YOUR Military Story- What was food like at your Boot Camp?

Note: This is part of series to help ALL who served and their families to reminisce, remember and record memories and stories of your military service. Be sure to check out all the other posts and comment in the white space below each one!

Last time I talked about what extra duties or jobs  you performed while in Boot Camp.

Let's talk FOOD.  Chow.  Mess.  Your daily sustenance.  They say the Army moves on its belly.  I know I am safe to say that the Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard are no different. We kike to eat!!

Chow time was something everyone looked forward to....they put you through the paces with endless exercise, marching and more so physical and mental drain happened daily.  Chow made this all possible.

At my Boot Camp at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, breakfast was given to us after physical training and getting a shower, at approximately 0630 each day.  Sometimes we had to wait in a long line while other platoons ate first.  This waiting time was never put to waste by our ever- present drill sergeants.  Oh no.  We couldn't just relax a minute after P.T., talk quietly to our friends, and daydream about home.  It was full-on drill and ceremony.  Endless commands of, "right face, right face, about face, left face, about face," and the sigh-inducing command if someone messed up of, "half- left face!!" which meant it was the front leaning rest position or push-ups for us.

Breakfast was normally good.  There were always scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits and grits.  This was the south after all.  Occasionally there would be biscuits and gravy, SOS ("shit on a shingle", or dried beef on toast), and potatoes.

Lunch was either in the chow hall if we were around Post, or portable MREs or mermite prepared hot food served if we were in the field training.  Dinner was around 1700, and was a variety of things similar to if we ate lunch in the chow hall.  Some meals I can remember were red beans and rice- served a lot because it was cheap, filling and full of protein- pork chops, scalloped potatoes, baked chicken, hamburgers, all other kinds of chicken and chicken casseroles, and tuna casserole.

The beverages served were juice or water or milk at breakfast, and at lunch and dinner it was water or "Victory Juice'- a salty kool-aid like drink that was said to help stop any dehydration and was rumored to curb attraction to the opposite sex.  

After I left boot camp I came to like grits and red beans and rice, which this northern Yankee from Ohio had never had until that time!  Your turn- 

What do you remember about YOUR chow while in training?

Simply type in the white space below and click "Add Comment".

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Comment by E Potts on June 6, 2015 at 10:30am

I lost weight and needed to gain to begin with. I went throgh a big growth spurt before I joined and was already an extremely active person. PT was not intense enough for my liking either. IT was less food than I would have ate before basic. They were not giving you much food or much time to eat in 1983. I suspect this was intentional because at the time there was concern about an increasingly overweight population. The food was ok .I am a decent cook and liked to do things for myself at a very young age so the food did not impress me much.

Comment by Andy Stahl on October 13, 2014 at 10:30pm

I remember waiting for about 45 minutes at parade rest for each meal. This one time I sat down with my meal and started choking it down as fast as I could, I looked across the table at another joe who was taking a drink of "electrolyte juice" (watered down Gatorade). All of a sudden he coughed a bit and spit out something black. After closer inspection, it was the top half of a cockroach torso. Yummy! We continued eating...:)

Comment by Bill McKinnon on September 17, 2014 at 11:34am

Our chow was actually pretty good. Breakfast was the best of the 3. I think we had the same "bug juice" as we called it. Being stationed on Norfolk for 3 years I learned to like grits (lots of butter) Never developed a taste for  Red beans and Rice.

Comment by Claudia Bartow on September 10, 2014 at 8:34pm

Dale,  your experience sounds typical of so many others.  I liked the SOS, too!  I still like it in fact.  I am going to have to make some soon.  I am glad you had such a good experience and that you didn't starve to death :)

Thanks so much for sharing!

Comment by Dale Day on September 10, 2014 at 10:08am

Actually, although it was more than 5 decades ago, I remember it to be quite decent!

My first memory was of the milk dispensers where we could get all we wanted.

I went through BCT at Fort Ord and the food was more than nutritious enough to carry our bodies through the intensive physical activities demanded of us. Hearty meals with hearty portions. And yes, I didn't mind the S-on-a-Shingle that so many booed. Especially with helpings of scrambled eggs and home fried potatoes.

Every thing we could want.

I do remember though going to the PX snack bar to pick up some goodies now and then.

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