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Coca-Cola Stories: Military

By:  Conversations Staff Jan 1, 2012
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Coca-Cola Stories - Military

Coca-Cola touches the lives of millions of people each and every day. From special occasions to exceptional moments in everyday life, Coca-Cola is there. The brand has become a special part of people's lives.

Over the years, thousands of people have sent us personal stories about how Coca-Cola has affected their lives. Whether it is a favorite childhood memory, a reminder of family gatherings, or a recollection of good times with friends, Coca-Cola has touched the lives of people all over the world.

Here are some of the stories that Coca-Cola fans have shared with us over the years.

  • While stationed in Korea in 1980-81, we went into the field often and missed the creature comforts. I’ll never forget one hot day running communications wire when a local lady hiked up the "hill" to sell Coke -- ice-cold Coke. We gave her a ride down the road and when we handed her the pack she was carrying, we could barely lift it. That Coke sure was good. I've had Coke all over the world, but that one Coke was the best!

  • It was my last day in Navy boot camp and I was ready to get out. Once I hit the airport, the first place I went was a pizza joint. I didn’t care about pizza; I was DYING to get a Coke. I got up to the counter only to realize I had packed my money in my suitcase and not my carry-on! I almost started to cry, when the man behind me offered to buy me not only a large Coke, but my lunch also. I can honestly say I've never had a better tasting Coke in my life, and I don’t think I ever will.

  • I started working for Coca-Cola in Minneapolis in 1943, and then was drafted into the Army and served on Luzon [Philippines]. Each Christmas the Minneapolis plant would send me two 6.5-ounce bottles of Coca-Cola. Christmas 1944, I drank one of those bottles and saved the other to celebrate war's end. Someone stole that second bottle, but the war ended anyhow. Thanks, Coca-Cola!

  • My husband tells the story of being a young (24-year-old) Army chaplain in Vietnam in the late 1960s. He was flying in a helicopter when one of the blades was shot and they had to make an emergency landing. It was eerily silent as they waited for help to arrive. Suddenly came a woman selling bananas and guess what... Coca-Cola! Who would have believed that in the middle of "nowhere" it would be bottles of Coca-Cola that would be the universal symbol for people who did not speak the same language otherwise!

  • I am a United States Sailor on board the U.S.S. JFK and I am returning from a six month deployment from the Persian Gulf. I just wanted to let The Coca-Cola Company know how much your soda got me through each day. Every morning on my way to work I would stop by the cafeteria and pick up three cans of Coke from the all famous vending machine. I would bring those with me to work and put in my refrigerator. Looking forward to drinking each one, starting in the morning, then afternoon and evening. Seriously, drinking each one of those Cokes was so satisfying it actually gave me something to look forward to. Again thank you for doing what you do and helping me get through a rather brutal six months out to sea away from home.

  • New Year's Eve 2003: I was in the Navy, stationed on a patrol craft speeding from somewhere in the Persian Gulf to Kuwait for emergency repairs. After a few hours of rapid transit, the Captain called for all hands to man the deck in preparation to moor. As we eased the boat alongside the pier and tossed the mooring lines to fasten the ship, my watch beeped and caught my attention. It was midnight! The Captain got on the loudspeaker and said, "Happy New Year!" as we continued to struggle with the mooring lines. When it was all over, my friend brought out two cans of Coke. We sat down, toasted and celebrated the New Year! It was by far the most unique New Year's celebration I've ever had!

  • A month may not seem like a long time, but when you’re at war and haven’t had a Coke in that long it seems like forever. In Baghdad while sitting at a checkpoint, my Executive Officer comes out to us and says, "Look what some locals brought us." Lo and behold a Coke. I think the rest of the day was perfect.

  • I graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in May 2000. While there, I would have two or three glasses of Coke every day, especially after a long day of classes, after a hard lacrosse practice or after two hours on the drill field. I love Coke. I honestly would never have made it through Annapolis without it. Now I am an Ensign about to start flight training to be a Navy pilot. Thank God they have Coke on ships! I wonder if they will let me bring it in my jet?

  • While stationed in Korea in 1985, I was flying a helicopter for the U.S. Army. On one of our missions, in a remote part of South Korea, we landed to locate some allied forces personnel that we were to work with. We were far from any village. We had shut down the aircraft and had been there only about 10 minutes when a Korean woman accompanied by two small children brought us each an ice-cold Coke. Out of the blue, seemingly out of nowhere, came the familiar bottle with the refreshing taste. Coke is indeed everywhere!

  • In December 1995 while awaiting a bridge to be completed in Bosnia-Herzegovina, my U.S. Army unit benefited from an amazing act of corporate charity. There in the cold winter on the banks of Croatia, a local Coca-Cola bottler sent a truckload of product for us to enjoy. To this day, I'll always remember the smiles of my soldiers as they carried off the bright red cans back to their tents -- truly a unique pause during the holidays in a time of uncertainty.

  • In 1956, I was young pilot on USS Forestal stopped in south England. I encountered a small group of visitors on tour of ship, and I gave them a Coke. One of the group, an elderly Englishman, took a drink and exclaimed, "The ingenuity of you Yanks - to serve it over ice."

  • I'm an Airborne Ranger and I just got back from Afghanistan for the second time about a month and a half ago. On September 11, 2002, I was in a village in N. Afghanistan. To get to this village, I had to walk another two miles nearly vertical -- some places even donkeys couldn't get to. This was way in the mountains. After clearing the village, the town brought us Coca-Cola to refresh us. It felt like a taste of home.

