With the Memorial Day holiday that recently passed and the upcoming 75th anniversary of D-Day, it seemed like a good idea to honor the brave men and women that served in our armed forces. Some of them made the ultimate sacrifice in order to protect our freedoms. To sum up the memories of all these brave soldiers in one day is truly an impossible task. Everyday that goes by is an opportunity to stop and reflect on those who protect us and allow us the liberties of living in this beautiful country of ours. To honor those whose lives were lost, we must also honor the living soldiers that continue fighting for those freedoms we hold so dear. Here are 3 cooks who made a difference throughout wartime in US history.
Credit for the picture goes to:
Doris “Dorie” Miller
(1919 – 1943)
When it comes to heroes of war, it takes a special act of courage to be recognized as a hero of war. Many brave and selfless acts of heroism have been documented throughout US Wartime history. The story of Doris Miller really stood out. Miller enlisted as Mess Attendant, Third Class in September, 1939. His final rank before his untimely death in 1943 was Cook, Third Class. It was a particular act of heroism during the attack on Pearl Harbor that earned him the distinguished award, The Navy Cross.
“Miller had arisen at 6 a.m., and was collecting laundry when the alarm for general quarters sounded. He headed for his battle station, the antiaircraft battery magazine amidship, only to discover that torpedo damage had wrecked it, so he went on deck. Because of his physical prowess, he was assigned to carry wounded fellow Sailors to places of greater safety. Then an officer ordered him to the bridge to aid the mortally wounded Captain of the ship. He subsequently manned a 50 caliber Browning anti-aircraft machine gun until he ran out of ammunition and was ordered to abandon ship.”
“Despite having no training in operating the big guns, he bravely jumped into action. Miller later recounted: “It wasn’t hard. I just pulled the trigger and she worked fine. I had watched the others with these guns. I guess I fired her for about fifteen minutes. I think I got one of those Japanese planes. They were diving pretty close to us.””
Source quoted from:https://www.greatblackheroes.com/government/doris-miller/
Doris Miller became the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross. His act of bravery was officially recognized by the US Navy in May of 1942, when he received the award on board the aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise. Commander in Chief of the US Pacific Fleet, Chester W. Nimtz, personally presented him the award.
Miller reached the rank of Ship’s Cook, Third Class and was assigned to the USS Liscome Bay. The USS Liscome Bay was an escort carrier during Operation Galvanic which took place near the Gilbert Islands.
“During that time while cruising near Butaritari Island, a single torpedo from Japanese submarine I-175 struck the escort. The aircraft bomb magazine detonated a few moments later, sinking the warship within minutes. Listed as missing following the loss of that escort carrier, Dorie Miller was officially presumed dead 25 November 1944, a year and a day after the loss of Liscome Bay.”
Source quoted from: https://aaregistry.org/story/dorie-miller-a-naval-hero/
Defying the odds, a cook became a hero. Doris “Dorie” Miller rose to the occasion when called upon. He saved numerous lives when he manned that anti-aircraft gun. He selflessly bought his shipmates time to abandon the ship and get to safety. Now that is the way to be remembered.
Credit for the picture goes to: https://www.magicgarden.life/marti-mongiello-full-bio
Chef Martin C.J. Mongiello
(1965 – present)
If you are looking for ways to sneak healthier foods into your diet or the diets of your loved ones, look no further than Chef Martin Mongiello. Here is a chef that tricked former President Bill Clinton into eating healthier foods.(Heil, 2013)
In June of 1983, Martin Mongiello enlisted in the US Navy. It was a decision that proved to be positively life-changing. “He has the distinction of being one of the most decorated Chefs in the history of the Navy, was knighted in 2002 in Brussels, Belgium, holds several prestigious awards including a Presidential Service Badge, numerous world culinary medals, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Badge, five Navy Achievement Medals, two Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbons with Oak Leaf Clusters, three Commendation Medals and the NJ Distinguished Service Medal.”
