Gentlemen, this is our heritage and tradition:
The Shanghai Bowl Ceremony is a time set aside when we, as members of the 31st Infantry Regiment, assemble for the purpose of rededicating ourselves to the profession of arms.
In the history of our country, the time spent engaged in actual battle has been small in proportion to the time between hostilities. Yet, we can never forget that it is during periods of peace that we must strengthen ourselves to meet the enemy when he comes. The standards of conduct and professionalism we demand of ourselves, our non-commissioned officers, and our men are those that will be tested by the fire of battle. Those standards must be the highest if we are to remain victorious.
The Shanghai Bowl displayed before us is a symbol of our heritage as a Battalion of the 31st Infantry Regiment; symbols forged on the frozen wastes of Siberia, in the China campaign, through the jungles of the Philippines, over the bloody hills and rice paddies of Korea and Vietnam, the mountains of Afghanistan, and the arid landscape of Iraq; tradition molded by the courageous actions of thousands of officers, NCOs, and men who have gone before us. Those who served and died made this Regiment’s and Battalion’s history great.
We rededicate ourselves before these symbols of our Regiment; we rededicate ourselves not merely to the Polar Bear Battalion, but also to our Army, to our profession and to our nation. The 31st Infantry, the Polar Bears, has a proud and glory-filled past. It is the responsibility of each one of us to ensure its bright and untarnished future. Each of us must bear the burden for our men and those who follow.
We are the links in a chain of tradition and honor that stretches behind us and ahead of us into the vague mist of the future.
Polar Bears! Pro Patria!
Polar Bear Punch
Water… the lifeblood of the Infantryman. Nothing is more precious to the infantryman than water. He keeps it by his side at all times, right next to his ammunition. To pay homage to this most essential of all elements, we begin this fine potion with water, the lifeblood of the infantryman.
The 31st Infantry Regiment was formed at Manila in the Philippines in 1916. As the regiment got its start in the jungles of the Philippines, we too get our start tonight for the Polar Bear Punch by adding the juice of the pineapple, a native of the South Pacific.
As the regiment got its feet on the ground, they were called to their baptism of fire, in the cold and unforgiving terrain of Siberia. The soldiers of the regiment guarded the rail line, warehouses, and supplies near Vladivostok; earning 16 Distinguished Service Crosses and taking their name from the fearsome predators they came to see often in the line of duty. We add vodka in celebration of the Polar Bears and their service in Russia.
A Silver Dollar
In 1932 the Polar Bears were once again called to arms, this time to Shanghai to police the riots, protect American lives and property, and give the people of China new hope in an uncertain time. The officers of the 31st donated 1500 silver dollars and commissioned this beautiful Punch Bowl and cup set to commemorate the Regiment’s service in China. For this time of service, we add another silver dollar to the bowl.
As 1941 drew to a close, the winds of war blew hot in the Pacific. On the Bataan Peninsula, the regiment met its stiffest test yet, fighting for 4 months without replacements or resupply – our nation unable to send help. Those who survived the campaign had to endure the Bataan Death March and captivity in Japanese POW camps. The Polar Bears buried the Shanghai bowl and their colors so that they would not fall into the hands of the enemy, retrieving them once the war was over. For these soldiers both alive and dead we honor them with the hardest of drinks we know – Everclear.
In 1946, GEN MacArthur reactivated the Polar Bears as his Guard of Honor in Japan to bring peace to the lands of their former captors. In honor of this time of service we add Sake, the people’s drink of Japan.
The Korean War roused the Polar Bears from their occupation duties and once again plunged them into the fire of combat. Inchon, the Chosin Reservoir, and Pork Chop Hill are now a part of every Polar Bear’s history; as are the 5 Medals of Honor the 31st won on the battlefields of Korea. In tribute to those soldiers, and all the Polar Bears who have served in the country of Korea, in war or in peace, we pour Soju into our renowned mix.
Ba si Dai
From 1966 until 1971, the Polar Bears of the Vietnam era fought a long and unpopular war for many years with skills and courage that still deserve respect; earning two Medals of Honor along the way. They fought without fame and little recognition. They fought simply because their country sent them; living up to our motto: “Pro Patria… For Country”. For those soldiers, the best that this country could offer, Ba si Dai, is a true testament to them.
When the Bosnia erupted into chaos, the Polar Bears responded. The killing stopped and their time there secured a lasting peace. For Bosnia, we add plum wine Slivovitz.
When terror struck near to our homes, the Polar Bears stood ready to answer our country’s call to arms. Quickly, Polar Bears deployed by helicopter to secure sensitive national assets along the Eastern Seaboard in support of Operation Noble Eagle. Less than one month after our nation was attacked, Polar Bears boarded aircraft for Kuwait, Qatar, and Uzbekistan to defend American forces and facilities in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In the Shah-e-Kot Valley of Afghanistan, the Polar Bears were called upon to train the Djiboutians, Ethiopians, the Afghanistan National Army, and to conduct combat operations in Iraq. In memory of those Americans and Allies lost in this ongoing struggle in the Global War on Terrorism, we stir and add a Manhattan.
As the war in Iraq unfolded, the Polar Bears were repeatedly sent back to the desert to continue the struggle for peace and security in that region. For Iraq, we add tea, the national drink of Iraq.
“The Philippines, Siberia, Shanghai, Bataan, Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq; a history filled with honor, courage, and sacrifice. To the enemies of the United States… a warning; Do not provoke the Polar Bear, my war cry can still be heard – Pro Patria!”
Ladies and Gentlemen – To the President of the United States of America
Ladies and Gentlemen – To the Unites States Army
Ladies and Gentlemen – To the Ladies
Ladies and Gentlemen – To the 31st Infantry Regiment
Ladies and Gentlemen – To those who have gone before us
Ladies and Gentlemen – To those who are here today
“As you entered the banquet hall you may have noticed a small table here, in a place of honor. It is set for one. This table is our way of remembering that members of our profession of arms are missing from our midst. They are our fallen comrades. They are unable to be with us this evening so we remember their dedication to our country.”
Ladies and Gentlemen – To our fallen comrades.