Photo: Alan Graham 1958
THE MESS HALL
In the distance is the mess hall, busiest building in the camp. There are two buildings joined, the one on the right being the dining area. Hidden by the Fire Department building is the entrance to the tiny Officer's Mess. The main entry was on the opposite, south side, probably to protect the long lines of men from the frigid north wind in winter. Water for the mess hall was trucked in daily from Carrizozo and pumped into several large railroad tanker cars mounted high on the hill to the right. In the winter the water would freeze. Everything was prepared from scratch and most meals were delicious. I especially liked the mess hall at breakfast, the smell of steaming coffee and toast and eggs and SOS permeated the room. The room on the left probably contained additional stoves and ovens as well as dishwashing facilities. Freshly baked yeast rolls were often served and they smelled heavenly. Bread was trucked up from a military bakery at Ft. Bliss and it was terrible, unless you covered it with steaming hot ladles of SOS.
The early mess used gasoline fired field stoves and the powdered eggs that were being scrambled absorbed the fumes of the gasoline. Not good. I think it was converted to a butane or propane system later. The mess hall also served as a place for parties. There was also a down range mess hall to feed the troops the noon meal. Food was prepared here and trucked to the down range mess, which was only a couple of large admin. type tents with picnic tables and benches. The down range mess burned to the ground when a Nike booster set the surrounding grass afire. The fire truck sent to stop the blaze was also consumed by it.