In the military, we all have had the honor or joy or horror to stand 24-hour duty.  This normally starts at the end of the work day. Yes, you also had the honor of working that day also.  This can test the human body and the crutches we use to excel on this duty, which for most of us are some form of caffeine.

Most duty starts at 4PM or 1600 hours. You show up from your work in your end of day smells and start the takeover duty process. You stay busy until about 1730 at the latest. You notice that most everyone is gone. They are at chow, or getting ready for a night on the town if it is a weekend. The busy unit area turns into a ghost town. You see the PX endorse vending machine with soda. You know you do not want to start too early. So you pass by the soda lifeblood caffeine machine.

By 1830, the news is over on TV, stupid stuff is on TV, and you walk around the organization to make sure nothing has occurred. Since no one has been here, and everyone is either home having fun, or the ones in the barracks are chasing hormones out in town, nothing has changed in the offices, all secure.  You walk by the soda machine, but you have brought three bottles of Mountain Dew with you.  It is warm. It has caffeine. It is good and keeps your mind moving.

At 2200 hours or 10PM, time to walk around, normal to be asleep at this time in order to wake up for Physical Training (PT) at 0600 hours in the morning. Your body thinks it is time to go to sleep and that last soda was over three hours ago. This soda is warmer than the last, but it has caffeine.

At 2300 hours the late news is on, but you do not want to use up your last warm soda.  The news should keep you awake for the next half hour.

Midnight. It is quiet and no one is around. You start wishing a drunk would show up to keep you awake. Some drunks are long winded…or some will cause an adrenaline flow for a scuffle. No luck, no drunks, but you down the last warm soda.

At 0130, you make rounds and find that the Russians nor the Chinese have attacked, no spies have broken in to get the Physical Fitness Training Plan. You buy a soda. You came prepared with a roll of quarters. That is always in a duty bag. Must get that live blood caffeine.

At 0300, no Russians, no Chinese and no Liberians have attacked. Time for another Mountain Dew from the machine. At least it is cold and it is well worth the price.

At 0400, quick walk, but the mission is the soda machine. Now you find out the Mountain Dew is out, but you have Coke. It is survivable.  It is cold and has caffeine.

At 0500 a quick walk to the soda machine for whatever cold drink with caffeine is in the machine. You throw away the empty can in a trash can on the walk back to the duty hut. It is now 0505. Time goes slow.

At 0600 you do your rounds, check all buildings and see a few people coming in to do PT. You get a soda.

At 0700 you grab another soda so you will be coherent to talk to the person who will relieve you do duty at 0730.

At 0745 you go brush your teeth, clean up quickly and be at work at 0800.  It is a new day, and troops are coming in from being well rested and ready to ask you lots of questions and learn. You get a soda during your walk to attend the annual Reenlistment Counseling Class.  People look at you strange because you have a cold Mountain Dew in both hands.

The old salts or crusty soldiers will understand. It is not a fashion statement to have two hands full of sodas, it is a military norm for the day after duty.

BLUF:  Caffeine must be safe, there are plenty of us who have stood duty and survived. Some will say we survived due to caffeine.

By:  James R Lint

With a past of standing duty in the US Marine Corps, on Naval vessels, and in the Army, the author also has stock in Diet Mountain Dew.