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Koolaid

Discussion in 'Vietnam War' started by NebrHogger, Sep 23, 2016.


  1. NebrHogger United States

    NebrHogger Mi Staff Sergeant MI.Net Member

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    ***I don't have any "war stories" you haven't already heard, but I don't mind discussing the conditions in which we lived. The following is a small example of daily life in those unhappy times.***

    Wifey recently mentioned the possibility of having koolaid on hand for grand daughter. This was followed by my strongly worded message that we would not have any in the house.

    I suggested actual fruit juice & she was good with that.

    Why such a negative outlook on koolaid?

    First tour, our post at Cam Lo consisted of very basic amenities. We lived in bunkers. The watch bunkers were heavily sand bagged & had places to sleep, as well. Our mess hall was a tent with sand bags piled chest high all around with rough lumber picnic tables. The corrugated metal roof was holed in many places.

    The last table was our post office. Mail was just dumped there & you rooted around for your letters. The system actually worked. There was a mail bag into which outgoing mail was stuffed for the next supply run to Dong Ha.

    Our supplies were also quite basic. There was an Army bakery in Dong Ha & we got whole loaves. Slice your own! Which amounted to Texas toast sized slices for sammiches.

    While standing watch all night we could go to the mess tent for snacks. This was almost always thick slices of aging bread and bologna. No sweets. Just sammich stuff. Mustard in gallon cans was the only condiment I recall.

    What to drink? Koolaid! The cook always made a big tub, and for some unknown reason, it was always lime flavor. Always. There was a lid on the big tub and beside it was a large French fry skimmer. Before filling a canteen cup with warm koolaid, you used the skimmer to lift bugs from the drink. Besides flying bugs, there were usually a few water beetles & so forth. Yum. Given our circumstances, no lights were allowed at night. A red lens flashlight was about it. You didn't want to impede your night vision. In any case, you didn't always get all the bugs from your drink. Pretty much never, actually.

    So we would make a big sammich - slap on mustard ( which was usually free of bugs) - and take a canteen cup of mostly bug free drink to wash it down. Then back to the bunker to 'enjoy' it while watching for movement in the surrounding countryside.

    The sammich was fairly straight forward if you could mentally convince yourself a few weevils found in the bread were just particles of coarse pepper with legs. The koolaid was... bad. Our water was heavily chlorinated, and lime koolaid tastes like crap on a good day. The net result was... nasty.

    I am convinced my digestive tract is stained green to this very day. There's a lot of food color & dye in the stuff.

    So none in the house, thank you very much. It's not good for children and other living things. The bugs always died in it. SW
     
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  2. Bombardier

    Bombardier Admin & Arbiter Staff Member Site Admin

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    Yes the eating of bugs and such seems to be a standard thing in the military :confused:
    I can recall find all kinds or bugs in food the worst being a cockroach and that was in our regimental cookhouse in Germany not on operations or exercise.

    During the first Gulf war Flies were our biggest issue, wherever we went in the desert the flies always seemed to find us and inevitably found a way into our digestive systems :eek:

    I completely understand why Koolaid (which I assume is some kind of powder fruit drink) is off the agenda.
    Great story @NebrHogger
     
  3. bquinn United States

    bquinn Mi Recruit MI.Net Member

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  4. bquinn United States

    bquinn Mi Recruit MI.Net Member

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    My story relates to Jello. Pretty much the same scenario. Phu Cat was a new Air Force Base under construction. The mess was run by the civilian construction co. doing the job. Of course, water and milk were offered, but the main liquid staple was Jello dissolved in water served in enormous containers with ice added. Well, you can know what happens when Jello gets cold enough. It begins to gel forming lumps. This was hard for me to force down and also turned me against Jello forever.
     
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  5. NebrHogger United States

    NebrHogger Mi Staff Sergeant MI.Net Member

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    Milk... Viet Nam ruined milk for me to this very day. Foremost milk came in cartons like you saw in school. There was always a brown sludge to be seen in the bottom on the rare occasions when you could drink one down far enough to see it.

    I'd say easily 90% of it was sour. Cam Lo was way out there on the supply line - the only 2 places farther removed were Rockpile and Vandegrift Combat Base. (I was at both) So most of the milk was sour - most of the bread had weevils...( lest I sound like the older I get, the worse I had it. ;) )

    But you're either hungry or you're not. I drank sour milk on occasion - mostly chocolate when we could get it.

    This led to complications upon return to "the world". The habit of smelling milk to see how sour it was stayed with me for a long time. I did get odd looks when invited to dine with a girlfriend's family and I indiscreetly sniffed the milk.

    Mom wasn't impressed with that, either.

    Another bad habit was military vocabulary... "Dad, would you please pass the f***ing salt??"

    But I digress. I use a little skim milk on my cereal, but never have a glass of milk anymore. Can't really say I miss it. SW
     
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  6. Bombardier

    Bombardier Admin & Arbiter Staff Member Site Admin

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    I do the same with milk but that stems from growing up poor and regularly having sour milk with my cereal :confused:
     
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