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Serving Our Country: Hershey Chocolate’s Contributions to World War II

Hershey Chocolate products played a critical role supplying the military during World War II. Before the war Hershey Chocolate Corporation had worked with the United States Army Quartermaster Corps to develop the formula for a survival ration bar, labeled the Ration ‘D’ bar. After the United States entered the war, Hershey Chocolate Corporation produced millions of the ration bars for the military.

In recognition of its outstanding efforts, Hershey Chocolate Corporation received the Army-Navy ‘E’ Production Award at a special ceremony held August 22, 1942. Quartermaster General, Major General Gregory, came to Hershey to present the corporation and Milton Hershey with the award of achievement. At the Award ceremony, Major General Edmond B.Gregory noted the company’s achievements stating, “The men and women of Hershey Chocolate Corporation have every reason to be proud of their great work in backing up our soldiers on the fighting fronts.”

Samuel Hinkle, then Hershey Chocolate chief chemist, remembered that Mr. Hershey was overjoyed at the accomplishment itself and at the fine relationship it betokened between management and employees. In the pictures of that event which have been preserved, it is easy to see the pleasure which he carries on his face.

The Corporation received a flag to fly above the chocolate plant and a lapel pin for every employee. By the end of the war in 1945 Hershey Chocolate Corporation would receive a total of five Army-Navy ‘E’ awards.

In addition to the Ration ‘D’ bar, Hershey products were part of seven ration packs. Hershey Chocolate also developed a confectionery product, the Tropical bar, that didn’t melt in high temperatures and therefore could be sent to tropical areas of the world. In 1944 Hershey produced a pamphlet outlining the many ways and many products in use by the military.

The following text comes from that pamphlet:

Hershey’s Products at War

U.S. ARMY FIELD RATION D: is a highly concentrated food intended for emergency use only. One ration consists of three chocolate bars for carrying in the soldiers’ pockets. Hershey was the first to product this ration. A similar product is supplied to the Marine Corps. U.S.

ARMY FIELD RATION K: provides balanced meals in individual packaged and contains a chocolate bar as the dessert component.

10 IN 1 RATION: supplied sufficient food for ten soldiers and withstands all climatic conditions. Chocolate bars of the Ration D type are included.

HERSHEY’S TROPICAL CHOCOLATE: is a new creation in bar form, designed to withstand the effects of extreme heat. High in food energy value, this item is being produced in response to the requests of our boys for the kind of chocolate they knew at home. Our entire output is scheduled for shipment overseas through the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Red Cross.

U.S. ARMY FIELD RATION C: is packed in a tin can. One item of the contents is Cocoa Beverage Powder, a great favorite with out fighting forces.

AIRCRAFT SNACK RATION: provides extra energy on long flying missions. Chocolate was an obvious choice among the items under consideration.

U.S. NAVY LIFE RAFT EMERGENCY RATION: was developed to sustain life in case of shipwreck. The Ration D type of chocolate, with its high powered food energy value, is well adapted for this vital use.

EMERGENCY ACCESSORY KIT: is prepared for front line use. Among other items, chocolate bars are packed in each kit.

PRISONER OF WAR PACKAGE: a gift of the American Red Cross, is regularly supplied to those of our fighting forces who have fallen into enemy hands. Special chocolate bars are included in this package.

HERSHEY’S BREAKFAST COCOA: is widely used by all branches of the service. Its popularity as a beverage is constantly increasing.

HERSHEY’S CHOCOLATE FLAVORED SYRUP: long a favorite in the Ships Service Stores of the Navy, is also supplied for Army and Navy messes and Post Exchanges.

HERSHEY’S MILK CHOCOLATE, ALMOND MILK CHOCOLATE AND BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE BARS: familiar to everyone in time of peace, are in even greater demand in wartime.

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