World War 2 Ice Cream of the US NAVY

World War 2 Ice Cream of the US NAVY | World War Wings Videos

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Being in the frontlines will lower anyone’s morale. However, in WW2, the US Navy came up with a solution to boost everyone’s morale – they served ice cream. But how did they get this delicious dessert in the frontlines?

A Dark Day

July 1, 1914, was a dark day for the US Navy. That day, General Order Number 99, which prohibited the use of alcoholic liquors onboard any navy vessel, yard, or station, was passed.

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To lift their spirits, the sailors turned their attention to sugar. Although these came in many forms, the most popular by far was ice cream.

In Demand

When WWII rolled in, while there were shortages in sugar, every large vessel was fitted with a room that could store ice cream that was then served in the Gedunk bar- a snack bar among large US naval vessels. 

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When it was time for ice cream, everyone lined up to get their scoop!

Boosting Morale

The Secretary of the US Navy himself, James Forrestal, believed that ice cream could boost morale. 

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“Distribution of ice cream to ships and advanced bases must be increased. Of all specific actions listed herein, this should be the highest priority. Ice cream in my opinion has been the most neglected of all important morale factors,” a memo written by him said. 

Forrestal believed that ice cream could boost the men’s morale so much that in the months before the end of the war, he had numerous memos coming across his desk all about ice cream with very serious wordings. 

The Ice Cream Report

In July 1945, the Navy released the Ice Cream Report which is an entire report dedicated to ice cream.

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It details the supply of 48 million pounds of ice cream mixed powder and the installation and service of approximately 48 ice cream machines aboard ships in the Pacific fleet. 

Making Something Out Of Nothing

On Peleliu in 1944, US Marine Fighter Squadron Commander J. Hunter Reinberg was determined to raise morale by making his men ice cream from scratch. The only problem was that they were in a tropical island and they had no way of storing this delicacy.

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After much deliberation, his crew members took waterproof cans for storing .50-caliber bullets and mounted them on both side of the Corsair’s wings. They then affixed propellers to the cans that would churn a little screw inside, while milk and chocolate powder were added next before taking a short flight.

Lo and behold, the squadron finally had 10 gallons of chocolate ice cream on their disposal!

Other Military Branches

B-17 crews in Europe also did the same with their tail gunner’s turrets. They would sometimes churn their ice cream as they returned from bombing raids.

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Even the US Army got in on the action when they pushed through Germany in 1945. The Quartermaster Corps built dozens of makeshift ice cream factories just behind the frontlines so they could supply troops with half a pint!

It seemed like no branch of the military could go without this amazing dessert!

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