Coffee, the original energy drink

Hmmmmmm…coffee.  Just the thought of it makes the day that much brighter.  I figure we might as well start our new year like we start our day. That is, caffeinated.

On deployments the importance of brewing a magic mug of victory cannot be understated.  Waiting on gurgling, hissing, coffee brewing contraptions can be hypnotic.

Like a toilet flushing, its brown water swirls in your mind.

Many a morning I shuffled into the COC castigating young lieutenants for not having the great silver bullet prepped with its life giving nectar. Some of them were even under the mistaken impression that since they didn’t drink coffee then they didn’t have to make sure any was brewed. Fools.

Ever see a 2nd Lt try and talk over a caffeine deprived 1stSgt? In my experience it goes like this:

“1stSgt, if you want coffee made in the mor-“
“RRAAAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHH!!$%*&#@OIC??   &*%#$^%COFFEE!!%*#[email protected]!&*^@USELESS!!”

Another fine Iraqi morning I loomed into the COC early, as I often did.  Surly, I pronounced their morning report and state of the COC was satisfactory upon discovering the silver bullet had already been fired up and was ready to serve.

America’s greatest wartime invention.

As I poured myself a cup I noticed the color was off. It seemed rather light, almost like the color of tea. Had we been infiltrated by the English?

Interrogating the Lance Corporal radio operator who “made” the coffee, he assured me he had prepared the silver bullet as instructed. He had filled it with water and put coffee in the filter and everything.

I removed the lid of the silver bullet to inspect his work and sure enough, he had indeed filled the filter with coffee…beans. I cursed him and his addiction to sugary energy drinks as an un-American Communist plot. You’d think knowing how to operate a silver bullet would be a requirement to graduate boot camp.  A hip pocket class on the operation of the silver bullet ensued, complete with functions check. The professional development of young Marines is my responsibility after all. 

For the record, America’s 1stSgt takes his coffee hot and dark. Read into that what you will. Like my shipmate NavyOne, I too do not wash my coffee mug.  This mystifies my CO but I have never caught him using my mug either.

More caffeinated musing later!

Semper Fidelis!
America’s 1stSgt

/ / / /


  1. What are they teaching young lieutenants in the Corps these days anyway? Note to any Corpsman out there: Docs, try a coffee IV on your next patient. It’s quite a shot in the arm!

  2. 1. All good First Sergeants are extremely particular about the coffee mess.
    2. Sacred ground only the foolish, regardless of rank. would mess with.
    If you weren’t a caffeine addict, the military would take care of that little detail.
    3. When the Corps issues you a wife, the mug will start getting cleaned.
    4. All the best in 2012.
    V/R JWest

  3. Top,
    I had some very nice citizens who shipped my boxes of fresh coffee beans when I was in OIF 3. When I traveled to “help” other units, I always took extra coffee (right next to the spare ammo in my ruck sack….
    In each case, I we arrived and got settleded in, I’d ask: “Who drinks coffee?”

    Often, I’d get some E-3 or E4 who’d say: “Top does…and I think one or 2 others in the office …”

    I’d find them and make friends and share my beans…

    I just don’t understand those who drink the bore cleaning solvent instead of coffee.

  4. You never wash your mug, 1stSgt? That might just be a guy thing…

    One morning last week I walked in to start my shift, and our warrant roars “SPC Snuffy washed my coffee cup!!! He washed it! I knew my coffee tasted wrong! I’ve been working all year to get that nice layer of tasty grime at the bottom! SGT, correct this soldier!”

    CI Roller- I think that coffee tastes like bore cleaning solvent. No offense.

  5. I remember when I was just a PFC and was told I would be a truck driver for my howitzer and how it was an awful job. We went over to the motor pool and the Sgt there offered us coffee and told us to wait in one of the vehicle bays. I didn’t drink coffee but I made myself a cup and watched the rest of the gun bunnies futz around in the FREEZING RAIN while I enjoyed a cup of hot joe. A truly awful job indeed.

  6. Gleeeaaarrgh, coffee is grim. Does awful toxic things to my insides so i leave well alone. LOVE the smell though, so when it’s time to open a new thingummie at work, they always let me do it 😛

  7. I was raised by coffee addicts. I followed the tradition and continue to do so.

    I’ve lived through the radicalist change from proper perk or boil to newfangled drip. I survived, but barely.

    I still recall my favoritest cup of coffee ever!

    We were in the field training for a couple weeks during a wet phase in a forest area. Can’t recall exactly which forest area.

    For some reason, I was moving through the REMF area of the training. It was the field mess.

    I stopped to watch some cooks make the coffee.

    They set up some propane cookers, set 5 gal cooking pots on the burners (one pot per burner), filled the pots with water, lit the fires under the pots, opened up 3lbs cans of coffee, dumped the coffee on some cheese cloths that had been spread out for the purpose (one full can per cloth), dumped the cloths into the 5 gal cooking pots (one bag per ea).

    What they ended up with looked like weak tomato soup. Tasted like battery acid diluted with bile. BUT!! one sip and hair stood up on end, eyeballs vibrated, skin crawled around the body and there was no problem staying awake while on watch after a 36 hour long day of doing grunt stuff.

