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Early Chow
by Lionel E. Deimel

While sorting through yearsí worth of papers today, I happened into two of the few documents saved from my career as an Army bandsman. These documents are reproduced verbatim below from my yellow onionskin carbon copies. These artifacts say a lot about life in an Army band, and they donít require much introduction. I will say that bandsman did not usually socialize with soldiers in other units, and they didnít even have much on-the-job contact with non-bandsman other than in the mess hall. We thought of ourselves first as musicians, rather than soldiers. Other soldiers were often jealous of what they saw as cushy jobs.

ó LED, 5/28/2000

 

STATEMENT FROM SP4 DEIMEL
REF EARLY CHOW 25 APR 70

At about 1055 on 25 Apr 70, Sp4 Weatherby came into the CQ room, where I was on duty. As the band had an 1145 roll call for a commitment that day, bandsmen were to have early chow. Sp4 Weatherby reported that he had been told by mess hall personnel that the band was to be served between 1100 and 1115. Approximately 10 minutes later, Sp4 Berg and I reported to the mess hall for chow, but we were told that the meal was still being set up and that we should return in "10 or 15 minutes." We did so at about 1120. I told the head count we were from the band and asked if we could have chow at that time. (A number of people, apparently mostly KP's, were then being served.) I was told we could, signed the meal roster, and turned to enter the mess hall. My way was barred, however, by someone I assume was a cook, who said (approximately), "I been feedin' the band for the past 15 minutes, and I ain't gonna feed the band no mo'." After a brief exchange, I reported to the band orderly room, where I found Sfc. Drummond, with whom I returned to the mess hall. After seeking the mess sergeant unsuccessfully, Sfc. Drummond, accompanied by Sp4 Berg and me, returned to the band area. Sfc. Drummond said that I would probably have to wait for 1Sgt. McKelvey to settle the controversy. By this time, there was not enough time to eat and prepare for the commitment. Realizing that the refusal of the mess hall personnel to serve me early chow meant that I would not be served at all, and reasoning that a meal roster with my name on it for a meal I did not receive was a falsified document, I informed Sfc. Drummond of my intention to scratch my name from the roster and then did so.

SUBMITTED:

[signature]

Sp4 Lionel E. Deimel, Jr.
[SSAN]
264th Army Band
APO San Francisco 96558

 

ADDITIONAL STATEMENT FROM SP4 DEIMEL
REF EARLY CHOW 25 APR 70

I would like to make the following statement for the record as an addendum to my explanation of why I scratched my name from a meal roster on 25 Apr 70:

As I was returning to the band area, I was accosted by the person who had earlier barred me from entering the mess hall. He had apparently learned of my action and was obviously very angry. Not wishing to engage in useless argument, I informed him he would have to approach me through my unit. I then proceeded to the band orderly room. A few minutes later, a sergeant first class from the mess hall entered the office and informed Sfc. Drummond that he wanted a statement from me explaining why I had deleted my name from the meal roster. That statement has, of course, been rendered. When 1Sgt. McKelvey arrived, the situation was explained to him, and he had a conversation with the mess hall personnel to which I was not a party. He later told me that I would be served late chow after the commitment.

About 1345, I reported for my late meal. As I was given my plate, I asked if I did not have to sign a meal roster. I was told to sit down and not worry about it for the moment. I took this to mean the roster would be brought to me for my signature if necessary. When I had finished, I again asked if I should not sign a meal roster. I was told the roster had been completed and totaled and that I should not worry about it. I then left the mess hall.

SUBMITTED:

[signature]

Sp4 Lionel E. Deimel, Jr.
[SSAN]
264th Army Band
APO San Francisco 96558

 

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