I wrote this article as part of my Vietnam diary to explain the meals we ate while in the field. Ted McDonald and I often exchange emails about old times and other memory droppings. He asked what we ate and I sent him this article. At his request, I offer it here for those who ever wondered what the food was like on that cruise in 1968. Bobby Tony
Below are some pictures from the Charlie Company 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division website. This was the field meals as delivered by helicopter in case quantity. Usually the case was opened (sometimes using the old M16 prong flash suppressor as shown on left below – put over wire and twist until broken) and then turned upside down.
Here is a case of C-Rations unopened but with the wire removed
That would hide the Label so you could not pick and choose favorite meals. Each soldier would draw one meal or more depending on when the expected next resupply copter was scheduled.
Most Hated: Ham and Eggs, Ham and Lima Beans, Boned Chicken
Most liked: Beans and wieners, Beef Steak, boned chicken
Favorite dessert: Pecan roll, Date nut, pecan roll, pound cake, pretty much all of them.
Favorite Fruit: Peaches, pears
Each case would include several P38 personal can opener.
Normally turned over to hide labels.
Here is a single meal in box
Here is a B-1 Unit as it looks in individual box pack.
Accessory pack: sugar, Creamer, Coffee, Sugar, Toilet paper, Chewing gum, matches, 4 pack cigaretts, Plastic spoon.
Here is a typical meal with labeled contents
If a unit was sufficient size and close to a base camp sometimes a hot meal would be flown out on copters. This was usually when a temporary laager site was being constructed for longer than one night stay.
Generally we ate from the can cold or at 50-70 F temperature. I never saw any but there was some heat tablets that you could light and hold can over it. We never built a fire as it was usually forbidden. I also never saw a GI cook food on the barrel of a rifle or M60 but I am sure it happened. Most of the mech units could heat food on the engine of the APC. The typical way for Grunts to heat a meal was to break down a claymore mine which contained a pound or so of C4 plastic explosives. C4 looks and feels like play dough but will burn at extremely high temperature. You could roll a small ball and open can partially. Hold the can over the small ball of C4 by the lid and light the C4. It burns extremely fast and hot quickly heating up the contents. It is also very expensive form of heating a meal, but a GI has got to do what a GI has to do.
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