    Semper Fi

  8. I cursed him and his addiction to sugary energy drinks as an un-American Communist plot.

    Moral AND tooth decay, that’s what it is.

  9. You should have at least one E-5 in the shop who can lead well enough to have coffee done. I made one Lance Corporal in my section Coffee God and by God it had better be made when I got there after Morning Formation.

  10. I’ve never been a coffee drinker, a fact that almost destroyed my legal career. At my first law firm, we had weekly 7 a.m. meetings, during which I fell asleep, while everyone else around me was perky and competent. This is to a way to impress the bosses.

    I finally figured out that I wasn’t defective; I was just un-caffeinated, while all the others were hopped up on the brown stuff.

    Since I can’t seem to develop a taste for coffee, I solved the problem by going to another law firm that had 8 a.m. weekly meetings.

    Even that 8 a.m. meeting paled on me eventually, and I took my pathetic tea-drinking self out of the law firm rat race altogether, and went into business for myself.

  11. NavyOne, in my company we’re teaching them to operate a coffee mess.

    Pax, yes, by all means my address is the safest.

    JWest, easy on the wife talk. This cat is in no rush.

    CI Roller, coffee is the currency of the American warrior. The whole energy drink thing is disturbing to me. It tastes like processed ass.

    Saker, your wrongness could not be more profound.

    Okie, everybody gets pissed at the drivers for not doing anything until one of them falls asleep at the wheel of a 7-ton. Then it’s all about why they weren’t rested enough.

    Magoo, coffee does that to everybody. Quit being a sissy!

    Grimmy, in Korea our cooks used boot socks to filter the coffee.

    Shay, a sad endictment of our time.

    Lin, I pretty much just yell while standing on my desk hitting it with a sledge hammer until I get my way. Yours works too I guess.

    Book, just think, if you’d just climbed aboard the coffee bandwagon you could have been Attorney General by now!

  12. Yeah, being a woman I HATE to say this, but I don’t wash my mug either, I figure it’s like a cast iron skillet-trust me washing that is grounds for divorce…or homicide, depending…that layer is what makes crap coffee closer to being bearable. Also, had one guy in our office once who offered to make coffee…don’t let good gone bad Mormons make coffee, just don’t, save yourself the mess and the headache…. not worth it when your pulling 120+hours a week, or even 40 (can I have that cushy job?) and remember coffee is even more american then baseball:)

  13. Print shops run on coffee. It’s a major crisis when we run out. We ran out this morning. The boss went to Wally World first thing. Don’t get between a pressman and his coffee…..

  14. Washed my old ready room mug today. Just as I have done every year, first work day of the year since I went on terminal leave and started a civvie job 21 years ago. It gets cleaned whether it needs it or not. Not that it improves anything but it commemorates a fresh start and a look forward to another strong (if stained) finish next year.

  15. While staying at my mother-in-laws this past weekend she thought she’d be nice and start coffee for us coffee drinkers. She is not a coffee drinker. I thought it was chocolate pudding in a cup. I was like Speedy Gonzales for the next 5 hours.

    And for the record I almost Never wash my cup and I’m female. =]

  16. Dang it.

    Now I’ve got to try me some sock brewed coffee.

    Btw, the socks…

    Is the brewing process meant to be a twofer type deal? Get your coffee and do your laundry at the same time?


  17. Ahh, so I’m not the only one who doesn’t wash his mug regularly. I mean I do it so that the wife is happy (and 1st Sgt, it’s not as bad as some dingbats make it out to be. And some of the perks are right nice too…) and for the record, I cannot believe that someone wouldn’t realize that whole beans are a no go for brewing. Even if you were raised on pre-ground (which is far inferior to fresh ground but that’s another matter altogether) something should have clicked when the coffee didn’t look like it should have in the filter.
    Also, the stronger the better. It’ ain’t potent enough until a whiff is plenty to perk you up.

  18. be603 your right seasoned is the correct word, tried to tell my mom that and she didn’t get it, so I went with the casole analogy, I mean, really? only a few years (or 20?) that’s nuthin’ compared to some of the casole pots in France that have been cooking for hundreds of years….actually that might make my grandma’s coffee taste better…

  19. Once upon a time one of my young Airmen washed out the Chief’s cup. It was so clean you could actually see the original color in the bottom of the cup.
    It was not a good day.

  20. – The general consensus is clean coffee cups is bad. That is, you own personal mug. I’d appreciate it if restaurants continued to clean theirs. I also can’t wait to retire and pull a cushy 40 hour a week job. Preferably working four 10 hour days.

    Leslie, belive it or not, I used to work in a print shop as a young lad. This was way before my coffee days though.

    be605, we all have our traditions and ceremonies. That one doesn’t sound too bad.

    Kristina, at least she erred on the side of strong black coffee vice weak brown water.

    Bradley, I use a French press here in my office daily.

    Grimmy, I suspect used socks would add a bit of texture so to speak.

    THE, agreed. I am of the blacker the better camp myself.

    – Moms never get it. Seasoned is the way of the warrior.

    Larry, yeah, but I bet the Airman never washed a mug again right? Some lessons need to be learned the hard way.

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