Remembering Veterans and Those Who Serve

WWII The men and women who currently serve, and those who have given military service to our country, come with diverse skills and experiences. My Dad was a cheesemaker before he was drafted into the Army in 1941 at age 32. He remained stateside, serving as a training sergeant preparing soldiers for battle. I grew up listening to his stories about people he met in the Army. Here is perhaps my favorite story.

          Four companies were on field maneuvers together in the California desert. One of the men in Dad’s Company D was Ruben, a draftee from Kentucky who listed his occupation as “professional chicken thief.”          
          One day Dad was informed that the Commanding General was coming to inspect the camp. Dad was assigned to drive some distance to the nearest airfield that evening in order to pick up the General the next morning and bring him to the field camp.
          Some of the men in Company D had discovered a chicken ranch not far from camp. After Dad left on his mission, they challenged Ruben to demonstrate the skills he bragged about. After dark that night, a small group of men led Reuben to the chicken farm. He told them to wait outside the fence and he disappeared.
          The men never heard a sound from the chickens but soon a plump bird sailed over the fence and plopped at their feet. Several more dead chickens followed. Then Ruben appeared. With a wide grin he said, “That enough chickens for you or should I go back for a few more?”
          The men delivered the chickens to the Company D cook. He asked no questions but promised a fine chicken stew for lunch the next day.
          Dad returned mid morning with the General and accompanied him on his inspection of the camp. They came to the mess tent just before lunchtime. Each of the four companies had a food line set up and ready for the soldiers. The General started with Company A, looking over the equipment, the layout of the food line and lifting the lid of each cook pot.
          At Company D, the General lifted the cook pot lid and the aroma of chicken stew rose in a mist of steam. Dad was stunned. The General would surely turn to him and demand an explanation. Dad had no idea what he could say but he imagined everything from a thorough dressing down to losing stripes.
          The General replaced the lid and, as expected, turned to Dad.
          “This is rather odd,” said the General. “Company A is having standard rations: hamburger and beans with potatoes and gravy. Companies B and C are having the same. However, Company D is having chicken stew. By the aroma, I would judge it to be FRESH chicken stew.”
          Dad took a deep breath and prepared for the fury that was about to come.
          The General’s only words were, “I believe I will dine with Company D.”

Published in: on May 24, 2014 at 6:00 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Very funny story, showing that generals are only human after all!

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