As World War I continued in April of 1918 and temperatures soared in Waco, Texas, 4’000 U.S. soldiers at Camp MacArthur faced a morale-denting dilemma in the form of a Coca Cola shortage. Obviously this was an unacceptable situation, and so, as troops faced “defeat at the hands of Enemy Heat & Thirst,” this fantastic letter soon found its way to the company’s nearby bottling works courtesy of the Exchange Officer.
Transcript follows. Image courtesy of The National Archives.
55th INFANTRY EXCHANGE
Coca Cola Bottling Works,
It is desired to bring to your attention the shortage of Coca Cola throughout this Army Camp, and particularly this Regimental Canteen. The purpose of this communication is to remind you that the hot weather is here and that Coca Cola is one of the best drinks to fight the Hot Weather with and we Soldiers dislike to admit defeat, but to win our struggles we must have the material to work with, the things to contest our enemy with, must be at hand, and unless we have Coca Cola we will have to admit defeat at the hands of Enemy Heat & Thirst.
The Army has been schooled to like and want Coca Cola because Coca Cola is the wholesome thirst quenching drink and this Exchange, representing Four Thousand Coca Cola Drinkers, begs that our supply be multiplied by ten and even more if possible. So great is the need of Coca Cola at our Exchange at the present writing may be easily understood by the many calls for this drink that must be met with a substitute, and consequently a dissatisfied customer.
It is the experince of the Management of this Exchange that many users of a certain article may be taught to like a substitute, and unless you can assure us that our demands may be met, it will be our task to introduce a substitute here that will be the forerunner of a strong competitor of Coca Cola. We do not want to do this, we want more Coca Cola, and more Coca Cola will bring us more satisfied customers, and their health will not be imperiled.
We trust you will take this matter up at once and give it the careful consideration that is due so an important issue, and then let us hear that you will aid in defeating the Enemy Thirst and conquer these long hot drill days.
55th Infantry Exchange,
April 19th 1918.