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An Army Moves On Its Stomach... And Lots of Coffee

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
January 16, 2023 3:00 am

An Army Moves On Its Stomach... And Lots of Coffee

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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January 16, 2023 3:00 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Richard Muniz tells a story that one of his friends told him on a coffee incident that took place on the USS Enterpise.

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Our American Stories
Lee Habeeb
Our American Stories
Lee Habeeb

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See AT& or visit an AT&T store for details. This is our American stories and we tell stories about everything here on the show. And this next one, well, it's about something so many of us do every day. Americans drink about 400 million cups of coffee. The drink itself represents 75% of our yearly caffeine consumption. So needless to say, this drink is important to us. It's also important to the US military. And today, Richard Muniz, our regular contributor and listener shares an entertaining story on the subject.

Take it away, Richard. There's an old expression that goes that an army travels on its belly. Well, that's true. Then coffee is the lubrication that runs that army. And if you've been in the military before, you know, this is very important. Coffee just makes it so much easier. I know when we deployed to the Gulf, for instance, we took cooking utensils.

The only time we actually used those cooking utensils was once we made some french fries out of some potatoes we found. But one thing that got used constantly was the coffee pot. Now we didn't take coffee with us, but the first time anybody went to one of the local Arab towns, just like that, guess what they bought? Coffee. And we'd make coffee every morning we got up.

Some people didn't want to sit there and wait for it. So what they just did was they heat up their water in their little canteen cups, put the instant coffee from the MRE packets in there, mixing a little bit of hot chocolate, a little bit of creamy sugar. Hey, no good coffee. Coffee has been a part of every armed forces that I know of. If you're a fan of the movie Master and Commander, there's a scene in there where Aubrey's cabin boy comes up and says, there's no more coffee.

And Aubrey says, fine, we'll drink tea. Well, it just shows you how important it has been. Now, even during the civil war, it was very important. Soldiers would ride home and they'd tell about the battlefield experiences and stuff like that. But the word coffee was used more than anything else. One soldier rode home and he was complaining about lack of food, lack of morale, lack of this, lack of that.

But he specifically spelled out coffee. In fact, he said, how can you possibly soldier without coffee? The Confederacy didn't have a lot of coffee to have. What they used to do was they would go out and they would trade with Union soldiers.

When there was no fighting going on like that, they would meet in a neutral zone, if you want to call it that, and they would trade. They would trade tobacco, which they had plenty of, for coffee. The average Union soldier got well over 30 pounds of coffee a year as his personal ration.

So the coffee was something the Union got. All the way through World War I, coffee. World War II, coffee. In fact, some of the most iconic images that came out of World War II concerned coffee. Here was a GI, this little tin cup there, and he's toasting the folks back home with a hot cup of coffee. Very important.

Coffee has played a very important part for all of us. A friend of mine tells me a story. He was a Navy, not the Army.

And now I need to qualify something here. I don't know how true this story is. I know nothing about ships.

I know nothing about the traditions on ships. And he tells me this story. For all I know, maybe he stole it from somebody else. Maybe he hallucinated. I don't know, but it's such a cool story.

I'm going to tell it to you anyway. He went through basic, he went through A school and all that stuff, and he did really, really well. And they said, hey, you did so well, we're going to give you your choice of assignments. Well, here's a Trekkie, like Star Trek. And if you can't have Jim Kirk's Enterprise or Jean-Luc Picard's Enterprise, you settle for the one you got. In this case, the nuclear aircraft carrier Enterprise we have today. He wants the bridge of the Enterprise. Thinking there'll be a fat chance he ever gets it. Well, guess what?

He got it. Well, apparently there was a tradition on the bridge of the Enterprise. And like I said, I've never tried to check this out. So, you know, if there is great, if there isn't, forgive me. What happens on the Enterprise is this, the lowest ranking EM on the bridge makes the coffee. Okay. That's pretty cool.

Okay. So he gets up there and he decides I am going to make the best cup of coffee the captain's ever had. And he's got, you know, visions of promotions dancing in his head or whatever the case may be, but he wants to make sure the captain never, ever forgets him. So he goes out and he studies how to make coffee. And he goes to the libraries, reading every book he can find, every article, stuff like that. He goes to baristas who make coffee for a living and learns their secrets and whatnot. By the time he's finished, the only two entities in the entire universe that know more about making coffee than him is God and the guy in the Folgers commercial. So he goes out there and his first day on the bridge, he makes the coffee. The smell of coffee wafts into the bridge. I mean, it's phenomenal. Coffee smells, smells great.

Okay. The other tradition they had on the bridge was no one gets their cup until the captain gets his. Cool tradition. Well, he's sitting there waiting for the captain and all that stuff. Cause you know, he's just sitting there going, Oh yeah, yeah, the captain's going to take it. And he's going to look at it and he's going to sit back in that chair and go, Oh yeah, this is a cup of coffee. Well, captain comes up, captain on the bridge, you know, all that stuff.

Captain comes up. He's talking to everybody, boards his cup of coffee and sits down in his chair. And he's there talking, got his reports in front of him, which puts his cup of coffee there on, on his arm chair.

And he's reading the reports, talking, stuff like that. And then he reaches over. Here's the moment of truth, picks up the coffee mug and takes a sip of it. And he's sitting there expecting the captain to smile, but that's not what happened. The captain spews this coffee all over a master chief that was standing there, drops the cup of coffee.

Like it was a snake stands up and scans the bridge and his, his eyes locked on him and said, what in the hell is wrong with you? Apparently there's two types of water spigots on the ship. There's fresh water, which is what you drink.

And then there's seawater, which you use for other purposes. He didn't know the difference when it came time for promotion time. Guess what they didn't forget him either. And great job as always to Monty Montgomery for producing that piece. And thanks to Richard Muniz for his story, stories about coffee and coffee in the military, particularly. And again, if you have stories to share with us, we love hearing from listeners and we've got a bunch of great listener contributions.

Go to our American, Richard Muniz's story, coffee and the military here on our American story. Folks, if you love the great American stories we tell and love America like we do, we're asking you to become a part of the, our American stories family. If you agree that America is a good and great country, please make a donation. A monthly gift of $17 and 76 cents is fast becoming a favorite option for supporters. Go to our American now and go to the donate button and help us keep the great American stories coming.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-16 04:17:29 / 2023-01-16 04:22:11 / 5

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