Duck for dinner

I entered the Corps on February 3, 1970, Parris Island, Platoon 218, A few weeks into training, I was introduced to “duck for dinner.” At first I thought wow wonder how these cooks are going to F _ _k up this meal. No not the case at all, the term means, that because the training schedule was tight, the platoon would “rangewalk” through the chow line and what ever each recruit could grab and eat and drink on the way to the exit was what you had for that meal. Our Drill Instructors would herd everyone through the process. What ever happens you wouldn’t want to be the last recruit to make formation. The Drill Instructor would take a quick head count, call everyone to attention, RIGHT FACE, forward march. At this phase there were 82 recruits, the entire event took under 25 minutes. I tell people about “suck for dinner” many can’t believe stuff like this happened.

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18 thoughts on “Duck for dinner”

  1. I was in platoon 238 at PISC in 1961. While at the rifle range I was made platoon guide and I was proud about that and thought I would be the first man in the mess hall at chow time, however the duty D.I. had me and a squad leader hold the screen doors for the platoon . Not knowing the clock had started I ate my meal and noticed my platoon mates were gone. I hurried to bus my tray and rushed outside and noticed my guideon was still there. I grabbed it and at port arms I began running down the street and when I caught up and took my position. The D.I. shouted out “Well it’s good to see our guide has decided to rejoin us.” Well I thought I would be fired but I remained in that position through graduation.

  2. I was a Hollywood Marine (MCRD Sept 1970). Never wore a watch or could remember seeing a clock but I swear meals were 30 minutes or less for the entire platoon. The DIs rotated the sequence of which squads entered the chow line. You got your food and then proceeded to a table and stood at attention until the table was full before sitting. Only then and only at the table did you eat anything from your tray. You ate as fast as you could because you never knew when the DIs would order you up and out. If you were the last squad that meal, you were lucky to get a few bites of food before ordered up and out. If you were stupid enough to try to eat anything on your way to scraping the food from your tray and putting on a conveyer belt to be washed, you had a “come to Jesus” meeting with the DI. Our only “leisurely” meal was on Thanksgiving day. Sundays were a little better than the weekdays timewise. I always thought what a waste of food it was to be rushed through the meal process.

  3. I was in PLT 238 in 1962. Parris Island. We were just across the street from the chow hall. The grinder was right behind 236 237 238 and 239. L Company. Found 155 Marines from L Company. Many have passed away.

    Court Conkwright

  4. Many Marines I have spoken too,never had Duck for dinner.Jan 1969,plt 307 Parris Island,we had Duck for dinner.We Ducked in the front door and Ducked out the back door.Did not even take 5 minutes.Had an entire pissed off platoon.The DIs didn’t seem to care

    DUCK SOUP, GOT IT !!!!”
    Tony Woconish
    SSGT. 1976-1982

  6. Are you sur of your platoon #. I was there July 1968 and my platoon # was 293. I am sitting here looking at the book right now.

  7. I also was a hollywood marine Aug.59. Do not remember any problem with time to eat but out the door the tray had better be clean. A few guys try to hide something they did not like SOS in their milk carton they regretted trying. I learned to love SOS.

    1. Parris Island Plt. 3056 1967 We learned quickly to make sure not to leave the mess hall before the DI. If the DI wasn’t very hungry neither were we. Harry

  8. MCRD San Diego plt.2013 2nd btl.’80. When sgt. Presas said “we’re having duck tonight,” I remember thinking ” wow I’ve never had duck before, hope it tastes good cause I’m hungry! Ha! Ha! Just one of many moments that still cracks me up to this day! SEMPER FI!

  9. MCRD Plt. 3105 1974. We also “ate” duck on a few occasions. The only thing that hit your mouth was air as you were route steppin through the chow hall. As far as SOS, I loved it then and still do. Found a restaurant that serves it just like in boot camp and infantry training school at Camp Pendleton. The restaurant is called “Paul’s coffee shop” located at 16947 Bushard St., Fountain Valley, Ca. 92708. When you order it, it comes to you on a metal mess tray. You can also buy the tray and on every Veterans day, you can take it back with you and you can get free SOS. Love the place. Semper Fi, Marines and Happy New Year.

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