Thanksgiving Menus from the USS Yorktown (CV-5)

Donald Wilson served on the USS Yorktown (CV-5) “her whole life,” having joined the crew before commissioning. Here are a couple of Thanksgiving menus he mailed home to his folks, Clabe and Leora Wilson, who were tenant farmers at Minburn, Iowa.

1939

1940

I wish the menus showed up better. They are quite similar, except for the location of the aircraft carrier.

15 comments

  1. I’m impressed by those printed menus, and I was especially surprised to see ‘raisin dressing’ listed. I’ve never heard of that, but as soon as I saw it, I realized those raisins could spiff up dressing rather nicely.

  2. This set menu probably seldom varied from one year to the next. An interesting point comes at the end: cigarettes along with coffee. I don’t know about the US, but smoking has been banned in public and at indoor venues for years here.

    • Same here! Cigarettes were even handed out to servicemen sometimes before they knew the misery they’d eventually create. I saw my Grandpa Neal and an uncle die of emphysema and lung cancer.

  3. This is special for my family too, for three generations.
    My Dad would later be in Bremerton during his ’44-’46 WWII Navy days. Later, my brother was on Hickam AFB ’67-70. I was in Army on Oahu ’72-’73 . We both were very lucky to be stationed there, and like Dale, have Thanksgiving in Honolulu.
    30 years later, we took our 21 yr old son there right after his college finals, Dec 17-23, 2002. We went out to Schofield Barracks & walked up stairs to my old quad’s 3rd floor. We went down to Pearl Harbor and did the new three part tour: the always moving Arizona Memorial, the USS Bowfin WWII submarine and across the bay to the USS Missouri where the peace treaty w Japan was signed in Tokyo Bay Sept 2, 1945. In that bay, you can stand where WWII started for the US and stand where it ended .
    One of the cherished memories of my life was taking my folks out to the Arizona in ’73 when they visited. It defined their lives like the rest of America… and whether I’d even be born.
    Perfect Thanksgiving post. Thx Joy.

  4. I loved the menus. My father was stationed with the Flying Tigers in China as a code breaker. He once told me the best thing they had for Thanksgiving was a scrawny chicken, courtesy of one of the Chinese plane guards.

    • Was he over there before Pearl Harbor? How did he get that job? Hope you’ll write what you know about it sometime. My dad’s brother flew C-47s over “the Hump” during the war. Never talked about it when we were kids. Wow, I wish I’d known.

      • No, he was there after Pearl Harbor. Your uncle may well have flown him over the hump to Kunming. My father was drafted while an actor in Hollywood. Because of his musical training (concert master for the Vienna Philharmonic), he was assigned to the signal corps as a code breaker in support of the Flying Tigers. I have a letter of commendation from General Chennault in my father’s personal effects. My father spoke several languages including Mandarin. I speak eleven but can’t crack the code to open a jar of jam.

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