Christmas Dinner 1951

MK note: This is another of Major Pearson's tales as told to Poe and (with permission)
emailed to me for your reading. This one continues the great
Christmas Day 1951 story.
If you haven't read that one, you'll find a link to it on the bottom of this page. 

Soon after giving the Belgian Battalion Commander permission to pass through OP Nori, I went with our Mess Sgt back to a designated point to pick up our Christmas Dinner - about four miles behind our lines.

On the return trip we came across on overturned 2 1/2 ton truck that had slipped in the mud. A hasty check revealed that no one was injured, but all were HURT. One of them, a Mess Sgt, was crying. Christmas dinner for his company was scattered in a wet rice paddy and was covered with grime.

The Able Company Mess Sgt looked at me and said he had planned on each platoon being able to take food back to their respective warm up bunkers for the evening meal as they came from guard duty to warm up. He wanted to know if I would give him permission to share our dinner with the company that had just lost theirs.

We loaded up the personnel from the other company while the two Mess Sergeants divided up the turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, nuts, candy and bread. We made the necessary short detour to their company and the two Mess Sergeants shook hands.

The Mess Sergeant from a company of the 65th Inf started crying and said thank you and may God Bless you and your company and I wish you a very merry Christmas.

Side Note: Able Co 1/15th always had food in their warm-up bunkers for snacks. The platoon Leaders and I sent the XO/line to a hospital in the rear to trade for canned food: cheese, bacon, cooked beef burgers, etc. SOLDIER'S FAMILIES AND FRIENDS were always sending food to their respective soldiers in Korea. This food was generously shared and all the men of Able Company did very well in the food department during the winter of 1951-1952.

L. P. Pearson
Always Able, Able Co
"Sir, Can Do? Hell,
We have done it.”

MK add-on: The "Side Note" above is, of course, by the Major; and, Poe has heartily agreed with it's sentiments. I agree also, but don't remember any cheese, bacon, or cooked beef burgers.

I had been told that the Army chow would improve when I reached Korea. However, I was still startled to find how good the Christmas meal was. There, during my first full day on the MLR in Korea, with the Chinese Communist Forces only a small mortar distance away, I was having the very best meal that the US Army had dispensed to me since it had requested my joinder. I didn't mind at all having to sit on my upside-down steel pot to eat the meal.

We did get lots of goodies from home, but the amazing thing to me was the quality of the breakfasts on most days during the early months of 1952. We would go in shifts to the Company mess area for: eggs, fried or scrambled, with toast; oatmeal or dried cereal; and, sometimes, pancakes with syrup or jelly.

There was, of course, another choice to make during the winter months - which should I eat first, my cereal or my fried eggs? If I chose the eggs first, I would have to crack through the ice forming on top of the milk covering the cereal. If I made the mistake (as I did only one time) of eating the cereal first, which had been my normal custom, my second course would be what can only be described as two Egg Popsicles.

Even when our platoon was on Nori, we often had a semi-hot breakfast that included scrambled eggs which were dished out of a huge container which Korean helpers would choggy (tote, in pidgin English) out to us.

At my breakfast that Christmas day, I got my first lesson in how to share with my buddies. The guy on the steel pot next to me uttered his first words: "Gimme your fork."

I replied that I needed the fork to eat my eggs. He, somewhat annoyed at my ignorance, said, "Then gimme your spoon, you don't need both of them and I don't have either." You know the rest of this story. MK.

MK late add-on (22 Oct 4002): In case you came here from someplace besides the entry of Cpt/Maj Pearson, you may not have read the first part of this Christmas Carol. It's Christmas Day 1951 and is told at that entry on IBB Page Two, linked to here, below, and elsewhere on these photo pages. MK.

3rd Division Page       IBB Map and Photo Index
IBB Page Two    Pearson and His Stars
"Can Do" Photo Index, Belize
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