"Devil Dog" is what jar heads (Soldiers in the U.S. Marine Corps) affectionately refer to themselves as. Spelled backwards, Devil Dog spells "God Lived." I am not sure if this is intentional, and if it is what the hell it has to do with being a Marine, but as it is unlikely that any U.S. Marine is able to read the words "Devil Dog" forward without refering to the picture of the little red dog next to those words in his field manual, I would imagine it is a coincidence.

This nickname for the United States Marine Corps originated during World War I. In 1918, the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines were sent to reinforce the French in the Belleau Wood. Soon after they arrived, the commander of the French forces advised then Colonel Wendell C. Neville to retreat.

Neville replied, "Retreat? Hell, we just got here!" Though outnumbered, the Marines proceeded to drive the Germans from Belleau Wood, and for the ferocity of their fighting and disturbing marksmanship earned the nickname "Teufelhunden," or "Devil Dogs."

The term “devil dog” holds three different connotations for me. Well, maybe four. Allow me to explain.

Phase One

In my early days, starting in elementary school we always used to brown bag it for lunch. It was never anything fancy, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, some fruit and for a special treat, a Drake’s Devil Dog. It was nothing “really special", just two pieces of chocolate cake with some artificial whipped cream stuck in the middle but man, it sure could bring a smile to your face.

Phase Two

I think I discovered marijuana sometime in my early teens. Probably the first year of high school. Since both of my parents worked full time jobs I’d have a couple of hours after school was over to partake of the weed with some friends that would inevitably lead to a case of the munchies. I’d open the bread box and find and unopened package of Drakes Devil Dogs staring me right in the face and the glutton in me would just take over. I think it held twelve cakes and I could devour six with no problem.

Even though she would never say it out loud, I’m sure that at the time my mom was thinking “What the fuck???”

Phase Three

The reason for my third encounter with Devil Dogs has been documented here before. If you feel so inclined, just click on that link. That was the beginning of my journey.

I do remember it was fuckin’ hell and one of the few joys we got was when were allowed to sing “cadence” as we spent countless hours on the parade grounds or, after graduation traipsing up and down the dusty back roads of Camp LeJeune, NC. Here’s just one of the songs we would sing as a platoon or company to keep in step and/or just raise our morale.

You can keep your Army khaki,
You can keep your Navy blue,
I have the World's best fighting man
To introduce to you
His uniform is different,
The best you've ever seen,
The Germans called him "Devil Dog"
His real name is "Marine."

(deep voice) Mariiiiiiiiine, Mariiiiiiiiiine

He was born on Parris Island,
The place where God forgot.
The sand is eighteen inches deep,
The sun is blazing hot.
He gets up every morning,
Before the rising sun.
He'll run a hundred miles and more,
Before the day is done.

(deep voice) Mariiiiiiiiine, Mariiiiiiiiiine

He's deadly with a rifle,
A bayonet made of steel.
He took the Warrior's calling card,
He's mastered how to kill.
And when he gets to Heaven,
St. Peter he will tell,
One more Marine reporting, sir,
I've spent my time in Hell.

(deep voice) Mariiiiiiiiine, Mariiiiiiiiiine

So listen, all you young girls,
To what I have to say;
Go find yourself a young Marine,
To love you every day.
He'll hug you and he'll kiss you,
And treat you like a queen,
There is no better Fighting Man,
The United States Marine

Ooh fuckin’ rah to that, it still sends a chill up my spine as I can recall hearing the voices of 150 to 200 highly motivated Marines singing that song in the middle of nowhere. From CO on down to the lowliest private, we all took pride in that.

Phase Four

Well , I guess I’ve mellowed some. I don’t smoke pot anymore (you hear that Anna?) and I certainly can’t perform physically the way I did way back when. But what I can do is cook.

I know, it took awhile to get here but what follows is a pretty simple recipe you can make at home if you want to experience a different kind of Devil Dog. It’s one that doesn’t come from a factory or was manufactured on Parris Island. Hopefully the journey was worth it.

Here’s what you need.

For the cake.

  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 cup of milk
  • ½ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the filling.

  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2 ½ tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ½ cup of shortening
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Here’s what you do.

    Put together all that stuff for the cake part in a large bowl. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) and ladle the mixture on to a cookie sheet by dropping it on with a tablespoon. Keep the globs separate and bake it for seven to eight minutes then allow it to cool.

    For the filling, combine the flour and milk and bring it to a slow boil. Once it starts to form a paste remove it from the stove and let it cool completely. Then, add the sugar, shortening and the vanilla extract and starting beating it until it turns all fluffy.

    Once that's done, spoon the filling in between two slices of the cake and proceed to enjoy a little slice of heaven in your mouth.

    Semper Fi and bon appétit!

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