This Week In Quartermaster History

2 - 8 December

  Quote of the Week:
        "Understand that the foundation of an army is the belly. It is necessary to procure nourishment for the soldier wherever you assemble him and wherever you wish to conduct him. This is the primary duty of a general."

Frederick the Great 
Instruction for His Generals (1747)


To read more on Subsistence History:  
Army Subsistence/Cook History Page
Nothing so affects the health, morale, and overall well-being of the soldier in the field as the supply and proper preparation of FOOD. Long before Napoleon talked of an Army marching on its stomach, the 14th century writer Sir John Hawkwood noted that, "Few victories are won on an empty belly."

Prior to the 20th century the American soldier was given a basic field ration, but usually had to prepare it himself. That situation improved in 1905 with the opening of the first Cooks and Bakers School at Fort Riley, Kansas. A decade later, the divisions that marched off to fight in Europe in World War I took with them the first well-trained food service specialists.

In 1920, the Quartermaster Corps opened a new Subsistence School in Chicago, Illinois, to train officers, warrant officers, civilians, and senior NCOs in all aspects of Army food service. Hundreds graduated before the program ended in the 1930s.

Then came World War II, and a desperate need for personnel who understood subsistence and food service. On 4 December 1944 the Quartermaster Subsistence School was reopened in Chicago, with a 3-month course to train subsistence officers for service around the world.

The old Chicago School continued operation until 1959, when subsistence and food service training was finally moved to Fort Lee, Virginia, where it exists today as the Army Center of Excellence, Subsistence (ACES).


Compiled by the
U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps Historian
Fort Lee, Virginia

Quartermaster Museum

QM History This Week QM History Page

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