16 February 2011

30 years of ARMY Food...

The history of mess?

Yummm....CI Roller Dude eating C-Ration, in West Germany, Circa 1976

From the Soldier side: If you study military history, right after weapons and tactics, THE most important thing is the food served to the troops. Many years ago, I was reading an actual account from the American Civil War (or, the War Between the States). In this story, the troops were issued 3 days worth of rations. These rations were something like: Bacon, Hard Tac, Flour, Beans and a mess kit.


Yummy huh. As this story went along, the sergeant in charge of this small squad got mad at his troops because they had eaten the entire 3 days of rations by lunch time on the first day.

In the mid 1990’s, I was a squad leader in a Combat Engineer company. We were doing training at Fort Irwin, CA. We were going out on a 2 day exercise. We were issued rations for 2 days--- MREs.

Before dinner time on the first day, some of my guys came up to me and told me they were hungry. I looked at them and said: “well, I guess we can have our chow break for dinner now…”

(we’d been humpin’ across the desert and were dry and tired to.)

My guys looked at me and said: “Sarge, we’ve already eaten everything they gave us.”


I realized that not only did I have to work on fire discipline with these kids, but food discipline.

I can recall many of the Army mess halls I’ve eaten in during the 20plus years I was in the Regular Army and the National Guard. Our battalion mess in Berlin was good. The other battalions sucked.

Almost every Army National Guard mess hall I’ve ever eaten in during training served some of the worst shit I have ever eaten in my life.
We had no idea what this was

When my National Guard unit was called up for training in Bosnia, we went to training with the RED BULLs. Their mess hall sucked. When we got to Ft McCoy for more useless training, they opened up an old WWII mess hall. I think they found some old boxes of food from 1945. That shit was gross. But when we finally got to Bosnia, we had great chow!

An actual meal served to us at Ft McCoy.  Notice the "Multi Meat".




Same deal for Iraq. We went to Ft Lewis, WA, and were stuck in the old WWII barracks and I think they found more shit from 1945. We got substandard food. But, we could have walked half a mile to the “real army” mess hall and they had pretty good chow.

When we got to Iraq, most, but not all, of the mess halls were pretty good. The closer you were to a general, the better the chow was.



Now, I can look back and laugh.


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M9 Beretta-92FS-everything-manual-ebook

The orginal "Multi Meat" Turkey or Chicken?

16 comments:

Coffeypot said...

I think I will talk to Waffle House about getting some good grub out to the troops. Only the best for our guys.

SAM said...

Wow, that was the ugliest toast I ever saw in my life. I wonder, why do they issue spoon instead of fork or forkspoon in the MRE.I mean we can't poke the vegetable with a spoon, it will simply fly away.

Anonymous said...

1. Can remember no good Army mess halls.
2. In my Army days, each company had its own cooks and mess hall.
3. The chances for decent food improved, when the mess was consolidated.
4. Saw that in the Marines. Usually an effort was made to produce decent evening meals -and the other two pretty much sucked.
5. In the field, for my combat days, the problem was water.
6. We carried C rations -which worked in VN, because everything was in a can.
7. Was medevaced twice for dysentary, from bad water.
8. Everything we drank was treated, just sometimes not well enough.
9. Would not evac you for a case of the runs. Everybody had that all the time.
10. With a fever between 105 and 106, you'd be so weak you had to be carried.
11. Can remember a disbelieving medic shaking down his thermometer for another try. Told me the high fever was causing brain damage.
12. Said, "Thanks, guy."
13. That's been my excuse for all my failings, ever since.
14. The, then, palliative for high fever was to pack the stretcher with ice and run saline or Ringer's in both arms.
15. Probably the only ice around, other than in officer's country.
16. Your bottom photograph is emblematic of neglect. Bad leadership.
17. Remember a couple of times in garrison in Germany when my fellow GI's were breaking into a warehouse and stealing cases of C rations to sustain themselves.
18. Did not participate in the thefts, but will admit to hooking a fang into some of the stolen goods.
19. Again, bad leadership. My Army superiors at that juncture operated under the following leadership philosophy: show up, do your job, then disappear and don't bother me.
20. At the time, we figured that if the Russians invaded, they could have reached the North Sea ports about as fast as they could drive.
21. Things are better now, if not ideal.
V/R JWest

TheNewMagoo said...

