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545th Military Police Company

A Pictorial History of

Mess Hall Operations

As of  January 26, 2012

Throughout the history of the 545th Military Police Company, the MP’s did not always receive daily rations in their own Mess Hall.  Sometimes they ate in a Regimental Mess or in the Hqs and Hqs Mess Hall or as MP’s are known to do when sent out on their own on a TCP or POW (EPW) collection point, find their way to another units Mess Hall for sustenance.  545th MP’s have always been known for their “organizational ability” and when sent out on a TCP with a case of “C” or “K” Rations might end up with a Water Buffalo Steak Bar-B-Q on the side of the road to augment these rations.  The following is a pictorial history of the dining facilities and eating habits of the 545th MP’s during the unit’s history:



Fort Bliss, Texas


Typical Horse Cavalry Field Mess of the type the old 1st Cav Provost Sergeants would dine at while in the field.


1st Cavalry Troopers partaking of the Christmas Meal at Fort Bliss, Texas 1920 - 1921


This was a semi-permanent Mess Hall out by the ranges at Fort Bliss around the late 1930’s.  Note the trooper on KP raking the area in his old Blue (one piece) Fatigues and Field/Boonie Cap


Cook and Mess Steward (in white jacket) and KP at the HHC Mess Kitchen where the MP Platoon members dined almost daily at Ft Bliss circa 1940-1942


Members of the MP Platoon on KP, washing Pots and Pans and peeling potatoes at Fort Bliss, Texas circa 1940 - 1942






Members of the old MP Platoon, HHC, 1st Cavalry Div leaving their platoon area headed towards the HHC Mess tents which can barley be seen in the distance. Note the fatigue coveralls had by this time been changed from Blue to OD.  From this time on only stockade prisoners wore the Blue Fatigue Coveralls





Pacific Theatre


To date there are no known photos of any mess facilities on any of the islands during WW II.  The MP Platoon moved quickly with the Division CP from island to island and there was never much time to erect even temporary facilities.



Types of Field Rations utilized by the 545th MP Co. throughout history



K Rations Ft Bliss & WW II   5 in 1 Rations WW II & Korea    C Rations Korea & RVN


Meals, Ready to Eat, Desert Storm, Bosnia and Iraq War







545th MP Dick Whalen on the right and Japanese cook “Meat Ball” on the right in the 545th Mess Hall kitchen, Camp Drake 1948-1949.  Dick Whalen is a member of our Association


Note:  Several of the members of the MP Platoon were both line MP’s and cooks.  SGT Harold Lehman and CPL Dick Whalen both fell into this category and both pulled motorized patrol duty, as well as occasional Stockade duty and TCP as well as worked as cooks in the Mess Hall. There were never enough cooks to go around – especially ones that could cook well enough so as not to cause a riot because of the quality of the food, so line MP’s were asked to volunteer and both of the aforementioned who had been short order cooks in civilian life and who both liked to cook volunteered with the stipulation that they could remain on line duty status.  No one can remember his correct name, but the Japanese civilian cook called “Meat Ball” was a good cook and everyone enjoyed working with him.  Harold Lehman (deceased) is a former member of our association.



Interior of the Dining Room of the MP Platoon Mess Hall at Camp Drake, Japan 1948


Meat Ball in the Kitchen at Camp Drake, Japan 1948


545th cook Shafer and Meat Ball in the MP Platoon Kitchen at Camp Drake 1948


545th cook Shafer in cooks whites at Camp Drake 1948


Thanksgiving Dinner Menu for Camp Drake, Japan 1947


 545th MP’s in chow line to Mess Hall at Camp Shimmel, Sendai, Japan, 1955


545th MP’s Pfc Russell Gould and unidentified standing in front of the 545th MP Mess Hall at Camp Crawford, Japan 1954


545th MP Co Cook, Dick Whalen his dog with Japanese KP/cook “Meatball” at Camp Drake circa 1948 – 1949 Dick is a member of our association


545th MP Pfc. Gould in front of 545th Mess Hall, Camp Crawford circa 1955 where he evidentially enjoyed his chow as the association has several dozen photos of him – all in front of the Mess Hall.


3 Cooks from the 545th MP Co. Mess Hall with a cutie from Tokyo at Camp Drake, Japan circa 1947 – 1948







545th MP cook serving coffee to various GI’s who stopped by our TCP and Check Point in the Capitol of North Korea during the Korean War. It should be noted here that several of our members did identify this cook as being a member of our unit, but no one remembers his name. As was the habit of the day – he was just referred to as “Cookie” Circa 1950/51



545th MP Co. Mess Hall, Camp Custer, Korea

Circa 1963


This is a great photo of the 545th MP Company area at Camp Custer with the Mess Hall Complex in the foreground circa 1963. It should be noted that almost all structures at Camp Custer were constructed by the 545th MPs themselves – including the Mess Hall



545th MP Co. Mess Sergeant and Company Commander (CPT Seng) receiving Superior Mess Award from the Commanding General at Camp Custer, Korea circa 1964


One of the 545th Mess tents in the field in North Korea circa 1950


Cpl. Schoff and Sgt. McMaines in the chow line in the 545th Mess Hall at Camp Custer, Korea prior to going on duty 1963


The 545th MP Co Mess Hall at Camp Custer, Korea 1963





Fort Benning, Georgia


A typical field kitchen with immersion heaters to clean mess gear of the type found in field operations at Ft Benning where members of the 11th Air Assault MP Co which was later to become the 545th MP Co at Ft Benning might find themselves dining at.  Note the camouflage netting over the tent and serving line.



