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             Music - Da Vinci's Notebook "Another Irish Drinking Song"
 

          2nd Bde

545th Military Police Company

Punch Bowl Ceremony

As of August 28, 2012

 

This is the official 545th MP Company Ceremonial Punch Bowl

which was presented to the unit by the Association June 2010.

Since the days of the Russian Hussars in the Czar’s Household Cavalry there has been documented history of a ceremony called the Punch Bowl Ceremony or sometimes the Grog Ceremony.  This tradition has been carried down through the centuries in many Armies of the world and the American Army is no exception.  It is believed that the US Army Artillery is the first branch to institute this tradition (of course it was an artillery unit attached to the cavalry).

Although the details are obscure and scanty, it is thought that during the years of the west ward expansion when the individual cavalry regiments patrolled the western states, the Cavalry Troopers would share their spirits with one another thereby insuring that all fellow troopers had something to drink.  The alcoholic spirits usually consisted of what ever an individual trooper’s taste was, and that when mixed with other alcohol created a powerful drink known as “GROG” (a term also used by the British Navy when they mixed rum with brandy)

The comradeship developed over the decades and through the various wars and campaigns usually entailed the rare opportunity to share “liberated” spirits with each other

There were rare cases when the Regimental Commander was a teetotaler and forbid such activities, but the Regimental Sergeant Major and his staff NCO’s always managed to slip a little something into the Ladies Punch Bowl – usually to the detriment of the regimental ladies.

Hollywood even got into the act and if you’ve ever seen any of John Wayne’s cavalry movies or the famous Gunga Din with Errol Flynn about the British Cavalry in India, you’ll see NCO’s slipping booze into the punch bowl.

Today’s Punch Bowl Ceremony is more symbolic and encompasses the age old custom of sharing the unit’s history.  With that in mind here is our 545th MP Co Punch Bowl Ceremony:

 

 

Punch Recipe

 

The following recipe is read out loud – usually by the Adjutant, XO, 1SG or SGM while it is being mixed in front of the assembled unit at any unit function where drinking such beverages is allowed. An official “Mixer” is selected from the unit and is usually a person who is known for his or her enjoyment of such beverages.  This person adds the ingredients as the recipe is being read out loud.

The 545th MP’s can trace their ancestry back to the old Regimental Provost Sergeants in the many famous individual Cavalry Regiments that patrolled the western states in the 1800’s under the blue western sky – Insert a bottle of Blue Ice Vodka

They fought their enemies with powder and shot – Insert one small bag labeled Gun Powder filled black cake decorator sprinkles – then – add one bottle of bourbon – labeled many shots of rot gut

The troopers at Fort Bliss, led by General Black Jack Pershing fought Poncho Villa in the early 1900’s and the Provost Sergeants and their details collected, confined and secured the Mexican detainees in the deserts of Mexico and Texas – add one bottle of Tequila

Enroute to the Pacific Theater for WW II we trained in Australia – add one bottle of Australian beer

During WW II a lot of rice wine was liberated and consumed by our MP’s – add one bottle of Sake

When the 545th rode into Tokyo, Japan in the 1940’s to begin occupation duty, they once again discovered Rice Wine and as a matter of fact there was one rice wine brewery not far from the MP Barracks at Camp Drake – add ½ bottle of Sake

When the 545th went to Korea they often drank O.B. Beer which is a rice beer – add a bottle of O.B. Beer

Upon return to Japan and to Camp Crawford in Japan the 545th MP’s once again drank Rice Wine – add the last ½ bottle of Sake

In Vietnam the 545th consumed a lot of Ba M ‘Ba or “33” Export Beer – add a bottle of that.  And there was a lot of swamp water and Monsoon rain water – Add two large pitchers of iced tea marked swamp water

When the unit was in Bosnia, there was no liquor allowed but when the unit reps met with local elders, they were often offered Plum Schnapps with the tea – add a small bottle of Plum Schnapps

Since Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq are all Muslim countries there were no alcoholic beverages allowed at all but there was a lot of sand – Add granulated light brown sugar from a bag marked Desert Sand

It seems that the favorite drink of the 545th MP Company here in the states at Fort Hood was Budweiser Beer – add a bottle of that

And last but not least our new 545th MP’s are in the cold country in Alaska – add a bottle of Ice Cold Peppermint schnapps

To sweeten it up add a bottle of Southern Comfort (optional)

Stir this concoction, add ice cubes and drink.  The first sip should be taken by the Association Sergeant Major or in the absence of the SGM by the senior NCO Present (just to test it of course).

 

 

For the viewing pleasure here are some photos of the various beverages:

 

               

       Philippines                              Japan                                 Korea                   Vietnam                USA

A little historical note of interest is that the old MP Platoon, HQS Troop, 1st Cavalry Division had their unit CP set up in the San Miguel brewery office building and the unit barracks in a hotel just across the street at the end of Word War II in the Philippines.

        

 

Just a few of the many types of Sake (Rice Wine) available

 

Since the initial publication of this document, several additional old recipes for Cavalry punch have been discovered and all of them used by the 545th MP Company at one time or another.  I must warn all of you that drinking some of these concoctions may be hazardous to your health and well being!

This first recipe was in use by the 7th Cavalry in the late 1800’s well before the unit became part of the 1st Cavalry Division and I can personally attest to the fact that is was still in use in Vietnam by the 7th Cav.

