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'Smoking' Christmas Menu

  • Published
  • By "Smoking" Christmas Menu
  • Base Historian
This weekend I attended my first official Air Force Christmas party. The Wing Staff Agencies had a nice evening with hors d'ovres and a special presentation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" in downtown Fayetteville. The food was good, the company was better and the play was great. I thought it was a wonderful way to spend time with people I normally only see at work.

I did wonder however, what other units were doing for their parties. I am sure there are many different renditions of the "official" holiday office party taking place all over Pope this time of year. As usual I began thinking about what has gone on before on Pope and remembered there was a copy of a 1938 Christmas menu from Pope in the archives. I brought the menu out of storage today and looked at it once more to marvel at how personable it was.

The small pamphlet was titled "Air Corps Troops, Pope Field, Fort Bragg, N.C." and displayed a few photos on the front cover. A picture of Building 306 with a parachute over it, a few aircrafts, a balloon and balloon hangar, as well as the checkerboard aircraft hangars all grace the cover. Inside is a number of different types of information. There are personnel rosters from the 2nd Balloon Squadron, the 16th Observation Squadron and a roster of personnel attached from the 2nd Weather Squadron at Langley Field, Virginia. There are 243 names listed and one seemed pretty interesting. Clyde Womack's name listed under Privates First Class made me wonder if he might be connected with the Ft. Bragg hospital. After a bit of research I could find no connection. The hospital was named after Bryant Homer Womack who earned a posthumous Medal of Honor during the Korean War. Clyde Womack was not an immediate family member but some more remote connection may exist.

There are brief histories of both units in the pamphlet. The 2nd BS was originally organized Sept. 12, 1917 arrived in Europe during World War I on Dec. 26, 1917,
and was later sent to Ft. Bragg May 20, 1930. The 16th Observation Squadron was originally organized Jan. 16, 1917 and arrived in Europe on Dec. 25, 1917. They were activated at Pope Field, Fort Bragg, N.C. June 1, 1937. Spending their holiday on the way to war could not have been fun.

The menu contains numerous songs, jokes and warnings. There is a safety message as well in the form of a short poem. It is called "Epitaph" and reads: "With Violet cuddling in his arms, He drove a Ford - poor silly; Where he once held a violet, Now he holds a lily."

The back cover has more interesting photos including the runway at Pope. But, the most interesting thing I found was the Christmas dinner menu itself. The list includes traditional holiday fare including oyster soup, ham, turkey and Waldorf salad, to name a few. Near the bottom of the list are two entries that create a stark difference between 1938 and present day parties. It seems that Muriel Senator Cigars and Assorted Cigarettes were an integral part of this holiday celebration.

If you would like to see the entire menu, I have uploaded it to the Historian EIM Web site and will be posted as a photo on pope. Look for the link under 43rd AW, WSA, go to Pictures then Documents. I will try to include scanned versions of any documents I refer to in future articles at this location, so add it to your favorites.