Rock Soup

Soon after graduating from the USAF pilot training program, I had orders to attend 4 schools en-route to my permanent base where I had been assigned to fly the A7D Corsair 2.  The only single seat aircraft in the Tactical Air Command, I had my chest bursting with pride.  I would be a single seat attack fighter pilot.  Wow.

But, I had to endure 7 months of training.  First stop was water survival school in the warm waters off the coast of Miami, Florida.  It was designed to prove you could get out from under a parachute while in the ocean, climb into a raft and successfully get hoisted aboard a water rescue helicopter.  Great fun.

Next stop was winter land survival.  It was brutal.  I am ashamed to say now, after watching so many US Navy Seal movies, that what I thought then was brutal was more like a cake walk.  Still, I managed to lose about 20 pounds of baby fat in less than 10 days.  We were dropped off as survivors in a very cold , mountainous region of Washington State and were ordered to evade capture.  Simulating leaving a single seat fighter meant that we didn’t have much in the way of food, water or shelter.

I will never forget how hungry I became while slopping around in the snow drifts and shivering through the long cold nights.  One memorable evening, we were reunited with a group of other evaders in a make shift guerrilla camp environment and allowed to make a fire.  Having nothing to eat, we were told to boil some water in a camp pot and add a large rock.  I am not sure what else we found in the forest to add.  But, I must say, nothing I have ever eaten was quite as magnificent as that hot soup cooked over a campfire.

Hopefully, the soups you fix will give you as much pleasure as that rock soup.

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