S.0.S. Recipe - U.S.M.C. Style

S.0.S. Recipe - U.S.M.C. Style

What you’ve all been waiting for!

Everyone recalls the famous pre-invasion Marine Corps breakfast of steak and eggs. However, that was not the normal morning meal served aboard transports as they slowly plodded across seas to deliver Old Breed Marines to their next combat venture.

Once in a while a great document of historical importance concerning the Marine Corps comes to light. This is not one of them, but worth printing for those of you who miss the famous, everyday meal commonly called S.O.S. One note of interest, did you know Marines had their own ‘special’ recipe, which differs from any other branch of service?

S.0.S. Recipe – U.S.M.C. Style

1-1/2 pounds extra lean hamburger or ground chuck
2 table spoons Oleo or Butter
1 cup freshly cut chopped onion
2 table spoons flour
2 tea spoons granulated garlic
4 table spoons Soy Sauce
1 table spoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown meat, add oleo and stir. Add onions and cook until they are translucent. Add flour, stir and cook two to three minutes. Add garlic, soy sauce and Worcestershire. Mix thoroughly. Add milk and stir till it thickens. Serve on a shingle (toast}.

It’s now time to rush to the grocery store to get any ingredients you don’t already have. One must keep this in mind before leaving the house. You either: (1) miss the Corps terribly and should volunteer for fleet duty, (2) have a great desire to do bodily injury to yourself, (3) suffer from dain- bramage or, (4) have neighbors you can’t stand and want to invite them to a special dinner. Before doing option #4, suggest you dig a slit trench in the back yard in case of emergency gastric distress imposed upon your guests.

Written (with tongue-in-cheek) by:
Historian, FMDA

Submitted by:

Some good eating.


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


  • Joe Rainey L/Cpl 75-79

    I always ate well as far as I remember. Except my first meal at Parris Island. It was about 3:30 in the morning (or so it seemed) and I had a slice of white bread, untoasted with nothing on it, a cup of water and some scrambled eggs that tasted like metal. Other than that I thought we ate well. And I was a picky eater back then. Thanks fellows and Semper Fi.

  • Sgt.M.L.Best USMC Aug. 71′-Aug. 74′

    I was a cook, 3371; stationed at Marine Barracks,8th & I. I don’t know about the rest of the Corps, but we served some damn good chow to our MARINES!

  • SSgt John Little Eagle – Freeman

    I always enjoyed SOS but couldn’t resist adding MORE pepper,……….as if the cooks hadn’t already dumped copious amounts in the mix. My wife (Okinawan) worked in the mess hall and learned how they made this concoction. She cooks it for me whenever I want. I am a happy man that weighs twice what I weighed during my two enlistments in the Corps. I don’t need to hear the sound of Reveille to awake, just the smell of SOS on the stove. SEMPER FI BROTHERS !

  • Robert E. Hays

    True, the Marines did have their own recipe. However, having had the delicacy in both Marine and Navy installations, (Senior Corpsman, D 1/4, 3rd MarDiv, RVN, ’68-’69) I must say that the Marine Corps version actually did taste a lot more like SOS! The Navy version tasted like good food. Come to think of it, maybe that’s part of what made Marines so bad when the S hit the fan!

  • Sgt T. K. Shimono (59-68)

    In 1960, on Okinawa, this is all we were given, breakfast, lunch and dinner because the Federal government ran out of money, we did not receive pay and supplies were not sent. You would not believe how many ways we mixed SOS with other ingredients to make it taste edible. Enjoy.

Leave a comment