To The Editors,                                                                                                                    4 July 2004
I read with sadness of the death of Major General George S. Patton III and wish to express my condolences to his family. While he was well known in military circles as a superb combat commander there is another aspect of him that I wish to share when he commanded the 2nd Armored Division that also showed his fine leadership in a peace time setting. I had the honor of being a member of his division (1-75-9-78) as a member of an armored battalion. During this period I was personally selected by him to be “Soldier of the Day,” a day that I shall always consider to be a high point in my life. He impressed me with his efforts maintain the division in the highest standards possible on an inadequate budget and having to maintain a combat ready brigade in Germany as well.
We had a pretty good armored battalion except in one area, and that was a mess section that seem to believe that the only time they were required to serve edible food was only on Thanksgiving and Christmas. The rest of the year they were a.w.o.l. when it came to decent rations. Despite the efforts of the battalion commander to improve the over all quality of the chow things remained the same. Then one day Gen. Patton visited our unit and decided to eat with us. I was standing in the chow line with a fellow N.C.O. and happen to turn around when he and the battalion commander entered. I said to my to my friend “hey Loucks, look who’se here. I can’t wait until he gets a mouthful of this swill!” (He had never sampled the culinary delights that awaited him from our mess hall) We grabbed a table where we would have a clear line of sight and yet be discreet to what would be a most entertaining lunch hour. “Loucks, look! He’s going to the soda dispenser instead of getting kool-aid.” This machine would dispense the vast majority of the time two types of “drinks.” Either you would receive a cup full of syrup or an equally disgusting cup of foam. The General went forth and received a blast of carbon dioxide for his efforts. He held up this cup of foam and showed it to our increasingly unhappy Lieutenant Colonel with an expression on his face that only could be read as “what the hell is this!” They proceeded to a table and started to eat. Patton took a mouthful of some type of beef and rice. A most amazed and disgusted expression came across his face followed by some comments that I couldn’t hear, but could well image the content. He ate about half of that slop, then picked up his tray, set it on top of our battalion commander’s and walked out of the mess hall with him following with these trays. Loucks and I were doing everything to keep from bursting out with laughter. I felt sorry for my colonel, for he was a fine officer and really didn’t deserve such a sorry mess section in his command. At the same time I wish to make clear that I was not laughing to myself at Patton or the colonel during this unfolding drama. Instead, I was thinking about what I knew about Patton from my own observations and those made by others who served with him in the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Viet Nam. I knew that this sorry state of affairs wasn’t going to be tolerated.
The next morning:
I walked in the mess hall and what did I see,
I saw the new cooks peering at me!
In less than 24 hours Gen. Patton had solved the problem in a most satisfactory manner by firing everyone save one cook and bringing in new personnel. We never had lousy chow again for the remainder of the time I was with the battalion and I note improved morale as well. I’m happy to note as well my battalion commander didn’t suffer any harmful effects either. Some things a battalion commander can’t do. It takes a divisional commander.
I write this as a small token of my regard for this brave and outstanding American General. It is these things as well as possessing great combat skills that make the finest officers.
This former cavalry scout concludes with this. Major General Patton, may God bless you Sir and on behalf of the men of my unit thank you for the squared away k.p. job you did on that mess section. I know for a fact that everyone was appreciative for it.
Wm. Ryan Murphy,
Dunwoody, GA
Former SGT, USA

If you were ever in charge of a Mess Hall (I never was ) email us your experience we will post it here, or if you experienced any part of a Mess Hall life, the food and KP tales, just write us. We will post here.

(We will have good recipes on through the year, " direct from Slim's recipe notebook.  (Slim is my Recipe moniker )

How to Fix a Roast Stuffed Turkey. good year round recipes for Chili and SOS, and a variety of  recipes below.

One turkey, Slims way , how to do it. Stuffing, gravy, see below

1/4–1/2 pound butter, depending on the size of the turkey, salt, freshly, ground pepper.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees’ F’s or165C. If you bought a frozen turkey ( hard as a rock ) start thawing at least 2 days before you intend to cook, put in a paper bag; and place in sink or a large dish to catch moisture., close the bag. When ready to cook rinse the turkey and pat it dry. Stuff the body and neck cavities before trussing up. ( see below on how to truss up) Soften 1/8–1/4 pound of butter and rub over turkey, depending on the size–it should be thoroughly buttered. See below about stuffing's, fill the turkey body cavity with the stuffing before wrapping turkey with foil. Sprinkle salt and pepper and wrap in aluminum foils, fold tightly, put in a shallow pan with breast up. this will reduce the cooking time required. Put in an oven. Cook 15 minutes per pound if the turkey weighs less than 16 pounds: 12 minutes per pound if it is heavier. When the meat thermometer registers 170 degrees in the breast meat and 185 degrees in the thigh meat, then open up the top of the aluminum foil to expose the breast part of the turkey and turn on the broiler ( that is the top burner ) and brown the top part of the turkey. Be careful not to over brown. Remove the turkey to a warm platter and cover loosely with a towel or leave the foil on with the top open. Let rest 15 minutes. Be sure not to overcook or undercook, use a meat thermometer.

Two choices of gravy for you to choose from:

1. Turkey Gravy: Two factors help make a good deep brown gravy: the drippings on the bottom of the roasting pan and the slow browning of the flour in the fat. Do as follows: four tablespoons of fat from the pan drippings, three tablespoons of flour, salt, freshly ground pepper, two cups of liquid: stock giblet broth, water or milk.

