Who called the Cook a bastard
Who called the bastard a Cook
by Art Johnson

The other night I got to thinking about army cooks and found that it brought back a lot of memories. When I first arrived at Charlie Company 2nd Bn., The R.C.R. we were out on spur in front of 187 with 166 across the valley from us. Our daily hot meal arrived via the Korean porters which one of the drivers usually escorted. At that time, to me, our cook was some mysterious person that I had never met by the name of "Steamboat". Even after I met him I never got to know what his real name was, but in any case he was a darn good cook, he must have been I mean after all the officers back in "B" Echelon stole him from us. "Steamboat" was famous for his home made booze that he concocted from the corn meal and raisons that came up with the U.S. rations. He was also very generous at supplying any other interested parties with the knowledge and ingredients to make their own.

After Steamboat came Roger Mallet, he was either seven or eight platoon I forget which. Roger I believe learned his cooking in a lumber camp and with the help of the Koreans turned out quite palatable meals.

Next came George, he was from the Service Corps and that son of a sea cook stewed every bloody thing that came up I think he would have stewed the eggs if he could have figured out: how to. His standard answer when asked whatís for dinner was "STEW". As luck would have it I happened to go on R and R to Tokyo with George also included in our group was a chap from the Pioneers by the name of Gord. Now Gord was a real. sight to behold six feet or so a flaming red hair and beard and a gold ear ring dangling from his ear. Arriving at Ebisu Camp we made no delay in departing for the Ginza area of Tokyo. Somehow or other most of our gang arrived at the Blue Moon hotel, three or four of us had to be put up a another small hotel around corner. One day when we returned from our usual round of carousing we stepped into the lobby of the Blue Moon to find George standing more plastered than the wall with his arm extended out to the side of his body and his index finger pointing upward saying go ahead Gord shoot off, and there was good old Gord standing there in about the same condition with a .45 Colt pistol pointed in Georgeís general direction. Before anyone could do any thing there was a loud report followed by the smashing of a slug into the wall and the clatter of plaster on the tile floor. Then things really began to happen. Yanks tumbled out from all over the place clutching their boots and uniforms and heading for the front door. Following them came the girls shrieking and screaming also headed for the front door. Then the manager then appeared and took charge of the situation by ushering us all around the corner to the other hotel., he also took charge of the pistol. Whether the MPs ever arrived like he said they would I donít know but he did return the pistol. When we returned to the company George cooked some of the finest meals I have ever had in the army, unfortunately this culinary experience only lasted for a week then it was back to stew.

It was shortly after this that the 1st Bn., was to arrive and take over. In preparation for this the 2nd Bn., was re-organized into companies of men who were staying and those who were going home, in this exchange we received "B" Coy., cook a chap by name of Blacky. Blacky didn't stay too long with us and was replaced by a cook and a baker from the Service Corps now this was really something I thought, imagine having our own baker. The cooks name escapes me but the bakers name was Beer (I kid you not). Beer used to bake all night long and was so engaged the night "C" Coy., made that ill fated climb to the top of 113. When we arrived back on our side of the valley I had just come to the check point when Beer went running by, he was headed down to the bottom of the hill to give a hand with the wounded. I sat down to have a rest and shoot the guff with whoever was checking us in and back comes Beer, he hadnít been gone five minutes and instead of helping with the wounded he became one. Such are the fortunes of war I suppose.

Arthur Johnson was born in Toronto, 1929 and lives in Scarborough, Ontario.  He is married with two children and nine grandchildren.  Art served with The Royal Canadian Regiment, 1st and 2nd Battalions, C Company.  He was severely wounded 12 August 1952 on Hill 355.  He is  a member of KVA Unit #57.

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