The Troops Need More Coke


In this fun letter of note, the 55th Infantry Exchange at Camp MacArthur in Waco, Texas informs the Coca Cola [sic] Bottling Works about a desperate problem: the troops need more Coke. The amusingly awkward request requests a tenfold (minimum) increase in the Coke supply, and threatens to switch to an alternate beverage if such supplies are not made available. Here's the meat of the letter (emphasis added):

Gentlemen: It is desired to bring to your attention the shortage of Coca Cola throughout this Army Camp, and particularly this Regimental Canteen. The purpose of this communication is to remind you that the hot weather is here and that Coca Cola is one of the best drinks to fight the Hot Weather with and we Soldiers dislike to admit defeat, but to win our struggles we must have the material to work with, the things to contest our enemy with, must be at hand, and unless we have Coca Cola we will have to admit defeat at the hands of Enemy Heat & Thirst. The Army has been schooled to like and want Coca Cola because Coca Cola is the wholesome thirst quenching drink and this Exchange, representing Four Thousand Coca Cola Drinkers, begs that our supply be multiplied by ten and even more if possible. So great is the need of Coca Cola at our Exchange at the present writing may be easily understood by the many calls for this drink that must be met with a substitute, and consequently a dissatisfied customer. It is the experince of the Management of this Exchange that many users of a certain article may be taught to like a substitute, and unless you can assure us that our demands may be met, it will be our task to introduce a substitute here that will be the forerunner of a strong competitor of Coca Cola. We do not want to do this, we want more Coca Cola, and more Coca Cola will bring us more satisfied customers, and their health will not be imperiled.

Read the rest from Letters of Note, and check out the original document in The National Archives. It's unclear whether the request was honored; any WWI historians want to fill us in?

For further military request letter humor, check out the true story of the USS Skipjack's request for additional toilet paper (and related threats to use other paper in its stead), referred to in my 2008 opus How to Use Toilet Paper.

(Image courtesy of The National Archives.)