its nickname, “The Woods,” affectionately named after one of the most famous battlegrounds in marine history—that of the Battle at Belleau Wood in France, Earth, during the world war of 1914 to 1918. Most Marines (including officers) will only ever refer to this popular recreational facility by that name, and the lounge is indeed treated with great reverence.  An invitation for other enlisted ranks or officers on board the ship to attend senior NCO mess functions is always treated with great honour.

The lounge facility comprises not only restaurant facilities (only a small replicator is operative within the mess hall) that serves hot food, 24 hours every day, but also a small bar. The bar is a highly-laminated affair made of glowing steel that, under bright lighting conditions, can prove almost blinding—a handicap to any over-intoxicated persons, for certain.

The seating arrangements in this small lounge have been created to replicate those of a maritime naval ship from previous centuries—with several small, square, tables that are bolted to the floor, surrounded by a few well-worn leather armchairs, a couple of couches and several tall “beer-drinkers” tables.

The walls of this bar are adorned with the images of several historically honoured marines of the old-Earth Marine Corps of several nations; a few from the original Colonial Marines, the UNPF Corps and today's SFMC. Hanging beside each of these images are framed replicas of the individual’s awards.

The Senior NCO's mess is well-known as a lively, rowdy place—filled with laughter, song, nostalgia, and, above all else, military language (although upon entering, military protocols are traditionally left outside.)

The door emblem/logo depicts an ancient Earth tribe (Celtic) symbol for “Devil Dogs,” the names given to the US Marines by their German Army opponents, who fought at the Battle of Belleau Wood back in June 1918. This bar, then, is indeed a living, breathing reminder to all Marines of the deeds of their ancient forefathers, and of the camaraderie that is generated by remembrance of past heroism and of the baptism of fire.