Mess Duty

I wonder if any other Marine experienced this. I went through boot in the early 70s back when 1st Bn was in Quonset Huts. I had always thought San Diego was nice and sunny even in the winter but if you went through boot around December until March you realize how cold it can get when the breeze comes in from the Ocean. Several recruits in my platoon, myself included, had really bad cold bordering on Pneumonia. To get to gist of my story when the platoon pulled mess duty the Di’s had us swipe stuff from the mess hall. I remember seeing a case of steaks and hams loaded into the back of the Di’s car. I often wondered if this was a test to see whether or not us lowly recruits would obey orders and pilfer food or if it was just plain theft brought on by the recruits fear of punishment if they did not obtain the requested items. Did anyone else experience this? On another note the platoon next to us swiped a sheet cake and disposed of the cake pan in a dumpster. They paid for that. Severely!
Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!


  • Jim Schmidt

    As a drill instructor ’71-’72 I did not see this happening,but I knew there were drill instructors who were capable of such things.We had rules to go by and stealing from our own was frowned on.I was with “A” co.Quonset huts were our barracks until we moved to moved to new barracks during my second or third plt.

  • Otto Lauer ’55-’59

    I to went through San Diego and had to work in the officers mess during boot camp (May1955) and got caught eating a helping of fresh strawberries & shortcakes after mess was over during clean up. My punishment was to keep eating strawberries until I got sick. After several helpings I acted as though I was about to barf and that was that. Really enjoyed the extra helpings and had a good laugh to myself how I finally pulled one over on my DI.

  • David E. Tyre………….Sgt……’54-’57 Platoon 437, !st Bn. PISC

    Parris Island, 1954: Never experienced that, but after we qualified with the M-1 Garand, platoons were required to pull one week of mess duty at the chow hall at the rifle range. Late one night, the senior mess Sgt., a sadistic bastard, lined us up on the loading deck behind the kitchen and started harassing us and talking to us like we were a bunch of idiots. D.I. Conklin was checking our quonset huts at that time and asked section leader Tescar, “where are the rest of my turds?” Tescar said the mess Sgt. had them on the loading deck at the chow hall. When Conklin was coming up behind the mess Sgt., I thought this ought to be interesting! About the time our D.I. got within hearing range, the Mess Sgt. asked us if we had anybody who thought they could whip his ass and if so, step forward. Of course, nobody volunteered! S/Sgt. Conklin then said, “Sgt., what are you doing to my turds?” Step down here if you want your ass kicked!” You could have heard a pin drop! The mess Sgt. nearly pissed his trousers and started shaking. We were told to secure and route step to our huts. Conklin told the Sgt. “don’t ever let this happen again or you’ll have to deal with me. We all had a lot of respect for S/Sgt. Conklin after that. Hell! I loved the man!

  • Patick McBride

    In reply to Patrick Vogt.
    It’s not stealing. They were taught the art of how to acquire things without being caught.

  • B. Gordon Cpl Korean Era

    This is what we called MIDNITE REQUISTIONING!!! This wasn’t food, but items needed to keep operations moving. It came in use frequently in Korea because it seemed the army and air force guys had more than adequate supplies. It also came in use in civilian duty in my line of work for an airline. When parts were badly needed for a grounded airplane due to lack of parts, a visit was made to their stock rooms. All major airlines used this system as needed to keep the aircraft flying. We just accepted it.

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