Some of that food almost looks like food!

But yeah, that one pic seems to be toast and 3 varieties of vomit. I'll have to assume it's less about nutrition and more about building character.

CI-Roller Dude said...

Coffey, That would be a good idea!

Sam, why not have a spoon, knife and fork in the MRE so you don't have to pick up a chunk of mulit meat and try to gooble in down?

Mr West, do ya' think we should have joined the Air Force? The chow halls on the Air bases was always good.

newmagoo, it tasted like puke to. Some meals I just ate the apple. I had my own coffee/ tea brewer so I could survive.

Wrexie said...

Ewww. That's just gross. I thought the kids school lunches were horrible. Poor Soldier, retirement will definately treat you better. :)

I like the SPAM song..perfect dinner music for THAT! haha
you b funny...

Wrexie said...

Yuck. I just had to say that top picture looks like something my dog made or found. (but SHE wouldn't even eat THAT!) Did I say, EWW? ew.

next picture please...
how about a nice big badass Army gun???

Jay said...

CI If you could survive the food you could survive anything.

MRE cheese said...

nothing was worse than the chow at North Fort Polk back in2003 on my way to the Balkans

CI-Roller Dude said...

WRX, dogs wouldn't eat that stuff...

Jay, did you ever see the Army poster about cooks: "US ARMY COOKS- Death from within."

MRECheese, Ft Polk sucked in 1975 and in 2003 when we went there for more useless training for Bosnia. and we had 80+ troops in one massive building...the entire fort was like a giant pile of cameldonkeyshit.

Saker said...

My favorite is the veggie omelet MRE. There are a lot of theories on what it's made out of, but everybody agrees that it isn't eggs.

Anonymous said...

1. You may be right about the AF.
2. The only USAF dining facility I recall being allowed to eat in was at Prestwick, Scotland.
3. The food there was crappy British food -like every where else in that country. Lived on fish and chips served in a newspaper -the greasier, the better. Good beer, tho.
4. Best remember the inflight box lunches. Low life types, like me, always seemed to get: a drum stick, bologna sandwich and apple.
5. Non operational, we were charged for the things.
6. Heard there was a deluxe version for flight crew -but that could have been a jealous delusion on some troop's part.
7. After hours in troop seats, one john in a C-130, noise, etc, we were willing to believe anything bad about the AF.
8. The other side of the story: My idiot lieutenants were responsible for Marines being permanently banned from the Officer's Club on the USAFB on Okinawa.
9. Had been banned before but promised good behavior. Came back from a contingency and trashed the place again.
10. Healthy young lads just letting off steam?
11. AF wasn't buying it.
12. They'd done the same thing to the O Club at MCB 29 Palms, terrorizing a bunch of elderly colonels instead of handsome AF wives.
13. Have a picture of them in the back of a six-by, being trucked out to Camp Wilson. Look like a bunch of louts on the downside of a serious drunk. Half of them got out and became FBI agents.
14. Probably would have cost our BN CDR his job -except he'd been fired three days before over a FU by one of the other LT's that nearly killed the regimental commander (and our boss).
15. Ah, memories.
V/R JWest

CI-Roller Dude said...

Mr West, I added some C-Ration pics. Just to make you feel like old home week.

Anonymous said...

1. B-3's! (Peaches, pears or fruit cocktail)
2. Definitely old home week.
3. Thanks for the memory!
V/R JWest

Momma Fargo said...

Wow. I'm so arroused by those pics that I want to run out to my backpack and eat the first MRE I pull out. ACK! Give me steak!

CI-Roller Dude said...

MF, don't you guys shoot moose or something in your area?
I keep MREs in my emergency kits...but all the resturants would hav' had to have burned down before I'd eat one again.