Chow Time in Vietnam

What we ate

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Chow Time On The Dmz by Bob George


Early each morning, while our choppers were cranking I would walk down to the Phuoc Vinh flight line to a supply conex container with eleven or so other Blues. There we gathered what we needed for another recon mission.

I’d grab my radio, smoke and fragmentation grenades and plenty of M16 ammo. The conex held everything we needed except our M16 that we kept by our side night and day.

There were also cases of C-rations in the conex with a variety of twelve different meals of which to choose. It was always a treat if you got your hands on LRP rations, which were much tastier. I filled at least two water canteens for the day. You didn’t want to short yourself of water; the heat and humidity in the jungle were very unforgiving.


Twelve different menus are included.
Each menu contains:
One canned meat item
One canned fruit, bread or dessert item
One B unit
An accessory packet containing cigarettes, matches, chewing gum, toilet paper, coffee, cream, sugar, and salt and a spoon.
Four can openers are provided in each case of 12 meals. Although the meat item can be eaten cold, it is more palatable when heated.

Each complete meal contains approximately 1200 calories. The daily ration of 3 meals provides approximately 3600 calories.”


1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry Division mess hall (right) built to replace the one that burned in 1969.
Photo courtesy of Jim Delp

We usually ate a C-ration meal in the bush and as Blues, we had the luxury of returning to Phuoc Vinh for our last meal of the day at the mess hall.

Mess hall menu:
For breakfast, you had to decide whether or not you wanted SOS, which stands for Shit On Shingle, French Toast or pancakes. There were eggs and that day’s meat selection. Most of the time, it was bacon, but sometimes we had ham or sausage.

Coffee and chocolate or regular milk were the drinks of choice.

It seemed like every other day you got roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy and a vegetable. The days in between was either a step up from beef, steak, hamburger or pork chops. We never asked where they got the meat.

Both Thanksgiving and Christmas meals were different in that stuffing, ham and turkey were offered instead of our usual daily dose of roast beef.

Many evenings I’d grab a vegetable burger from the officers club if the mess hall were closed before we got back. They sold them out of the club’s rear window.

After word had got out about the bad guy working in the mess hall, I consumed more cheeseburgers…


Filed under Vietnam War

12 responses to “Chow Time in Vietnam

  1. Al WAY

    I ate some of those rations while we were at Benning..I liked the chocolate and little cookies…I have a new P38 which Al bought for me at an Army Surplus Store..I love that crazy thing Date: Mon, 18 May 2015 01:12:24 +0000 To:

  2. My experience of C-rats in ’65-’66 was similar. I wrote about it a few months ago on my blog:

  3. Don Stephenson

    Can’t forget The homemade Pizza from the contents of a few different C-Rations Boxed meals. With no brick oven to bake, Directions Shove the cored bread roll filled with cheese mixed with the beef chilli,, plug the top with a piece of the roll, shove it into the opened can, bend the top down to close it, put it into an empty C-Ration box, fire up a piece of C 4 under the Pizza box, when the box was completely burnt it was time to enjoy Pizza Vietnam Style. Something always passed down in information to the new N.G’s when cooking up the pizza don’t stomp out the C4 Fire Pizza Box Enjoy the web site Don,1st of the 7th, 1St Cav Div.” Gary Owen

  4. nice post. salute to all veterans


    At 90th RPLN 12/66/-12/67 we exchanged sheets or what ever for the C or K rations. gift packages from home usually included jiffy pops but we needed sterno to pop them. also, cigarretts, peanut butter and chocolate were of recent vintage. the cigs had surgeon general warnings on box. . Also px had canned soups etc so the sterno was vital .

  6. Beans and Franks were my favorite. I always poured the Juice from my pears into the fruitcake. I ate everything, some were more edible than others. Thank god for Tabasco….

      • Thanks, and to you, welcome home also. I was stationed at Dong Ha, along
        Side of the 3rd Marines. We had the security of the
        Radar site that was of much annoyance to the NVA.
        Consequently, we were Very unpopular.
        Also stationed at Quang Tri. Home base was Danang.
        Aug-1867-Nov-1967. Volunteered And Extra 3 months, was guaranteed an additional 45 day leave on rotation.
        366 Security Police Squadron.

  7. We used to put our cans on the manifold of the Jeep. One round of posts, by the time Sgt got back to our post, food was hot, Tabasco…
    Dig in….😏

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