Navy Chow and Cavorting Cereal Critters

Generally, on average, Navy breakfasts were okay to great with variations among food offerings and food source.

The breakfasts where real eggs  were available were superior to the breakfasts where only powdered eggs were present.

Generally, at-sea lunch and supper tended to be sub-par compared to mess halls at shore bases.

At-sea breakfasts varied greatly; often depending upon the last time we hauled “new” food aboard either from a supply ship at sea or if we entered an overseas USA base with warehouses, etc.

The ASW school in San Diego with its dining room overlooking the harbor even had a decent aura and the food was some of the best I ever had in the Navy.

Boot camp was rough and tough but hunger made the appetite grow strong.

However, I did learn to not point out to the mess-deck master-at-arms the LARGE hunk of glass resting within the square of lime jello.

Dumping it into the trash he verbally abused me at high-volume for several minutes before the flurry of demanded push-ups then sending on my way, my mostly unfinished tray of chow left behind at the table.

Live and learn.

At times, for various reasons, deployment schedules, maintaining at-sea positions while awaiting for events… go or no-go, etc. we ran low on food.

The helicopter carrier with 1,800 Marines aboard along with 600 squids (sailors) was quick to run low on chow.

Fake fake eggs. Yes, they exist. Designed for hot and humid tropics.

Those were putrid.

I even saw a few Marines refuse to eat them and that was among a cohort that often took pride in bug eating.

The uglier and more vile and grubbier the bug the better. Just another protein source for them.

One morning when the only food in the chow line was those itty bitty one-serving boxes of cereal bought overseas at the time with a name I had never heard of (akin to Special K, kind of, but bought in Singapore, I believe, along with the fake-fake milk) I grabbed a box, dumped it into the bowl then the small milk carton of fake-fake milk followed.

A few spoon-fulls munched upon (and the Navy used BIG ladle-sized spoons) I noticed the bitter taste but my belly was empty.

Noticing movement out of the eye’s corner I looked down as the survivors popped to the surface.

Multi-dozens of small but not-that-small bugs, swimming,  fighting for their lives.

I decided I was full and while heading off to dump the contents I informed the mess deck master-at-arms  (normally not present on a typical, smaller warship but one here due to the horde of Marines present) about the critters.

With an angry but hushed voice he said “shut up, look at them” pointing at the crowd of Marines eagerly devouring their cereal, the ONLY available food for breakfast. “They don’t seem to mind.”

That was back in the mid-70s.

At least the food was far better than the incredibly inept and horrid medical care available to the average non-officer cannon fodder.

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