Service: Veteran Stories of Hunger and War

Service: Veteran Stories of Hunger and War

How do our food stories change during wartime? Each episode follows a veteran or wartime volunteer from their home in the United States through their overseas deployment and back again. We hear firsthand where they fought, who they fed, how they ate, and what tastes they missed most while away at war. From World War II through today, soldiers and civilians come together at the table to remember, reflect, and show respect. Hosted by Jacqueline Raposo.


October 29, 2019 1 min

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SERVICE shares first-hand accounts of veteran war stories, and so episodes contain reenactments of warfare and relay scenarios of death. This message is for our veterans, active service members, and others who might be particularly affected by the sounds and stories on SERVICE, so to be best prepared before listening. Thank you.

Find more at, where you can share your stories and message our team with your thou...

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On this first episode of SERVICE, World War II veteran Pasquale D’Ambrosio of the Army’s 96th Division shares how the Great Depression and natural disasters affected his Keene, New Hampshire community even before the United States joined the war in 1941. Then, why he loved military food, how the drop of the atomic bombs might just have spared his life, and what he saw of hunger in the South West Pacific theatre.

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November 11, 2019 7 mins

On this supporting episode of SERVICE, we take a quick dive into P-40 planes, foxholes, trenches, and hedgerows. Some major engineering advancements came about during World War II, helping our veterans in their missions around the globe. But they met agricultural challenges overseas, despite. Listen for a quick primer on military terms you’ll hear our veterans reference this season.

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November 11, 2019 24 mins

Fresh out of high school in Brooklyn, New York, Frank Devita joined the Coast Guard in the summer of 1943. He then met adulthood in the bloody waters off of the Normandy beaches on D-Day and while criss-crossing oceans between additional battles. A finicky eater from an Italian foodie family, Frank found some sneaky ways for him and others to eat in his 33 months in Service.

A gentle warning: Frank shares engrossing details about D-...

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November 18, 2019 22 mins

Army Private 1st Class John Bistrica was in the 1st Infantry Division – nicknamed “Big Red One” – on D-Day, June 6th, 1944. His story balances watchful anticipation and fierce action as he moves from Youngstown, Ohio to stateside base camps, then to the D-Day beaches and into Normandy, finding both feast and famine along the way.

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November 25, 2019 25 mins

Lt. Colonel George Hardy wanted to be an engineer. Not a cook. But at the start of World War 2, African Americans were only given mess attendant positions in the Navy – the branch he wanted to join. And so, George joined the U.S. Army Air Corps’ prestigious Tuskegee Airmen fighter group instead. Facing segregation at home and abroad, his food stories are weighted with uncomfortable silences and tough self-love. Follow as George tra...

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December 2, 2019 24 mins

Young William Walker was determined to succeed. Despite segregation in the service during World War II, William rose to Chief Petty Officer First Class in the Navy – an uncommon position of authority for African Americans particularly in that branch. First managing PT rescue teams stateside and then overseeing his ship’s food supply holds in the South West Pacific, William’s history helps us understand a layer of the complicated we...

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December 9, 2019 24 mins

6 million men left farm life between 1940 and 1945. Some, like Air Corp Staff Sergeant Harold Bud Long, left to join the Service. 

Setting out and maintaining 47 air strips across Europe, Bud took part in legendary campaigns like Omaha Beach on D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge, and Patton’s drive through Central Europe into the Rhineland. Spending significant time with French civilians and tearing down the gates of a German concentrat...

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December 16, 2019 21 mins

Many of the World War II combat veterans we’re hearing from this season didn’t talk about their service experiences for most of their lives. On the first of this two-part episode, we explore the history behind why they might not have opened up, how things have changed with time, and what’s helped them start talking.

Then we head to Livingston County, New York, where a community-made war memorial recently brought veterans and their f...

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December 22, 2019 20 mins

Why do some of our veterans not speak about their service experience, and how can civilians help? On the second half of this two-part episode, we explore the some racial healing 70-years post war, and how food brings veterans out of their shells. We first explore how one community event brought two Navy veterans from different worlds together. Then, Sarah Sicard of Military Times and Cindy Stephens of the Freedom Pantry for Veteran...

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January 27, 2020 39 mins

Think success in farming has nothing to do with sacrifice on the front line? 

At the start of World War II, Japanese American farmers controlled 40% of California farm production, dominating crops like tomatoes, celery, and snap beans made newly available nationwide with the success of refrigerated railway cars. 45% of Japanese Americans held agricultural jobs on the west coast as a result. 

In this episode, we follow Japanese Americ...

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February 3, 2020 29 mins

The majority of the veterans we’ve heard from this season recall growing up in Great Depression poverty. Such is not the case with Robert Hanson, a Navy Lieutenant whose father found himself in an intriguing position of economic strength that helped Robert settle into Ivy League academia by the start of World War 2. But that doesn’t mean he was guaranteed safety or good eats when assigned to run PT 182 off of Morotai island - one o...

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February 10, 2020 23 mins

Wait, but how did the food get made in World War II?

In this episode of Service, Navy veteran Ray Boutwell shares how he cooked at a training camp in New Jersey toward the latter part of the war: what equipment they had in the kitchen, what dishes they made regularly, and the difference between ingredients the government supplied and those officers of means could get the cooks to purchase on their own. With government experiments co...

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February 14, 2020 24 mins

Every veteran we’ve sat with this season has gushed about the “love of their life” -- the woman who worked hard at the hospital or factory or office or homestead and dutifully penned letters while they were away in the Service. They’ve wowed us with not only their love’s origin story, but the lifetime commitment they kept. And we’ve sat with them as they’ve missed and mourned that loved one -- coincidentally, the majority of our ve...

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100-year-old World War II Marine veteran Norman Rubin remembers the Great Depression. He remembers eating as much as could be put on a plate in front of him as a hungry kid. He remembers his father leaving at 10 years old and his brothers working to help his mother. He remembers reading about how the Marines traveled all over the world, and his mother helping him lie about his age so that he could enlist at 17. He remembers how the...

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March 2, 2020 23 mins

World War II transformed women’s service both in the U.S. Armed Forces and in their stateside communities -- millions would serve at home and abroad as nurses, clerics, drivers, front-line food peddlers, and even pilots. The work wasn’t easy. To survive the shifting job market, they had to work twice as hard for half the pay. They had to suffer how society could look up or down on them at any given moment. They had to adapt, grow, ...

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It’s called “the deadliest conflict in human history” for a reason. World War II engulfed the lives of soldiers and civilians in a way those in the United States have not experienced in a near capacity since. 

In the final episode of our season exploring the experience of service during World War II, authors Myke Cole and Anastacia Marx de Salcedo join to help us make sense of it all: What changed the most when it comes to combat an...

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