For those who don't know who Buck Compton was - as a young man he was a Lt in the 101st Airborne during the second World War. As an aside, later on, he was the prosecutor who put Sirhan Sirhan behind bars for the assassination of Bobby Kennedy.
As a young man he parachuted into Normandy on D-Day and into Holland as part of the ill fated Operation Market Garden. He also fought at Bastogne during the battle of the Bulge. His WW2 exploits are relatively well known, unlike those of thousands of others because they were documented in Stephen Ambrose's "Band of Brothers" which became a TV miniseries.
Be that as it may, the food in the Army of his time was notorious for being a bit rugged shall we say.
In these enlightened times building Soldiers takes special skills and the U.S. Army Soldier Fueling Initiative is under the command of one Lt. Col. Sonya Cable who wants to make sure that young soldiers eat their greens.
They have labeled all foods available in the mess as Red, Amber or Green depending on how bad they are. And the food is washed down with water from a hydration station which replaces soda machines in modern army messes.
They couldn't quite manage to take the red items off the menus, they tried but reality reared its ugly head.
"All the foods are labeled throughout the serving line so that our soldiers would be informed as to making choices related to their performance goals,” Cable said.Whatever they fed the boys back in the early 1940s, and I'm fairly sure it wasn't green salads, can't have done them too much harm, given the way they performed on the battlefield and the longevity of Buck Compton, Memory Eternal
“I had some folks say to me, ‘Well, why on earth did you even include the red ones to begin with?’ Two reasons – one, we’ve got soldiers who have racehorse metabolisms that they needed every calorie I could get into them. And by taking off the ‘red’ we just found that we couldn’t get enough calories in them.”
The second reason for including “red” foods, Cable said, was “so they could learn what contributed positively and maybe what contributed negatively. Not to say that every food is bad, it’s just how they fit into your performance goals.”