Marines will Share their Last Drop of Water or Food with Each Other

VietNam 1970, we had been having connect with the VC off and on for a couple of days; so when it became time for our resupply choppers to come in—they didn’t. Grunts understand, all too well, that choppers can be shot down with a lucky hit from an AK-47 or PRG round. Also, Cpt. Darling was finding a supply of water from local wells and such but it was the lack of C-Rations that was the bigger concern. Again, any grunt will tell you that you only carry what you actually plan to eat anything else was too heavy. If a chopper didn’t come in on schedule, it didn’t take long to run out of food. Which is what happen to us on this particular occasion.

Well, we’re Marines and we might fight with each other from time to time but share our last drop of water and in this situation whatever food we had. i was humping the radio for “Red” the third squad leader. We got into position that evening, some of guys had a can of whatever they saved from the last supply run but not much. Red got the squad together reached into his pack and brought out a can of sardines in mustard sauce that he had gotten from home.
He open it up and pass the can around for each of us to take a bite of sardines and someone had C-Ration crackers (not the best but who cares). I didn’t even know what the stuff was—never ate it before. But you know what? That was one of the best meals I had ever eaten!

I have since talked with friends about that experience who usually respond with “I wouldn’t touch the thing let only eat it”. I just tell them that they don’t know what being hungry is like. I doubt they know what they might do or eat if they were. Red’s action of sharing what he had has stayed with me over all these years. To this day, giving to the community food bank and working at them has been very important to me. I knew hunger until “Red” shared his last can of sardines with all of us. Hence the Marines motto Semper Fi—Always Faithful—to each other and the Corps.

Footnote: My favorite meal was to take the chicken noodle soup and pour the liquid out. Save the meatballs from another meal and put them in with the noodles. Then get some ketchup from one of guys and put it into the noodles. Meatballs, and noodles in ketchup sauce—MMMM—well maybe not anymore…..

Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!


  • Robert H Bliss, 0341

    I can recall being the Cpl of the Guard while in An Hoa for showers and resupply. We sat on the line talking about food or the first thing we were going to eat when we got home for most of the night. I think there people who would be suraise to learn what men will talk about under these circumstances. Don’t you?

  • Michael McManus, D. Co 1st Recon

    I find it interesting that when the subject is chow (C’s or otherwise) everyone has a favorite or a special recipe. Speaks to the high priority that ground pounders attach to food (especially while in the bush)!!

  • John “Doc” Harrison

    May of 1965 my Platoon of Marines were so hungry as we had been eating “Cs” since moving out on 327. It was hot, dry, and humping the Tuy Loan all day and night then back up 327, spending the night at that old French Fort, at it’s base, we were hashed. The company had a cook that had been enjoy the night life, and the lassies of Da Nang too much, and he needed help. He was referred to me for some reason. I told him I could help him out with his problem, but that I would like 4 gallons of Fruit Cocktail. One for each squad, and one for the Platoon CP, and anyone that had the watch. It only took one day to get the desired goods and my Marines were thankful for the fruit cocktail.

  • Robby J. Hookham

    February 1984, I turned 25 y/o while in Beirut, Lebanon. My Grandmother sent over a box FULL of home-made Cinnamon Rolls! You know, the really gooey kind, they were packed in popcorn. Well we threw them into the field range at the cooks tent for about 5 -10 min. and all 100 of those cinnamon rolls found their way down the throats of my maintenance platoon and were just a memory in less than 10 minutes. They kept begging that I ask for more, but we pulled out a few weeks later and headed home shortly after.

  • Wayne Dillon

    I think the CP rations were what we knew as PX rations or issue during the Persian Gulf War. The first ones we got had cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco, as well as candy, writing paper, pens, playing cards, etc. The later ones didn’t have tobacco products. Each box was for 100 men. It was nice to get them. I took some over to a friend’s battalion who wasn’t getting them. It was like Santa had arrived!

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