...and how Tabasco sauce went with the men to war.
My name is Debra Sheets. I'm a genealogist. I like to find stories and record them along with the information about the people in my family tree. It helps me to visualize them and see them in a more personal way so that these people will not be forgotten. And it serves for those that come after me, so they can come to know these people, as I have come to know the people in my family tree through my research.
Anyhow, a few months ago I was going through our family tree and researching and finding out what branch of the service, and in what wars they served in, and attaching photos of those services to them.
I'm also a mother of seven, and three of my four sons were able to serve in the military, two in the Army and one in the Marine Corps. Our family has a long history of military service, so as I made note of their service in the family tree I came to my father, who also served in the Marine Corps. I remembered a story he told me as a little girl, when I was home recovering from appendix surgery. I couldn't sleep one night, and so he and I were up late and he fried some eggs and put them on toast and proceeded to put Tabasco sauce on them. I'd never eaten Tabasco sauce before, so I was a little apprehensive.
He assured me that it might have a strong taste but there was nothing in it that would kill me. And then he told me, that when he was in the Marines, that the Tabasco sauce was a staple in the mess hall, that it was his opinion that "it was the only thing that made the military food edible." I still make those fried egg sandwiches today, but with a BIT milder Tabasco sauce.
As I recorded this story I was curious about the name of the Tabasco sauce, BUT I remembered what the bottle looked like, so I googled it and I found it instantly. The brand name is McIlhenny's (Mcilhenny) Tabasco sauce. I recognized it because it has a triangle label on it, in white, green and red.
Anyhow I went onto their company website, and lo and behold there was a history there about how the sauce was created after the Civil War and had been used by the military ever since. On one site there's even a portion of a letter from General Schwarzkopf to the company noting the famous Tabasco sauce and how he enjoys it himself.
That got me to thinking, that if this sauce went into world War II with the men, maybe it could go with the guys on this 75th commemorative jump as well. You see one of my sons who was in the Army, was in the 82nd Airborne. He's a disabled veteran but he was determined to do this jump along with some of his buddies that he served with.
So, I wrote a letter to the McIlhenny Tabasco company and asked if they would be interested in donating enough Tabasco sauce for all the men who were jumping. I figured the worst they could say was no. Anyhow, I got a letter back within a day or so, from the executive secretary of the company. Her name is Patricia Adams. And she said the company would be very happy to donate not just the sauce but the belt holders for the sauce and the miniature cookbooks that were used during WWII by the men as well.
I then found out that there were 300 men involved in this jump, (just from the United States). And I figured I better let her know just how much she's getting into here. Patricia said there was no problem, and that the company was more than willing to donate all the items. I couldn't believe it!
My next problem was trying to contact somebody from 'DAKS over Normandy' to let them know that I could get all this stuff and would they even WANT it? After doing a little research, I found out that a Mr. Moe Aguiari, is the project manager in the United States for the DAKS project, and he's in Georgia. So I made a few calls trying to track him down, and finally located a gentleman by the name of Jim Buckley who works with him in Peachtree City, Georgia. Where incidentally, one of the aircraft that will be flying with the men, is currently stored.
He seemed pretty excited about the men having this Tabasco sauce that would connect them to the men who jumped 75 years ago. So I called Patricia back and let her know that everything was good to go, but that I also needed one more favor. Would her company ship the Tabasco sauce to Peachtree City, Georgia? Once again she said there was no problem!
The other day I got a text message from Jim Buckley, telling me that a whole lot of stuff had been shipped to them in Georgia! I have a few photos of the items, but my son has assured me, that when he gets there, he will take a LOT more pictures for me.
I honor in my heart, the men who lived and died back then, who gave so much to so many, in defense of freedom and liberty. I also honor the men who jump this June6th, 2019, 75 years later, to commemorate the bravery and dedication that those soldiers gave to our country, and to those whom they liberated.
And I also want to thank McIlhenny's Tabasco company in Louisiana, for their efforts in not forgetting our military, or our veterans. And for their help to commemorate those who lay in silent graves with white crosses, both in Europe and in the United States, who fought on that terrible day in history.
PHOTOS FROM THE JUMP ...the men, the planes ...and oh yes, the hot sauce!