  • My father was in the Navy based out of Subic Bay in the Philippines, where he met my mother, who was serving Coca-Cola at a stand. They have been married for almost 40 years now!

  • In September 1968, I left Long Beach, CA, for service in Vietnam with the U.S. Army. Like most of us, leaving home for military service was the first time to leave our hometowns for any length of time. Also, like most, it was a somewhat devastating experience. I wasn't even off the TARMAC when I was already homesick. Frankly, I felt pretty certain nothing would ever be the same. All of my familiar touchstones were now a part of my past ... Blair Field, Belmont Shore, Jordan High, Ed's Liquor on the corner -- all gone -- maybe forever. Our military transport landed at the airbase at 10 at night. The view coming off the plane could not have been more alien if we'd landed on Mars. The humidity was overpowering, the aroma of diesel fuel everywhere -- I was lost! And then, someone offered me a Coke! It was home sweet home ...

  • After joining the Army in Chicago, we boarded a train for basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Between Chicago and Kentucky, it got lonely on that old train and it seemed that thirst came upon me like a ghost in the night. I remember when we arrived in Kentucky, we were allowed to take a short break. I was relieved and refreshed to see the Coke machines in the train depot. Somehow that old ghost of loneliness just disappeared.

  • Vietnam 1967: The one thing I wanted after a patrol during one bad day was a Coke, which I thought would be impossible. But when we got back to base camp, near the Cambodian border, a great helicopter pilot had brought our mail and a Coke for our whole recon platoon!! It was the best tasting Coke of my whole life!!

  • During WWII, my grandfather was stationed at Fort Stewart in Savannah, GA. On Friday nights, a bus would bring in all the single young girls from the small towns surrounding Savannah. Well, my grandmother lived in Vidalia, GA, and would come to Savannah on Friday nights for the dance that Fort Stewart put on for the soldiers. It was at one of these dances that my grandfather asked my grandmother to come share a Coke with him, because he could not dance. After that one Coke, my grandfather was sent to Europe for the war. My grandmother wrote to him every week, and when he came home they got married. I am here today because two people fell in love over a shared Coke.

  • I've served in the Army for 30 years ... peace and war ... around the world and when things were at their worst in jungle or desert, Coke brought me home to family and memories. Coke made a difference!! It's America in a bottle.

  • In 1970 I was stationed on a Navy Ship U.S.S. Kitty Hawk in Vietnam. We hauled 10,000 cases of Coke on board by hand. I was one of the lucky men who had this privilege. We hand carried each case of canned Coke down six flights of stairs on the ship every other week. There were 5,000 men stationed on the Kitty Hawk and everyone looked forward to the "Coke Run." One run took 18 hours! Liberty and a refreshing Coke were our rewards for doing this.

  • I've been in the U.S. Army for 18 years. I remember on my first tour in Korea it was freezing cold and we were out training in the Korean countryside. We had been there for 14 days in rain and cold, and all I could think of was a little hope for something from home. When out of nowhere comes a Korean woman with a basket full of military rations -- and at the very bottom were three bottles of Coca-Coca. I truly knew then that there was a God! Thank you so much for being there for all U.S. troops.

  • In October 1973, during the Yom Kippur War, a small group of Canadians was on a fact-finding mission and wound up in Syria. It was a very hot, uncomfortable day, and we were all very tired and very thirsty. We stopped by the roadside for a lunch of army rations. One of our group suddenly cried out, "What I wouldn't give for a Coke now!" As he said it, an Army vehicle pulled up and an Israeli soldier jumped out and said, "Anybody care for a cold Coke?" He sure made our day! Max Shecter -- Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  • I remember when I was in Korea we used to play Distance. Under every Coca-Cola bottle was a state and the one of us with the farthest distance from our home town was the winner. Great time, great Coke. 

  • My father was (prior to retirement) an officer in the Army. My family was assigned to W. Germany for 11 years and Saudi Arabia for four years (1984-88). At that time, Coke was banned in the Kingdom. Therefore, every trip we went on, we "smuggled" it in our suitcases - as my entire family loved Coke and did whatever it took to get it! Some were confiscated when they opened bags, so we put them in shoes and in "dirty laundry!" Coke is it, whatever it takes!

  • In 1972 while attending a USAF technical school at Goodfellow AFB, TX, most of the students would buy a bottle of Coca-Cola to see if they could find the name of their home town on the bottom. The name had been part of the bottle mold. We would then pour a bag of peanuts into the bottle as a snack to hold us over until we could get to the chow hall for lunch.

  • My Coca-Cola story is from Feb. 26, 1991. I was a U.S. Marine in the Persian Gulf. My unit was heading back south from Kuwait City. We had stopped for a few minutes to rest. A lone vehicle was coming our way. A Marine came out and tossed cases of Coke and diet Coke to us. It was like a dream come true. It was the best diet Coke I had ever had.

  • As an officer in the military (U.S. Army), I have had the opportunity to travel to 17 (+) countries worldwide. In each country from Belgium to Rwanda, Coca-Cola is there. From the capital city to the smallest village in central Africa, even in the Sahara Desert, Coke was there. It is like a friend or a piece of "home" that puts a smile on your face when deployed far from home on difficult missions! "Have a Coke and a Smile" is not just a jingle; it is the truth! Coke has bridged the gap of culture. I have seen it place a smile on a child who suffers as a refugee in war-torn Africa and Eastern Europe. This is a blessing for those who serve to ease suffering.

Do you have a personal story? Tell us how Coca-Cola has played a part in your life and it may be included on Coca-Cola Journey. Share it here!