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What is kp in military terms?

2 Answer(s) Available
Answer # 1 #

Ask any GI or veteran about the job that he dreaded most and nine times out of 10 the answer likely would be Kitchen Patrol -- better known as KP.

One word usually summed up a GI's innermost feelings when the monthly KP detail roster was posted on the unit bulletin board: Ugh!

All that started to change a few years ago, when the Air Force, Navy and Army replaced lowly enlisted KP operatives with civilians in military mess halls around the country.

Last month the Marines threw in the dish towel and turned the detail over to civilian help.

The slow demise of the military KP detail is the latest on a list of radical changes in the services that the Department of Defense has made over the past 10 to 15 years.

In that period the Defense Department has trashed the popular Colt .45- caliber pistol, the Jeep and the metal mess kit. There is even talk of someday replacing the metal dog tag with a mini microcomputer chip that will include the service person's name, rank, serial number, religion -- nearly his or her entire personnel record.

Pardon, but back to the Marines' use of civilians for KP duty.

Military leaders, especially barking drill sergeants, often preached that KP was a character builder. Hmmmm. You could have fooled me.

Personally, the KP detail was always a close runner-up to two other most dreaded military details: cleaning toilets with razor blades and stripping the wooden barracks floors.

Now the Marines say KP duty is history.

No more slinging hand grenades one day and dishing out S.O.S. (a GI family acronymn for creamed chipped beef on toast) in the breakfast chow line the next day.

It is no more dishpan hands for the Marines.

No more 14-hour days in the clipper room, a steam-filled room where dishes and food trays are placed in wooden trays and fed into an industrial strength dishwasher.

No more getting stuck doing the garbage detail, the most despised KP job traditionally reserved for the late arrivals who overslept.

When I was in the service, I always made it a point to arrive early, usually a half hour or so before the mess hall sergeant showed up and started asking for volunteers for tasks to be performed during a pre-dawn to sundown day.

Pulling a KP detail required team specialization. There were serving line teams, garbage rack teams, clipper room teams and table cleaning teams, to mention a few.

The guy on detail who had the softest job in the mess hall was the mess checker, who as the title suggests, handled the cash box, checked diners' identification cards and counted diners.

I always volunteered to head up the team responsible for keeping the salt and pepper shakers and napkin holders filled, the second easist job in the mess hall. Oops. I mean dining halls in today's military jargon.

Today the Marines are looking for a few good civilians to pull KP: a radical change in military tradition most GIs will welcome.

What in the world will the military think tank generals come up with next? Probably R.I.F (reduction in force) in all the military boot camp physical training instructors. They can replace them with Jane Fonda better body fitness videos.

Darko McShane
Station Superintendent
Answer # 2 #

KP duty means "kitchen police" or "kitchen patrol" work under the kitchen staff assigned to junior U.S. enlisted military personnel. "KP" can be either the work or the personnel assigned to perform such work.

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