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· SKS GOD OF GUNBOARDS
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I Remember in '65 that the first couple months the "C's" were from Korea & dated during that war!
In my 13 months there, I'd bet that I did not get mess hall meals for more than 30 days total. We were out all of the time, (1st Air Cav Pathfinder) & lived off of the "C's". I was golden because I had one of the old muti-fuel 'Squad stoves & could at least heat them up.
Maybe not that great, but 10 times better than COLD!'
I was there in 65 A co.1st bn abn 8th Cav 1st Cav . I remember getting the Korean war rations as well. The way C's were given out was to open case and turn it upside down scramble the boxes and let people grab one.I got malaria in dec 65 and was sent to Japan they issued me new boots when I left and they were brown from WW2
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
Damn Howey , you got there early on...I guess that is why once the NVA heard the God Of SKS's was on deck, they stopped bringing SKS's down south and issued Ak47 from then on. After all, the NVA knew then SKS were collectable and kept them north and far away from you. 1/8 Cav...yeah that counts Howey, great bonifides.
 

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Howie, I have an SKS bring-back that looks like it lived in the jungle for years. All exterior metal pitted & the stock could give you splinters! With the chrome lined bore though, I can still win SKS matches with it when we have them. Everybody laughs at it when I bring it out but are amazed at how accurate it is with Chinese copper wash.
I came over on the Darby with the rest of the 1st Cav from Ft. Benning. South Carolina-thru the Panama Canal & then a long trip across the Pacific to Qui Non. They put cargo nets over the side & we climbed down them with our gear into landing craft just like WWII.
We Pathfinders were part of HHC 11th Avn Bn.
General Kinard loved his Pathfinders, as they saved his ass in Bastogne when they were surrounded by the German's. Two Pathfinders night jumped in & directed a heavy drop resupply of food & ammo as the 101st guys were down to their last enblocks for their m-1's!
 

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In 1967 I was in Rangert School and another SSG named Jefferson, had also been in the 1st CAV when they first deployed to Vietnam. He said he did not remember eating anything but C-Rations for the first 9 months. John
There was a practical reason for this. "B" rats prepared by the company mess section were served into the individuals' mess kits. (Infantry units usually consolidated company mess sections at battalion level and sent hot (sometimes!) food to the companies in insulated Mermite cans. The big problem was the mess kit. It probably put more GI's in hospital with gastritis or dysentery than shell fragments.

The mess section was supposed to set up a mess kit "laundry." This was a series of 32 gallon cans heated by immersion heaters. The first two cans had hot soapy water, and the last was clear water at a rolling boil. The idea was to clean off the mess kit and cutlery at the first immersion heater with the provided toilet brush(!) to get most of the food residue off, then move on to immersion heater #2 for final cleaning and degreasing. At immersion heater #3 a dip in the boiling water hopefully sterilized the kit and let it dry out immediately afterwards. That was the theory.

Reality was a bit different. Immersion heaters were tricky to set up and fire up, and many a cook was severely injured when the ignition process went awry. Also, in theory, there were supposed to be a certain number of complete "laundries" for a certain number of men. I don't remember the exact numbers, but as often as not there were not enough of them set up. So if you were at the end of the line you were cleaning your mess kit in really filthy water and never got all of the greasy residue off. And that was the problem.

As a young lieutenant I had the additional duty of mess officer and remember the daily battles to get the cooks to set up and operate the mess laundries properly. I really didn't care if the food they prepared looked and tasted like "S" because it was the dirty cooking pots and mess kits that were giving everybody the trots.
 

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That might be part of it, but according to SSG Jefferson, they were always on the move, going from one hot spot to another one. I seem to remember the 1st CAV had a TOE of something like 434 choppers and a couple of fixed wing aircraft. Unless you were at a Fire Base, I cannot see them having the time to set up those Mess Lines. or having the water to support them. For the line companies moving and staying for days/weeks in the field it would have been almost impossible to set up a mess line. Much later in the war, about 1970/71 a very good friend of mine was also in the 1st Car, and some times they would get MerMite (sic) cans with steak sandwiches, or a carton of oranges, but no mess lines in the field.
 

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That might be part of it, but according to SSG Jefferson, they were always on the move, going from one hot spot to another one...
That was what made field messing wishful thinking. Each company mess section had three gas (mogas) ranges and a special tent. To save time some genius came up with the idea of putting the gas ranges on the back of a deuce & a half so you could cook on the move. I don't know how many trucks burnt up because of this, but eventually the army came up with a purpose-designed trailer to carry the ranges.
 

