By Major Van Harl USAF Ret
Wisconsin –-(Ammoland.com)- My family is from Iowa, so until my father, the Navy Master Chief, was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia in 1963, I had never heard of Moon Pies.
My mother packed my lunch for school each day and every so often there was a Moon Pie in my bag. She would buy them at the Navy commissary.
You have to remember in the 1960’s mothers still baked and most of the time there were homemade cookies in my lunch. A store-bought Moon Pie was a real treat, but I was hooked.
We left Virginia for Scotland and no more Moon Pies.
We only had a very small Navy commissary to shop in, at Holy Loch, Scotland and the Yankee supply officers did not know what a Moon Pie was. Two years later when the Navy returned us to Virginia the first thing I wanted was an American cheeseburger, an RC cola and a Moon Pie.
Scouting was a big part of my life. I learned how to make s’mores at a very early age. You took graham crackers, stuck marshmallow and chocolate in between and heated them over a camp fire.
The Girl Scouts had come up with this recipe in 1927, but apparently they had borrowed it from the Chattanooga Bakery, of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
A s’more is basically a Moon Pie made in-side out. The Chattanooga Bakery back in 1917 put marshmallow between graham crackers and coated it with chocolate and the Moon Pie was born. It was a Southern thing and Moon Pies were not found outside of Dixie. Not officially that is.
During WW II folks would send packages to their deployed family members, fighting in the war. The big problem was sending them to the Pacific theater. In the heat a Marine from Mississippi would have an interesting time trying to eat his Moon Pies, on the sandy beaches of Guadal Canal. But a Moon Pie is a southern delight and I would imagine that Marine was able to adapt, overcome and improvise, to enjoy his treat from home.
In 1950 Big Bill Lister sang a song about RC Cola and a Moon Pie. There was really no connection between the two items, except for perhaps the size. Moon Pies were big and RC Cola was sold in larger size bottles, than its soft drink competitors, so an RC Cola and a Moon Pie was a good buy during the depression of the 1930s.
In 1983 I was stationed in Osan, Korea and the Air Force commissary did not carry Moon Pies, again that Yankee supply officer thing. I was able to get a couple of shipments of Moon Pies sent to me from home.
There was no e-mail shopping in those days (www.MoonPie.com). I could not just go on-line and order a case of Moon Pies sent to Korea.
You can now buy Moon Pies outside of the South. Most major grocery stores carry them and if not, refer to the above web site. The American G.I. still loves Moon Pies, even with all the new modern snack foods that are out there. The West Liberty, Kentucky Kiwanis sent a shipment of Moon Pies and RC Colas to Eastern, Kentucky troops deployed in “harms way” in the Gulf.
On a sad note, in January 2003 two Marine helicopters crashed in Texas on a reconnaissance mission of the US border and four aircrew members were killed. Captain David C. Cross from Virginia was one of those pilots lost. Military pilots all have call signs they use when flying to identify themselves to their fellow pilots. For a good-old southern boy, Captain Cross’ call sign was “Moon Pie.” He took his love for that little chocolate sandwich with him to war.
The next time you have a Moon Pie, think of our troops serving our Nation, both in the past and in the present. With the emphasis on health and proper eating habits, sometimes the conspicuous consumption of a very large chocolate cookie can bring unwanted stares of disapproval. That is why I refer to my Moon Pies in some circles as TEBs, Tennessee Energy Bars.
Whether you are serving in the Gulf, Afghanistan, Alaska or Korea, a troop needs energy to meet the rigors of military life in the field. A Tennessee Energy Bar goes a long way to support our deployed men and women. Send some Moon Pies to your military loved one. The Colonel and I have tried to take glutton out of our diet and cut out about 90% of the wheat we used to eat, so of course no Moon Pies.
I had a rough day at the Navy hospital this week, being examined for a number of old person issues. I stopped to fill up the car on the way home and there was a box of TEBs sitting on the shelf of the store. To hell with the wheat, I had Moon Pie therapy, and it was great and I felt no guilt.
Major Van Harl USAF Ret.
About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School. A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI. His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training. He believes “evil hates organization.” firstname.lastname@example.org