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BOOT CAMP MESS HALL

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By: George Williams

WHILE AT THE RIFLE RANGE (CAMP MATHEW), I WAS HAND PICKED FOR MESS DUTY…
THE 2ND DAY ON DUTY I WAS ASSIGNED TO THE TRAYS CONVEYER WASH…SOME OF US DECIDED TO SKIP THE SECOND HOT WATER SOAK AND INSTED GO OUTSIDE FOR A BREAK…
DAMN NEAR THE WHOLE PLATOON CAME UP WITH THE DT’S… NOT ENOUGH HEADS TO GO AROUND SO SOME HADE TO IMPROVISE…WE KEPT QUIET ABOUT THAT BUT THE DI KNEW..
WHO WAS AT FAULT….BOY WERE THEY PISSED….(WILLY 258).

16 comments

At rifle range we had good chow! After rifle range i got Mess duty and we eat good! trays with sweets came through a lot!
Eddie Drews,

Wow, I got KP for two months. They first told me one month but on my last day of KP the SGT stuck his head into the little window where I was washing dishes, pots and pans and said they don’t have anyone to replace me so another month of hot hell fun. USMC 1972-1974

Reinhold Woykowski,

Mess Duty in the Scullery, what fun. The only thing about working the Scullery was being able to shout at the new recruits coming through the line Harry

Harry 1371,

What’s all this “In the Old Corps” stuff? My granddad joined the Corps in 1909 and transferred to the Army in 1913. Went to Europe for WWI, then was in the cavalry chasing Pancho Villa. Retired as a MSGT from the Army Air Corps in 1939.

As he was quick to point out, “In the Old Corps, we didn’t have no mess halls. We hunted down critters and ate ’em raw.”

‘Stoney’ Brook,

Ron,
I wondered if I was the only one that thought that about Geiger’s mess hall. I was there March/April 1966..Nam 1966/1967. Maybe they figured that if we could live on PB & J we could live on anything. What they didn’t know is that us southern boys were raised on PB & J sandwiches. And now and then I still have a hankering for a good old PB & J sandwich…….Bob 1381 (Shore Party)

Bob 1381,

Hey Bob 1381:
I agree 125% with you on the “MESS’ halls at P.I., Camp Geiger was November – December 1964, 65 – 66 in Nam, Back to Camp Lejeune, then Sea Duty School, then the USS Essex, then Barracks at Quonset Point in Rhode Island. All had good chow (( Nam was OK ). I’d say all of us survived on the PB & J sandwiches. Have wondered to this day if that was part of the training ??? But to this day I still like
PB & J sandwiches, figure that one out.
Chuck Reardon
Sgt. 1341/45, and as needed.

Chuck Reardon,

“The first Marine sneered was the second appeared and said, ‘It wasn’t like this in the old Corps’.

Jim Kennemore,

While at Parris Island (1st Battalion 1969) I was assigned to mess duty and I was with the ones out back hosing down & washing the wheeled tray racks. We were under the “care” of the regular mess crew and as long as we kept up it was all good. Every once in a while one of the carts would show up with a pie or something still on it. Found out if the mess crew could come back where we were and sneak a cigarette we could eat the pie or whatever. No problem! Where we were we also could see the WM recruits as they were unloaded from buses to get chow. Those female DI’s had some lovely expressions (“I better hear 80 c__ts snapping shut when I call you to attention!”) too. Still laugh when I think back. During the same stint I had gotten one of the soap blocks and carved a one finger salute which I “donated” to one of our caretakers. Certainly not something I could take back to the barracks. Mess duty was actually a rest period in my opinion.

TOM PRINCE, GySgt,

That something happened to my platoon at McCord, in 1969.

Sam Habhab,

I returned to the rear at Quang Tri, from C2. The gunney was looking for someone for mess duty, and the son of a bitch picked me. I had to light the imersion burners, in the shit cans, for marines to wash their trays. I was lighting them, one day, and one would not light. I made the mistake of looking down into the heater. The damn thing exploded and burned off my eyelashes, and eyebrows. I guess that I got off lucky, it could have been worse, but I was pissed, even more, at the gunney, for picking me.

Sgt Marko,

When at MCRD Parris Island, Camp Schwab, Okinawa, Camp Lejeune and Camp Delmar, California we had excellent chow. The chow in Vietnam wasn’t the greatest but it kept us going. However, at the ITR mess hall at Camp Geiger, if it hadn’t been for the peanut butter and jelly, I think I would have starved. TERRIBLE!!!!…….Bob 1381

Bob 1381,

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

MSgt Edd Prothro, USMC Ret. 1964-1984,

What the hell is a “trays conveyor”? In the Vietnam era we washed and rinsed our boot camp mess hall trays by hand in huge crap-cans filled with heated water.

What’s next? Electric scooters for PT runs?

L/Cpl So Sueme,

At Camp Matthews the mess hall was away from the tent area and could be viewed from all around. Recruits wearing white paper headgear standing around having a smoke ???? Probably not. I do vividly remember duck walking those dry ravines at Matthews, daytime and after dark. Johnny Plt 242 July 1958.

Johnny Reyes Jr,

Just thought of something. You’re a west coast boot.Now it makes sense! Nick

Nick,

Right! While in boot camp you just decided on your own to take a break during chow time? Are you freakn kidding! I call BS on this one. Nick

Nick,

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