Some things never change

A necessity in the galley!

sailors cleaning the USS Theodore Roosevelt's bell with Tabasco sauce!

Larry Bodine, Esq., founding board member, Chicago Bull Moose chapter, Theodore Roosevelt Association

Posted by admin in From our Archive, History, Naval Institute

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  • McIlhenny was a Marine Corps Reserve Brigadier General. Methinks he knew whereof he spoke when he said it was a necessity in the galley…

  • Byron

    And when he passed away, a chunk of the family pepper fortune went to the Marine Military Academy. I’ve been out to that island when I was a kid. Just riding past in the car, your eyes burned. Haven’t a clue how they picked all those peppers.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    …as one of my colorful Sergeants would say; “That stuff (McIlhenny Tabasco) would make a meal of ear wax and cow sh*t taste good!”

    (That is what I suspect the MRE “omelet” was anyway)

  • Dear USNI:

    Thanks for posting our Tabasco sauce ad from the 1900 issue of your Proceedings magazine.

    There are a number of US Navy connections to our product and to the family that has made Tabasco sauce since 1868 at Avery Island, La.

    For example, one of the Avery family members (the Averys are cousins to the McIlhenny family which owns the Tabasco brand) retired from the US Navy after World War II with the rank of Rear Admiral.

    Also, during World War II the US Navy launched a liberty ship called the USS Avery Island, which was the chief electronic surveillance ship at Bikini Atoll in 1946 when A-bombs were tested there.

    However, since someone mentioned Brigadier General Walter S. McIlhenny, who was our fourth company president (and the grandson of Tabasco sauce inventor E. McIlhenny), I thought I would post the below biographic sketch about him.

    Incidentally, Walter received the Navy Cross at Guadalcanal during World War II, and that medal, along with Walter’s helmet and the Japanese samurai sword that dented the helmet during hand-to-hand combat, are on display at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

    Sincerely, Shane K. Bernard, Ph.D., Historian & Curator, McIlhenny Company & Avery Island, Inc., Archives, Avery Island, Louisiana

    FROM THE DICTIONARY OF LOUISIANA BIOGRAPHY (USL, Center for Louisiana Studies / Louisiana Historical Association, 1998):

    MCILHENNY, Walter Stauffer, Marine, businessman. Born, October 22, 1910, Washington, D.C., son of John Avery McIlhenny and Anita Vincent Stauffer. Studied civil engineering at University of Virginia. Career: Worked in 1930s for Continental Oil Company. Joined the Virginia National Guard and later the Marine Corps Reserve, serving on its rifle team and earning honors as marksman; called to active duty at beginning of World War II, serving 31 months in the western Pacific as a member of B Company, 1st Battalion, Fifth Marines, 1st Division; landed in first attack wave, Guadalcanal; saw action also at New Britain, and at Peleliu, Palau Islands; received numerous citations, including Navy Cross (“for extraordinary heroism and courage” during a Guadalcanal frontal assault), Silver Star (“for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity” in the Solomon Islands), and two Purple Hearts; left active duty in 1945 with the rank of major. Subsequently went to Avery Island, La., to resume executive training in family business, McIlhenny Company, serving as chairman and president, 1949-85; oversaw sales reorganization and marketing campaign that expanded worldwide popularity of Tabasco brand pepper sauce; upon retirement from Marine Corp Reserve received honorary promotion to brigadier general; co-founder, trustee, and president emeritus, Marine Military Academy, Harlingen, Tex.; served on U.S. Olympic Rifle Committee; trustee, National Wildlife Federation; hunted big game in Africa, Asia, and North America. Died, June 22, 1985, Lafayette, La.; interred, family cemetery, Avery Island, La. SOURCES: “Walter S. McIlhenny Makes Tabasco in Milieu of Old South,” The Wall Street Journal, January 10, 1975; Chicago Tribune, June 24, 1985; The MMA [Marine Military Academy] Journal, obituary, August 1985; New York Times, June 24, 1985; The Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, Tex.), 24 June, 1985; William Standring, “Tabasco Mac,” Marine Corps League (Spring 1996). S.K.B.