When the bird has been removed from the roasting pan, ( if bird is still moving hit him with a mallet ) skim off all but four tablespoons of fat in, if there is not enough fat in the drippings, add butter. Place the over a burner and heat it, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen all the brown bits. ( If the roasting pan is clumsy to handle, scrape and pour the drippings into a sauce pan.) in the flour and blend well over medium heat for three minutes or more, until lightly browned. Add salt and pepper to taste and slowly pour in liquid, stirring constantly, until smooth, simmer for 10 minutes to develop the flavor.

2. Giblet Broth: Generally speaking "Giblets" will refer to all those parts–the neck, heart, liver, and gizzard of poultry. A broth made of giblets and some vegetables will add to the richness to the gravy, as will the chopped giblets themselves, Because of its strong flavor, the liver should not be cooked in the broth, but separately. Ingredients: Giblets, one teaspoon, thyme, crumbled, one thick slice onion, one rib celery with leaves sliced, salts, ground pepper, butter, ( Optional )

How to prepare with the above. Rinse the gizzard, heart and neck, and trim fat away and membranes and blood. Put the giblets in a sauce pan, cover with water, and add thyme, onion, celery, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer 45 minutes, or until the gizzard is tender. Meanwhile cook the liver under the bird while it is roasting 5-10 minutes or sauté lightly in some butter. Strain the giblets, reserve the broth, and finely dice the gizzard and liver, and hearty. Using the broth, you could take the turkey gravy recipe shown in No.1 and just add the giblets at the end and you have giblet gravy.

3. Bread Stuffing: 1/4 pound of butter ( 115g ), four tablespoons of finely chopped onions, four tablespoons of finely chopped celery, four cups of dry bread crumbs, 1/4 teaspoon of ground pepper, salt to taste. Do it this way: melt the butter in a skillet and stir in the onion and celery. Cook over low heat until onion is soft. Add this mixture to the crumbs and toss lightly with plenty of pepper and salt. To store leftovers, remove the stuffing from the cavity, and refrigerate. To heat, place the casserole in a 325 degrees oven for half an hour , or toss the stuffing in a skillet a few tablespoons of butter.

4. The stuffing's mix: ( they have all kinds ) buy at any grocery store and follow directions.

5, Truss up the turkey: . Just take the two legs, with turkey breast up and tie together with stainless wire or heat proof string, after you have removed the turkey form the oven and the turkey is cooked, when you are ready to carve the take off the truss.

Special fast roast turkey: for those who do not have much time. (and always in a hurry) ( Slim's hurry up mode )

Go to store buy turkey, bring home take out body parts, they are in package in turkey, heat oven to 325 degrees, mix top of the stove dressing, you can buy it at the store, and put in turkey cavity. Turkey comes with a wire clip that holds legs together. Salt and pepper the turkey and wrap with foil, put in shallow pan slide into the oven. Cook until done, at least to get center of turkey to 165 degrees or a little more, pull back foil and brown the last 45 minutes of the baking cycle. When done pull out and eat the turkey. Written by J. J. (Slim) (Its a Fact)

Slim's Chili, ( outstanding ) 10 oz. of thin spaghetti ( cook as per directions on box. , set aside. ) .1 /12 teaspoon vegetable oil. 1 lb. very lean ground beef, 3 large onions (chopped) 1 large bell pepper (chopped) , 1 can tomato sauce ( 8 to 10 oz.), 3 teaspoons of minced garlic, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, chili powder to taste, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, dash of allspice, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, cayenne pepper to taste, Salt to taste, optional, 1 can red kidney beans, or chili beans, 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese: Cook the spaghetti per the directions on the box, meanwhile heat the oil on high until hot. ( watch be careful )Using your fingers crumble the ground beef into small pieces into the skillet. Wash hands. Peel and coarsely chop the onion, the pepper, be sure to take out the seeds, add to skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until the ground beef is finely crumbled and completely browned, about 2 minutes, reduce the heat to medium. Add tomato sauce, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder (to taste), cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and ground cloves, you could use whole cloves here.. Stir to mix well. Reduce the heat to simmer and continue to cook, stirring from time to time. Season with cayenne pepper; and salt, to taste, if you so desire. To serve, divide the drained spaghetti among 4 or 5 bowls. Top with chili, a few kidney beans to each bowl, and 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese to each bowl. Note: For two way just spaghetti, three way add cheese also, four way ( beans on top), five way or 5 way chili, sprinkle raw diced onion to top of each bowl. ( with onions),. Time to eat and enjoy this fine chili from Slim's recipe book.

Slims SOS (Sh-t on a shingle); 1 /12 teaspoon vegetable oil. 1/2 lb. very lean ground beef, 2 large onions (chopped) 1/4 bell pepper (chopped) , put in skillet and cook until all is tender, when done, drain liquid off. while this is cooking take 3 tablespoons of flour and mix in a glass with cold water, until dissolved, add salt and pepper to this just a dash of each . Mix into the skillet with the meat you have just cooked and add 1 additional 1/2 cup of milk and season to taste, (you can add a bouillon cube to flavor), stirring constantly, until it thickens, if thickens too much add more water to thin some. Toast bread and pour SOS on the toast, its good, try it. The above recipes please try at your own risk, if you like them tell us, we welcome your comments. The army served a lot of this SOS. More on the way.