Very few things truly connect every troop from every era in the military quite like a cup of coffee. From the gritty First Sergeant who drinks it black to the fresh Lieutenant who likes a bit of coffee with their sugar, everybody's veins in the military are filled with coffee.
Coffee has been a staple of the American military ever since the first Revolutionary patriot signed up to throw the tea into Boston Harbor — fueled entirely for their hatred of tea. Our love of java necessitated the creation of instant coffee in the Civil War, and we've been drinking it ever since.
Here are 6 reasons why coffee truly is the lifeblood of the military.
6. Everyone meets at the coffee pot
Coffee is the great equalizer. Everyone, from privates to colonels, meets to grab their morning (or afternoon, or evening) cup of Joe.
When the pot is finished, refilling it is one of the few tasks that isn't assigned to the lowest ranks, but rather to whoever drank the last cup.
The trick is to always leave at least one cup and wait until someone else springs the trap. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alexander P. Akre)
5. We get very little sleep
To the surprise of absolutely no one, troops rarely get eight hours of sleep.
The higher the rank of a troop, the less they're allowed to show sleepiness. Coffee helps mask that exhaustion.
Coffee. For when it's too early to soldier. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Ken Scar)
4. Something warm in the field is nice
In combat arms units especially, you're seen as weak if you can't endure the elements.
Grab another layer of clothes? Weakness. Throw on a fleece jacket? Weakness. Grab a warm cup of coffee? Carry on, soldier.
So good you'll forget you're freezing your ass off. (Photo by Lt. Col. John Hall)
3. It's a reminder of back home
There isn't much time, space, or ability to pine for life back home.
Troops take great care when they prepare a pot of coffee. They can skimp on many necessities of life but will always spend the big bucks to get the "good stuff" from their civilian life.
Did you know that, statistically speaking, instant coffee is one of the most requested care-package items from troops? (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Justyn M. Freeman)
2. It's a little break from reality
The military is a very high-speed piece of machinery. You'll run from point A to point B, over to C, back to B, asked why you aren't at D, and get there only to realize everyone is at C — and so on until your brain is fried.
At least for those brief moments, when you're drinking a cup of coffee, you can relax.
Command Sergeant Majors only smile when they're watching privates get smoked or when they have a cup of coffee in their hands. (Photo by Army Master Sgt. Dave Thompson, 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) Public Affairs)
1. It just tastes good
There're countless ways to stay warm, awake, and hydrated. Coffee isn't the only option.
The fact of the matter is, we just love the taste — regardless of how we make it.
A cup of Green Beans Coffee while deployed will always taste better than any stateside cup from chain coffee houses. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sandra Welch)