Jul 15

Sailors Scream For Ice Cream!

Sunday, July 15, 2018 12:05 PM

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Pilot enjoys a tub of ice cream. (U.S. Naval Institute)

Pilot enjoys a tub of ice cream. (U.S. Naval Institute)

Few things are as important as coffee, tobacco, and ice cream in today’s Navy. Though coffee offers caffeine to get through long days and the tobacco provides opportunity for smoke breaks, ice cream acts on a separate level of physiological necessity. There are physiological studies that demonstrate ice cream is a “comfort” food that ranks above all others [1]. Aside from being the only food to lower the human startle response, the frozen treat is thought to invoke nostalgia that reminds individuals, especially those on long demanding deployments, of childhood innocence and security, and of family vacations that may be relaxing [1].

Sailors share cake and ice cream while on deployment. (U.S. Naval Institute)

Sailors share cake and ice cream while on deployment. (U.S. Naval Institute)

In 1914 with the ban on alcohol the Navy researched different methods to keep morale high; researchers found Sailors were extremely fond of ice cream [2]. In order to keep up with the demand for the frozen treat the Navy turned two Army refrigerated concrete barges into maritime ice cream factories. The barges supplemented “small-boys” that lacked the ability to supply their own ice cream [2]. Their output was about 1500 gallons a day [3].

The "Ice Cream Page" from the Cookbook of the United States Navy Revised in 1945. (US Government Printing Office)

The “Ice Cream Page” from the Cookbook of the United States Navy Revised in 1945. (US Government Printing Office) [4].

When the USS Lexington sank in the battle of the Coral Sea sailors grabbed ice cream from the CS as they jumped over board. Listen to the CO of the Lexington, ADM Noel A.M. Gayler, USN (Ret.) tell the story first to a U.S. Naval Institute Historian.

Ice cream still remains an important tool in keeping the U.S. morale high.

 

Sailor dishes up ice cream on the flight deck. (U.S. Naval Institute)

Sailor dishes up ice cream on the flight deck. (U.S. Naval Institute)

 

 

References:

  1. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/08/ice-cream-military/535980/
  2. https://news.usni.org/2015/01/30/unique-ships-u-s-navy
  3. Naval Historical Foundation
  4. https://maritime.org/doc/cookbook1945/pg068.htm