Source quoted from: https://inglestable.com/bloggers/chef-martin-mongiello/
It came time to retire from the US Navy. Now a disabled veteran, Mongiello retired in September, 2004 at the age of 39. He served active duty for 21 years and held Senior Chief Petty Officer(SCPO) rank E-8.
Information acquired from: https://www.linkedin.com/in/martincjmongiellomba
While still enlisted, Chef Mongiello was blessed with the experience of cooking for the Clintons as the Executive Chef to the White House.(1993-1996). During the same time of his tenure as White House Executive Chef, Mongiello also managed Camp David, the country retreat for the Presidents of the United States.
During his time as the Executive Chef to the White House, Chef Mongiello created a vegetarian dish called Spicy Arkansas Chili specifically for the Clintons. The recipe is featured in a cookbook called, “Everyday Cooking with Dr. Dean Ornish.”(Ornish, 1996)
This recipe features a delicious spicy chili over a bed of rice. When combined, the rice and the spicy chili create textural appeal with each bite.
Credit for the picture goes to: https://alextimes.com/2015/08/alexandria-resident-derrick-davenport-secures-chef-of-the-year-award/
Master Chief Derrick D. Davenport
(1975 – present)
Flavor comes in all forms. Sometimes you get assigned secret ingredients in the form of rabbit and other times you get squab and frog legs. Sounds like a bummer if you don’t like to eat those things. What do you turn those ingredients into? If you’re Master Chief Derrick D. Davenport, you turn it into the American Culinary Federation’s Chef of the Year Award for 2015. This achievement made him the first military culinarian to ever receive the award.
Winning awards wasn’t all that Master Chief Davenport excelled at. He also made a name for himself training the Afghan National Army.
“Senior Chief Davenport volunteered for a 14-month Individual Augmentation as an Embedded Training Team member for Coalition Joint Task Force Phoenix V& VI in Herat, Afghanistan. During his tour he trained fifty Afghan National Army Soldiers in foodservice and was awarded “Best Dining Facility (DFAC)” in the Afghan National Army.”
Source quoted from: https://chefsroll.com/DerrickDavenport
When it comes to feeding an Army, Master Chief Davenport may as well write his own book about it. He was featured in a Parade Magazine article after winning Armed Forces Chef of the Year contest in 2013.(DiGregorio, 2013)
Master Chief Davenport also shared some of his summertime favorite recipes. Shown here is jicama salad. Jicama lends an almost fruity taste with its texture similar to a potato. When combined with the spicier arugula and the hint of the honey and lime dressing, this salad definitely dances on your taste buds.
Jicama Salad recipe courtesy of: https://parade.com/14953/parade/jicama-salad/
Next up on the summertime favorites is Jerk Chicken with Mango and Pineapple Salsa. If you’re looking for a delicious taste of the Caribbean, look no further. The charcoal grilled chicken provides a subtle spice from the habanero peppers with floral notes brought out by fresh thyme in the jerk marinade. The combination of sweet and tangy from the salsa pairs wonderfully with the jerk chicken to please your palate.
Jerk Chicken With Mango and Pineapple Salsa recipe courtesy of: https://parade.com/14952/parade/jerk-chicken-with-mango-and-pineapple-salsa/
The Jicama Salad also makes for a great accompaniment with the Jerk Chicken with Mango and Pineapple Salsa to make a whole meal.
Martin C.J. Mongiello
“Meet the Cheesecake that fooled Bill Clinton” – published in the Washington Post by Emily Heil August 21, 2013 https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/in-the-loop/wp/2013/08/21/meet-the-cheesecake-that-fooled-bill-clinton/?utm_term=.f9e489c7590f
Recipe for Spicy Arkansas Chili found in the book “Everyday Cooking with Dr. Dean Ornish” Author: Dean Ornish, M.D. Publisher: Harper Collins (January 1, 1996) https://www.amazon.com/Everyday-Cooking-Dr-Dean-Ornish/dp/0060173149
Derrick D. Davenport
“How Do You Feed an Army” – published in Parade Magazine by Sarah DiGregorio May 18, 2013. https://parade.com/14448/sarahdigregorio/how-do-you-feed-an-army/