|The Egg Eating Contest At Camp Camelot - 71st Transportation Battalion Base Camp
February 1969 - Promoted by 1st LT James L. Lewis
|Roy Groves with his coach SGT Wilson getting ready to down another egg.
|The Winner - SP5 Roy Groves - 41.5 Eggs In 1 Hour
|1st LT James L. Lewis
|Full Speed Ahead
|LONG BINH, RVN (4TC IO)---Big Roy C. Groves, one of the eatingest Specialist Fives to hit these parts in many a chow call, has done it again—only this time he’s threatening the egg-eating record of Cool Hand Luke. Groves,
who measures a six full feet of sturdy stock from the farm lands of Northern Ohio, recently ate 41 ½ hardboiled eggs in a one-hour contest against a challenger from another unit of the 71st Transportation Battalion
(Terminal). His opponent ate 21.
|Also nicknamed “Buddha” because of Yul Bryner hair style, the 220-pound youngster (age 21) is assigned as a squad leader with the 71st’s, 372nd Transportation Company (Terminal Transfer) and works at the Ho Nai
Railhead. But it was while stationed up north during earlier months of his tour in Vietnam that Groves gained a reputation for his insatiable appetite. Working as a guard on Wonder Beach, Groves was the talk of the
perimeter after word got out that he ate C-rations by the case. “Well there I was out there waiting for Charlie,” explains Groves, “and in order to keep my strength up and have something to do, I just ate C-rations all night
long.” He admits to averaging a case of the canned delectables each night for several weeks. This in addition to his regular three square mess hall meals.
|The reputation followed Groves to Long Binh and soon brought a challenge from the 368th Transportation Company (Terminal Service), a sister unit of the 372nd. The challenger was SSG Ronald Marques, a 24-year old platoon sergeant who works at
the Newport Army Terminal. There were chuckles as the officers and men of the 372nd followed the opponents to the selected site, the company area of the 368th. The mess hall of the “home” team provided the eggs. To make it official, scorekeeprs
and timers from both units were present
|The event drew wide interest and there were a lot of spectators. The two contestants took their places and at precisely two p.m. under a sun appropriately described as “boiling,” the race was on. One witness described it
as no contest after the first quarter hour, as Big Roy calmly digested his eggs with no other thought except putting down forever any challengers to his prowess. “After all,” he said, “I’m a farm boy and we always are big
eaters.” Groves started gulping about one and one-half eggs per minute, throwing his opponent into a psychological frenzy. Groves slowed down after the first 25 minutes when he had more than doubled Marques’
consumption rate. At the half hour mark, Groves had eaten 31 eggs, Marques now reaching his limit with 19.
Groves, not one to “kick a man while he’s down,” took it easy the rest of the hour finishing up with 41 ½ while Marques, now seeing the clear sky with built-in yellow filters, valiantly ate two more in the final half hour for a
total of 21. Groves was so nonchalant about the final minutes that he was caught in the middle of number 42 at the final gun.
“I knew I had the man beat, after the first few minutes,” recalls Groves. His opponent gave a good account of himself said Groves.
Groves, who keeps in excellent physical condition, is aware of the record of Cool Hand Luke in the movie of the same name, in which Luke, played by Paul Newman, ate 50 eggs in one hour. “But that was in the movies,”
observes Groves, “I can beat that record any day.”
And in case there are any skeptics, witnesses attest to the following information. Immediately after polishing off the 41 ½ eggs, Groves, none the worse for wear, and in fine spirits, looked eagerly towards the battalion
mess hall. “Wonder what’s for supper this evening?” he asked with a hungry look on his face. Then about an hour later, Big Roy Groves, the 71st Transportation Battalion’s own champion of the chow table, sat down and
ate one big steak dinner.