Making a mess of things…

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I don’t know what made this pop into my head, but I was pondering some of the stupid stuff I used to have to put up with in the Army (by no means is the Army the only place where occasional stupidity rears its head!).

Mess kits.

The Army has been field feeding troops off paper plates since the Vietnam war. Yet every new post I went to issued me a mess kit. Not once in all my time did I eat from it. Never even took it to the field. The only purpose I could deduce for the mess kit was to give me something to practice scrubbing and polishing for inspections.

As late as the mid 1990s, the Army was still issuing these. Are they still?

10 thoughts on “Making a mess of things…”

  1. I ate out of mine a couple of times in the TNARNG. I think my son had one in the USAR, and he got out in 2007. When in Cantonment we ate off trays, and at the range we ate off paper. IN the field I ate directly from the C-rat can, or the MRE packaging. The kit was in my TA50 on the Bussel rack and I touched twice other than to get it at issue and to turn it in. I think they are still issuing it, though.

  2. I used my mess kit a few times in Viet nam. I was in an armor unit and ate from C ration cans most of the time but sometimes the cooks were flown out and cooked for us and we used them at that time

  3. Yes indeed… in the old days, when we had steel helmets, that steel pot and a mess kit and your canteen cup would allow you to cook a pretty nice meal over a fire if you had to, and wash up afterward. I used the mess kit several times at Knox in ’74. It was certainly handy to have something to hold a hot C-Ration can. 🙂


  4. Oh, I cooked in a canteen cup all the time. In fact, I always took two cups to the field. One for coffee and cooking, one for shaving. I just never even took the mess kit out in the field.

  5. You were never in my battalion or brigade. In Germany in the early 1980s we used our mess kits all of the time when we still had company mess teams in the rifle companies. Had immersion heaters set up in trash cans to wash them out when we were done.

    Did the same thing at FT Stewart in the mid-1980s when I was a battalion and later brigade S4. We used either steel trays or mess kits instead of paper. Why? Because it saved A LOT of money….and money was VERY tight for supplies back then as Graham-Ruddman kicked in.

  6. Really? I remember money being so tight that we had to buy our own TP, and getting two MRE’s a day, with a bag lunch for the third meal, but never used the mess kit.

  7. Never could spell it correctly!

    As we switched to T Rations, the paper trays were part of the multipack so we were able to go paper based.

    Worked better for logpac feeding.

  8. Yeah, when we first tried T-rats in Hawaii, there were the occasional screw ups. I remember on meal was blueberries. That’s all we got.

    Look, Blueberries aren’t bad, but they were kinda intended to go on the pound cake. Which would have made a nice dessert. Especially if we’d gotten an entree. Or even an MRE.

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