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Memorial Day: The Fine Beverages of the 82nd Airborne

Beverage News
05.25.2009
Brian Kropf in Iraq

SPC Brian Kropf

Mutineer Magazine supports our troops, and raises a glass to anyone out there with family serving in the military past or present. Your loved ones’ service is greatly appreciated. Here is the entire article as published in the upcoming issue of Mutineer Magazine exploring the fine beverages most missed by the 82nd Airborne out of Ft. Bragg, North Carolina while deployed overseas:

The Paratroopers of Alpha Company of the 2nd battalion 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment are no strangers to hard work or enjoying their favorite fine beverage of choice, which is the same as it has been for over 90 years. The 2-325AIR is part of the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, NC., which has been involved with nearly every conflict of the last century from World War I and II, to the Dominican Republic, to Grenada and Haiti, to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and with multiple tours in Iraq, I’d say it’s a safe bet to say that there isn’t a rock in that country we haven’t looked under.

With these responsibilities that we’ve sworn ourselves to, we are forced to leave many things behind. Some of those things are the very things that hold us together, like our family and friends, while some of those things might just be the simple pleasures in life that we take for granted like sleeping in your own bed, being able to get away from 130-degree heat, or just being able to sit down and do absolutely, positively nothing. For a lot of us, there is something else commonly on this list: fine beverages.

General Order Number 1 is a list of prohibited activities for military personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and of the things on that list that hits us the hardest is the banning of consuming alcoholic beverages. Our Battalion’s last tour was 15 months long with a two-week mid-tour leave somewhere in the middle, and other than those two weeks, we were alcohol free. With this in mind and Independence Day coming soon, I asked some of the soldiers in our Company what fine beverages they missed while deployed the most and why:

Name & Rank: 1st Lieutenant Ted Grant
Hometown: Chatham, NJ
Service: Four years / One tour

“Sam Adam’s Summer Ale because it reminds me of good times.”

Name & Rank: Specialist Adam Swinehart
Hometown: Newark, OH
Service: Three years / One tour

“While stationed in Italy for my first duty station, I was able to experience a lot of great drinks. The one I missed the most was Paulaner. My first experience with Paulaner was at Oktoberfest 2006 in Munich, Germany. The wild environment, hot women, and awesome atmosphere made it all the better. Luckily, I was able to go back to Oktoberfest again in 2008.”

Name & Rank: Sgt. Ryan Craig
Hometown: Thornton, CO
Service: Four years / One tour

“I really missed Coors Light and Jack Daniel’s while on tour. I went to college in Golden, Colorado where Coors Brewery is and I got to enjoy the benefits that entailed. On deployment I could have really used a few and a strong glass of Jack on the rocks. When I feel like spending a little more money, (especially after payday), I enjoy some Maker’s Mark and Yuengling.”

Name & Rank: Staff Sgt. Joshua Snodgrass
Hometown: Modesto, CA
Service: Five years / Three tours

“Samuel Adam’s and Pabst Blue Ribbon … It’s beer! I enjoy Sam Adam’s with my dinner and love their seasonal brews. In my opinion it’s the best American brewed beer ever! PBR … it’s cheap, it’s good on tap, and if it was good enough for the boys in WWII, it’s good enough for me! I also missed drinking Corona on those sweltering hot days in the summer time.”

Name & Rank: Specialist Alex Raske
Hometown: Homewood, IL
Service: Three years / One tour

“Jack Daniels Single Barrel and Bud Light; more so the Jack Daniel’s. I always enjoyed the smooth and rich flavor followed by a slow buzz. Jack Daniel’s has a long standing history with Paratroopers and its generations. This one’s no different.”

Name & Rank: Sgt. Joshua Baines
Hometown: Kissimmee, FL
Service: Four years / Two tours

“I think everyone over there wanted a cold beer. My buddy Randy and I would talk about building a kegerator as soon as we got back. I think I wanted a Stella Artois or Newcastle the most while I was deployed. While on rooftop guard though, I think nothing would have chased the sun away like a mojito.”

Name & Rank: First Sgt. Kenneth Adams
Hometown: Wadley, AL
Service: Fifteen years / Three tours

“Peach moonshine. This drink represents fellowship with people I care for, relaxing by fires and story telling.”

Name & Rank: Specialist Brian Kropf
Hometown: Puyallup, WA
Service: Three years / One tour

As for me, all I wanted was a cold beer and a medium-rare ribeye, which I spent many nights thinking about. To make it even worse, the chow halls we had in Iraq were all stocked full of non-alcoholic beers like Coors Non-Alcoholic, St. Pauli Girl NA, etc., what we liked to call “near-beer.” They are the Decepticons of the beer world; it looks like beer, it may even smell like beer, but it is in no way beer or anything close to it. And having contests of who can drink a 24 pack? Trust me, don’t try it.

Flying home for mid-tour leave from Iraq (and turning 21 just two months prior), I was just 18 short hours away from having that beer I had been thinking about for the last seven months. My flight would take me from Iraq to Kuwait to Scotland and then to Dallas where we would get on a civilian airliner and I’d be just one short flight away from being home in Washington State. With several Soldiers being in uniform on the flgiht and the pilot knowing that DFW Airport is one of two hubs for returning Soldiers from overseas, he recognized us for our service, thanked us, and bought us all a drink of our choice. Due to lack of better options, I chose a can of Miller Light. Not only was it my first beer being back from Iraq, but it was also my first alcoholic beverage while being of legal age. It was an experience I won’t forget and I thank him for that.

Unfortunately, my thirst for beer would only become greater after meeting Beer Mutineer JJ Bagely and hanging out at the Mutineer Headquarters in West Hollywood, specifically with belgian beers such as Unibroue Maudite and Chimay Trappist Ales. Even more unfortunately, in two short weeks I’d be on a plane back to iraq for eight more months and yet again I’d be saying goodbye to beer. With this in mind, I drank approximately an eight months supply of beer in those two weeks.

Additionally, there are a few things I wish to say about Alpha Company’s First Sergeant Adams. He’s a salty old dog with 15 years in the Army and when he’s not busy turkey hunting, his favorite thing to do is conduct airborne operations. First Sergeant Adams leads from the front and always puts the well-being of his men before his own, and because of this, we have bestowed the incredibly prestigious honor of Official First Sergeant of Mutineer Magazine unto him.



Comments

  1. Jim | Monday, May 25, 2009

    Hooah. Go troops. Go Brian.


  2. Ron | Monday, May 25, 2009

    This strikes so close to home, it’s not even funny. What the hell ever happened to beer rations? Prost!


  3. Johnny R. | Tuesday, June 2, 2009

    Let’s get these guys some beer!


  4. Mutineer Beer Editor Brian Kropf Headed to Haiti, Checks In Via Ustream | Mutineer Magazine | Monday, January 18, 2010

    […] Beer Editor Brian Kropf is headed to Haiti with the Army’s 82nd Airborne to help out with relief efforts. He recorded this today at the airfield preparing to deploy. […]



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