 An interior shot of the mess tent shown above


Field food preparation shown here in the mess tent above.  






545th MPs going to noon mess at An Khe, Vietnam 1966



Thanksgiving Menu November 1966 An Khe, Vietnam


Christmas Menu An Khe, Vietnam 1966


Shot of the rear of the 545th Mess Hall at Phouc Vinh, Vietnam circa 1969.  The GI in the photo is a supply truck driver.  This mess hall burned down twice and was destroyed by mortar fire once


 545th MP’s having a Bar-B-Q circa 1967


A 545th MP Co Bar-B-Q at Camp Radcliff, An Khe, RVN 1966


 Fresh Meat on its way to another 545th Bar-B-Q, Vietnam 1967


 545th outdoor dining at its best in Vietnam circa 1967


545th MP Co Bar-B-Q at LZ Two Bits, RVN 1967


Bar-B-Q by the CID hooch in Phouc Vinh, Vietnam circa 1969


545th Bar-B-Q and party out behind the MP Club at Phouc Vinh, Vietnam circa 1970


This is typical of the Mess Halls found on Fire Bases and LZ’s in Vietnam.  Most were riddled with shrapnel and small arms holes and they leaked badly during the Monsoon Season.  Mess Sergeants in those days had to be part Engineer, part Quartermaster Supply or at least a good midnight scrounger and able to put together a meal while under mortar or rocket fire.  To top it off - since the stoves they used were fired with gasoline under pressure, there were also frequent fires and the Mess Sergeant and his cooks became real adept at putting our fires quickly as these structures made of packing crate material tended to burn rather quickly.



545th MP Co Thanksgiving meal in Vietnam 1967





Fort Chaffee, Arkansas


545th MP SGT Sharp in the Mess Hall at FT Chaffee




Fort Drum, New York


At the present time there are no photos of mess operations available for the 545th Military Police Company while at Fort Drum, New York











Desert Storm



545th Mess Tent, Assembly Area Killeen (complete with Astro Turf), Iraq circa February 1991





Iraq War


Roadside Fast Food Stand in Baghdad, Iraq

Note:  The association has thousands of photos from Iraq but not one photo of a mess facility or of 545th troopers eating a meal.  Everyone was too busy taking photos of enemy captured weapons, EPW’s and combat patrols and evidently felt that a photo of a mess hall was too mundane an activity to photograph? 




Fort Hood, Texas


Between 1973 and 1976 the 545th MP Company dined in the HHC, 1st Cav mess hall across from the wooden barracks and did not have its own mess hall.  Sometime at the beginning of 1976 the 545th moved into the new brick barracks and utilized one of the Consolidated Mess Facilities at that time.

As per Sp/4 Jim Clason, the 545th took its meals with the 227th AVN BN in 1978 and Jim states that the chow was pretty good. There was also one particular Consolidated Mess that anyone in the Division could utilize that had four different chow lines and even had take out which was good for the MP  Desk personnel as a patrol could take them chow anytime from this Mess facility


A field mess operation set up for 545th members on route to an FTX to stop and obtain a quick hot meal and wash their mess kits.  Note:  Of the hundreds of photos of the 545th MP Co at Ft Hood, there are presently none available of any mess hall operation


A typical Mess Truck of the type used in the Field by MP’s in days gone by. This one has been restored by an old 545th MP now in the Texas National Guard and is on display at Ft Hood, Texas. Note the Cav patch on the cook at the rear of the truck.


Major components of a Military Field Kitchen M 1939 Field Stoves and M 2 Burners in the Mess Truck pictured above




Fort Richardson, Alaska


545th MP Mess Hall 2008


545th MP Co Mess Hall (2) 2008



New Wilderness Dining Facility for the 545th MP Company

Along with new barracks and a Motor Pool, the 545th MP Company discovered that it had a new Mess Hall upon their return from Iraq in May of 2010 and it’s called the Wilderness Dining Facility. It is a consolidated Mess and feeds soldiers from many units, but the 545th MP Company Mess Sergeant or Food Service NCO as they are called in today’s Army, SFC Cheryl A. Williams not only works in the facility but helped to set it all up while the unit was deployed.


 Exterior View of the Wilderness Dining Facility


Interior shot of the kitchen


SFC Cheryl Williams, 545th MP Company Food Service NCO decorating a cake for her MPs in the new Mess Hall at Fort Richardson, Alaska 2010.


No more KP Roster. KP’s are all civilians now and I don’t believe that the 1SG even sends screw-ups to the Mess Sergeant for a few days 1SG’s punishment as in days of old!


 Serving Line in the new Dining Facility for the 545th MP Co


Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for all MPs


Over Easy?


Interior shot of the Dining Facility where the 545th MPs Chow Down


This is not your father’s Army!!


Strawberry Cake anyone?


Where do I reenlist! 

This Dining Facility is operated by both civilian and military cooks from several units, and the 545th MP Co has its very own Mess Sergeant once again who works in this faciltity.



Today’s Modern Army Field Kitchens


MP’s today in the field or in a rear combat area may find themselves being served a meal from a very modern field kitchen as pictured above and this kitchen will more than likely be operated by civilians.  Say good bye to the dreaded KP Roster!!!


The very latest in portable field kitchens

Mess Hall Photo Album

Mess Hall Photo Album 

Should anyone have any corrections or additions to make to this document, kindly contact CPT Sam Reinert at the following address:    


Sam Reinert


545th MP Company Association

Richmond, Indiana   47374

765 962 4627 phone & FAX