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As much as we like to complain about Army chow, it was a step up, at least for me. I grew up poor and my Aunt Margaret who was a member of the Salvation Army kept us well supplied with food donated to help feed the poor. Unbelievably, one can actually develop a taste for freezer burnt Moose meat and moldy cheese and donuts and can learn to enjoy the piquant flavors of the various molds. Being forced to digest all sorts of sub-standard food held me in good stead as no matter where I was deployed, I never had so much as a loose bowel movement from eating off the local economy while other members of my unit were hospitalized with the screaming shits.
 

· SKS GOD OF GUNBOARDS
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Howie, I have an SKS bring-back that looks like it lived in the jungle for years. All exterior metal pitted & the stock could give you splinters! With the chrome lined bore though, I can still win SKS matches with it when we have them. Everybody laughs at it when I bring it out but are amazed at how accurate it is with Chinese copper wash.
I came over on the Darby with the rest of the 1st Cav from Ft. Benning. South Carolina-thru the Panama Canal & then a long trip across the Pacific to Qui Non. They put cargo nets over the side & we climbed down them with our gear into landing craft just like WWII.
We Pathfinders were part of HHC 11th Avn Bn.
General Kinard loved his Pathfinders, as they saved his ass in Bastogne when they were surrounded by the German's. Two Pathfinders night jumped in & directed a heavy drop resupply of food & ammo as the 101st guys were down to their last enblocks for their m-1's!
Thanks Brother I was on the Geiger same trip as you through Panama canal, Pearl Harbor, Guam, then Qui non Same rope nets over the side with all your gear and weapon. 31 days on the ship total. Before we left and while we were still 11th Air Assault I was Picked to be General Kinnards orderly for two weeks . He was a fine man and a great General I was one of the originals in the 11th Air Assault when it was formed. It was a hand picked Division.
 

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I remember that ALL of the main entry "C's" had a 1/2" of grease on top. Somebody in the Army figured that a GI in combat needed 5,000 calories a day if he was going to be humping a 80# ruck & misc., guns, grenades & ammo all day!
Well when you read about the K rations of WW2, the development project based its estimates for daily caloric needs on soldiers digging ditches and marching around, instead of fighting and maneuvering with a ruck, rifle and ammo. Soldiers that lived on K-rats for extended periods (most notably Merrill's Marauders in Burma, which received all supplies by air drop) became seriously malnourished as a result.
 

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... I never had so much as a loose bowel movement from eating off the local economy while other members of my unit were hospitalized with the screaming shits.
There was a big difference between army mess hall food and field mess food. In a mess hall there was abundant hot water for proper cleaning. Refrigerator reefers allowed serving fresh (relatively speaking) meat, dairy and produce. More significantly, the cooks could take hot showers. I won't go into details of personal hygiene when it came to the mess section, because too many readers here ate mess hall food. I'll just say that as a mess officer I had to deal with certain personnel problems that were unique.
 

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At least soylent green is real meat!
Army mess hall "Swiss steak" obviously was not soylent green. Only a few experienced army cooks could beat this beef(?) into sumission where it was something edible. Well, it might have been edible, but it was not chewable. We used to joke that the army would have saved a fortune by using "Swiss steak" to make truck tires* because they would never wear out.

*Nostalgia: pounding on a deuce & a half wheel with sledge hammers to break the bead of a tire that needed to be replaced. And of course, the ironically named safety ring that could kill a mechanic.
 

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Well when you read about the K rations of WW2, the development project based its estimates for daily caloric needs on soldiers digging ditches and marching around, instead of fighting and maneuvering with a ruck, rifle and ammo. Soldiers that lived on K-rats for extended periods (most notably Merrill's Marauders in Burma, which received all supplies by air drop) became seriously malnourished as a result.
Knew a member of Merrill's bunch. An attorney from Kentucky, commissioned when the War came, and wound up with the Marauders in Burma. He did NOT talk about that part of his life. Very bright guy, fine attorney, and a serious alcoholic. There is a picture of him in Ogburn's book on the Marauders. And a picture of Tom and his grave here: Thomas Prewitt “Tom” Senff (1918-1988) - Find a Grave Memorial
 

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Army mess hall "Swiss steak" obviously was not soylent green. Only a few experienced army cooks could beat this beef(?) into sumission where it was something edible. Well, it might have been edible, but it was not chewable. We used to joke that the army would have saved a fortune by using "Swiss steak" to make truck tires* because they would never wear out.

*Nostalgia: pounding on a deuce & a half wheel with sledge hammers to break the bead of a tire that needed to be replaced. And of course, the ironically named safety ring that could kill a mechanic.
You ALWAYS turned any tire with a ring , ring down when inflating. Once one sees what a flying ring can/ will do is all it takes. Safer to work on tracks, lol.
 
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