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Mess Hall & Equipment

This is really a data dump for any information on our Mess section. They were not organic to the Troop.

Help by adding any info that you can. Stories

Comments: Tom Fleming, Bob Graham, Bruce Powell, Richard Parrish. Frank Dillion, Bruce Hinds, John Spencer

messSteak

The Mess Section:

Tom Fleming:
The Mess section was not officially an organizational component of D Troop.  In a Divisional Armored Cavalry Squadron's TOE the Squadron HQ & HQs Troop had all 5 mess teams placed under the S-4.  The Mess teams were never on the line troops Morning Report.  The reality of Vietnam was that they were joined hip and shoulder with the troop that they supported.  The S-4 provided very little support or guidance on the day to day operation, however the S-4 filled the Mess personnel spaces and would interfere in personnel matters as well as support claims by the mess team of lack of support by the supported troop or demands by the supported troop that they did not want to comply with.  All in all it was a good relationship while I was in the troop (1967) with minor exceptions, none of which were important enough to go to the Squadron XO or CO about.  I did do battle with the S-4 both as the Service Platoon Cdr and as Troop Cdr over the lack of support for late returning crews.  Our mess team refused to set aside prepared food outside of their open mess hours, consequently the late arriving crew were left to fend for themselves with C rations.  I think I got the problem solved at least for a time, but never satisfactorily.  This was my third Divisional Cavalry Troop so I knew the TOE and doctrine, both support and operational, better than most.

 

Bob Graham: 
The Mess, was not a mess
 
During the early days it was our pride and even joy.
We had pig roast ala Hawaii, from a palm lined buried pit. RVN, Local pineapples, nanas good stuff. I brought the squeaker back from WO Dunbars' friend who manned the Ruff Pufff triangle NE of the Black Virgin.

menuI remember getting (fresh) late night coffee as I wrote  in the  account of my thirds child birthing news in June 66.

I have blackboard pictures of the menu board near the time of  SP4  Meeces tragedy, heralding Black forest Cake.

We snatched 1/4's of beef via Tony Robinson for pallets of Saigon acquired paint. When no else had fresh steak. They butchered in the steamy tent  that was all way scrubbed better than any of the showers.  I  have a picture somewhere of the raw caving in progress.

They did parties for the Cu Chi kids Christmas 1966 & Easter!!
 

They never did serve lunch while we were on strip alert at Go Dau Ha, the lazy bums, had to  EAT greasy C's JUST like a grunt!!
 
I can never remember being hungry or malnurished.
 
Add Frank Delvy's Mai Tai,s (sp) and life was pretty good.
 

Bruce Powell:

SteakNight

I had no idea that the Mess Section was not Centaur! No wonder we have had so much trouble getting info on them.

This brings up a lot of questions:

...How to address the Mess Section in the History/Organization portion of our website?

…Since these soldiers don't meet our definition of a Centaur should we list those that participate, on the "Friends" roster?

...Did some of them live in our area or at Squadron?mess1

...Were the 5 mess crews rotated so that different ones were with us at different times?

...Who owned and controlled the Mess Hall? The mess hall equipment?

...Did the Mess Sergeant not work for our First Sergeant?

...Did they stand Centaur troop formations?

...What combat gear were they issued?

...Were not they, their trucks and equipment opcon to D Troop when we went to the field (Tay Ninh)?

...Were there any Mess guys that transferred to D/F Troop or LRRPs?

…Were any injured while serving D/F Troop?

...Who put together those great Steak Nights?

...With F Troop moving all over the country, who fed them? Did they have problems getting fed?

 

mess2

Mess3 
Mess4

 

 

F Troop Mess Hall Comments:

Richard T. Parrish, 1LT (1971-72): When FTroop went up to 1 Corps from April ‘72 to stand down in 73, I was extra duty mess officer most of that time. They were part of F Troop then, and our great Mess Sgt. was a volunteer on his pre retirement posting. As a prior General’s mess steward from the states, he worked miracles cooking on field ranges in 1/2 of our generator shack. His swaps with Air Force depot in Danang netted steaks, which he combined with locally (200yds down beach) purchased Tiger Prawns, for charcoal (local) surf and turf most Saturdays. His reputation drew any transients with air access so much that our regular drawn rations were insufficient. Corps had to put out a directive that drop ins for meals must be on official business.


Frank Dillon asks: “With F Troop moving all over the country, who fed them? Did they have problems getting fed?” To the best of my memory, at Lai Khe the mess Hall was shared with A 3/17. At Long Binh, Marble Mountain, and Phu Bai we ate at the base mess hall. At Tan My we were the only unit there and had our own mess hall. I’ve asked others if the cooks at Tan My were on the unit roster or just TDY to us. Any ideas? Steve Lentz said Top asked for volunteers to cook at Tan My. Think that may have been 1Sgt Walker. I have no memory of it. Frank

Bruce Hinds: (1972) In response to Frank’s question about he Mess Hall at Tan My, I don’t know the details but we sure ate well.  I remember someone telling me bartered a lot with the Navy Seal Base down the beach.

John Spencer: (1972) We had a full mess hall at Long Binh and Tan My. After the race riot at Long Binh a Black 06 came into the mess hall and tried to get all the Black Troopers to say I was the cause of the riot. One of our cooks SP4 Samson, came and got me. I went to the mess hall and confronted the COL. I told him that he did not have my permission to be on F Trps AO and to leave. 

I reported him to COL Richardson, my boss at 12th CAG and he was never heard from again. What he didn’t know was I was GEN Westmorelands fairhaired boy because of the job F Troop was doing.”

 

War Stories related to the Mess Section

"Bloody Stickem Up" by TJ Lange and Pat Eastes 1967

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

History