My Dinner With The General

I was a young soldier.  I got involved with competing for squared away soldier.  Started with Guard Duty.  The best looking, most squared away soldier was often released from duty, given desk duty or some other privilage.  It beat standing in the dark in the cold.  Shine boots, starch uniform, clean shave and haircut, a little knowledge of your job and the little stupid things they wanted you to know. (Q. how many trucks are on this Post? A. one.  The Army uses vehicles.  A truck is an object under the plag pole cap).  Anyway they had another competition for Soldier of the Month, Quarter, Half Year and Year.  I got directed to compete.  It was kinda a big deal for the officers.  If I competed, no quard duty.  If I won, there were progressively better prizes, days off, etc.  i won Soldier of the Month, then Quarter, then half Year.  My reward for winning Soldier of the Half Year was to have dinner with our general, General Parks. 

The Post I was stationed at, Hunter Ligget Militarry Reservation, was deep in the woods near Big Sur California.  Nearest towns were 20 some miles away.  We lived in "hooches" , wooden huts.  It was primitive for an Army post and we primarily tested new and sometimes secret weapons and other systems and tactics.  We had several mess halls and some smaller kitchens that were open at other times.  Eating was segregated by rank.  Eating with the General ment that I ate with the officers.  Not exactly a reward.  Anyway all mess halls get the very best meats, vegetables and supplies ...then they steam them.  But we had a mess hall we could get hot dogs and hamburgers at every lunch and dinner.  They served nothing but hot dogs and hamburgers and breakfast.  The other mess hall served a wide varity of foods every day.  We could go to one or the other.  We often saw the mess seargents loading up their station wagon and hauling meat out of these mess halls.  I never thoigh anything of it.

Now to dinner with the General.  Linen, china, officers all around.  My Captain smiling, the Colonel, the Leutinant in charge of the mess hall all watching me and the General eat.  Mess seargents hovering wearing aprons and chief hats.  General Parks chatted with me.  Questions about family and work went well.  Then he asked "so, how is the food?"  I replied "This is great! We never eat like this here.".  All movement stopped.  All sound.  I noticed that I was the only one eating and that the Cpt was sweating, and the black mess sgt had turned ashen.  "What do you mea?" asks the general.  And me, still without a clue said "This is the hamburger and hotdog messhall.  That's all they ever serve here".

The Colonel was transferred, the Cpt and Lt resigned their commissions.  The envestigation found that 4 mess sgts were involved with selling the food ment for the troops to local butchers.  Each was given 20 years in jail.


I wasn't invited to compete for Soldier of the Year.


Leporid Leporid
56-60, M
1 Response Mar 13, 2010

That was a great're a good writer. they should have done something for you. I guess that's Army thinking.I hope the food improve for your guys , after that.