 

Horse Cavalry Punch

 

2 Gallons of Fruit Punch

4 Fifths of good Bourbon

1 Pint of grain alcohol (or Medical Alcohol from the Regimental Surgeon)

1 Fifth of Southern Comfort (for the benefit of the Southern Gentlemen in the unit)

1 Horseshoe

1 Small can of sliced Pineapple (to add Cavalry yellow to the punch) Optional

 

Stir with a Cavalry Saber until well mixed.

 

This next one has often been used by the 545th MP Company during impromptu gatherings, ceremonies or during any excuse to have a party – usually at the end of Field Training exercises or during a stand down in the Bivouac area.

 

 

545th MP Company Field Punch

 

2 Gallons of fruit punch

½ Gallon of good bourbon

 

The following recipe was popular with the Doughnut Dollies in Vietnam and was consumed during the MP Corps Birthday Ceremony at Phouc Vinh, Vietnam

 

 

Cavalry Military Police Punch

 

2 Gallons of Green Kool Aid (MP Green)

1 Can of sliced Pineapple (Cavalry and MP Yellow)

1 Small Bottle of lime juice mixed with 2 cups of sugar or enough to make a slurry

½ Gallon of Vodka or Gin

 

This last one is the Grand daddy of them all and is the recipe which was kept for years by SGT Lehman of the 545th MP Company.  This recipe is for formal occasions such as Military Balls where everyone is on their best behavior and in Dress Blues.  I have done a little research on this recipe and have discovered that it is very similar to the famous Artillery Punch used by all Cavalry Artillery Units and has been in use since the old horse Cavalry days at Fort Bliss, Texas.

This recipe requires over a dozen troopers from the unit to participate in the mixing of the concoction and each trooper must be wearing his or her uniform in absolute concurrence with Army uniform regulations as if they were going before a promotion board.  The mixing of the recipe is a very solemn occasion and should be treated as such.  The “Mixer” should be a senior NCO from the unit who is familiar with such beverages and as the ingredients are added to the kettle, he or she uses a Cavalry Saber to mix them.

 

 

Formal Cavalry Punch

 

Into a large cast iron kettle, the first trooper pours a container of the previous years punch to remind all assembled of their great cavalry traditions.

 

The second trooper pours in a large container of bright red fruit punch to keep us Mindful of the Bloodshed of our Brothers.

 

The third trooper pours in dark rum to warn of the Coming of the Storm

 

The fourth trooper pours in sliced pineapples to remind us of the Cavalry Yellow

 

The fifth trooper pours in golden colored rum, our Hope of Victory

 

The sixth trooper pours in Peach Brandy, courtesy of Confiscated Officers Stores

 

The seventh trooper adds bottled water, connoting the importance of Fresh Water

 

The eighth trooper pours in bourbon, The Southern Gentleman’s Drink

 

The ninth trooper pours in lime/lemon juice, to Ward off Scurvy

 

The tenth trooper drops in some rose petals, evidence of our deep and abiding Love for Our Women

 

The eleventh trooper contributes molasses, the needed Axle Grease that keeps the wheels turning and the units moving forward.

 

The twelfth trooper pours in Squeezings from a Horse Sponge – a mixture of lemon juice and brown sugar.

 

The thirteenth trooper adds dark apple cider to the blend, The Cleansing Water from the Horse Sponge Bucket

 

The fourteenth trooper casts in a small handful of coffee grounds and dried, parched corn, Food for the Common Soldier.

 

The fifteenth trooper adds in Mud from the Battle Fields, a mixture of water and brown sugar

 

The sixteenth trooper puts in black cake sprinkles or cake decoration, symbolizing Gun Powder

 

To this mixture, the seventeenth trooper adds green, Maraschino Cherries, The Color of the Military Police Corps

 

The eighteenth trooper puts in a horse shoe to Honor the Horses

 

Once all of these ingredients have been added and stirred, the youngest adult member of the unit is asked to come forward and taste the concoction to determine if it is suitable for the Cavalry Military Policemen to drink.  Upon tasting, he grimaces; steps back from the cast iron kettle, and says –

 

“This won’t do.  Something is missing!”

 

After a few moments pause so that the group can consider what might be missing from the punch, the First Sergeant Steps forward and volunteers –

 

“I know what is missing”

 

He strides forward to the cast iron kettle with an Army Wool Sock in hand, one heavily dusted with powdered sugar – The Dust of the March.  Lightly slapping the sock a time or two above the kettle to scatter some of the sugar and to show everyone the dust of the march, he then throws the sock into the cast iron kettle.

 

Now that the missing ingredient has been supplied and added to the punch, the Stirrer stirs the punch once more, and the First Sergeant then commands “Will the Commander honor us and please step forward” Once the Commander is near the cast iron kettle and facing the assembled troopers, he is asked by the First Sergeant if he would be so kind as to taste the mixture to determine its fitness as a drink for men and women of the Military Police Corps.  Filling his cup halfway and drinking it down in one gulp, he then exhibits an air of sublime pleasure, and orders all of the members of the unit to come and partake of the Cavalry Punch

 

Cheers!!!!!

 

 

 

Corrections, additions or photos should be sent to

 

Sam Reinert
CPT MP USAR (Ret)
Founder
545th Military Police Company Association
626 1/2 South 9th Street
Richmond, Indiana 47374 USA
(765) 962 4627 phone & FAX

Samreinert1@545thmpcoassn.org