If the timing was right, sometimes the cooks managed to get a good nap between lunch and dinner. Sumo’s Italian meat sauce was finished. The spaghetti noodles would be cooked at the last minute, and the garlic bread was grilled to order as the Marines came through the chow line.
Naps (for the cooks) were essential. A short afternoon “siesta” gave us a second wind from the 15-hour daily grind. There were no days off.
After an hour-long nap, Sumo and I got up at 1500 and put the final touches on the Italian night dinner. It was always a popular meal, and Reb’s brownies hit the sweet spot for dessert. The current group of mess men were motivated, and they cleaned up quickly. Reb always supervised the final scrub down, and his night custodian was trained to finish the mopping and set up for breakfast. Coffee and snacks for the guard was Reb’s first priority at night.
Just before midnight a mortar came out of the tube, THUNK! Subconsciously, I raced to my post as the round arced toward us. I was out of the hooch and in the OP (from a sound sleep) in about 10 seconds, and Reb was right behind me. SsshKaboom . . . The explosion was close, and we waited for more rounds to be fired. None came so we laid low until the Gunny announced “CLEAR” over the wired field phone. Reb went back to work in the bakery, and I hunkered down in the OP until 0400. Three hours of sleep for the night was better than none.