Founding Father and principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, once quipped, “Beer, if drunk in moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit and promotes health.”

The military never got that memo.

A national crisis hit Iceland this week when a force of 7,000 American sailors and Marines, who know nothing about the third president’s propensity for alcoholic self-restraint, invaded the country’s capital city of Reykjavík, flexed an unquenchable thirst for frosty suds and swiftly drained much of the city’s beer supply.

Upon arrival, sailors and Marines taking part in NATO’s Trident Juncture exercise wasted no time getting wasted, Iceland Magazine reported, with most making a beeline straight from the ship to the closest bar to locate, close with and destroy beers.

Bar owners tried to accommodate the onslaught of American patrons, but “they were fighting an overwhelming force,” said local blogger, Eiríkur Jónsson.

Give me your tired, your thirsty, your huddled masses yearning to drink beer.

Wave after wave of dehydrated sailors and Marines strolled into town, filling local establishments for four days straight in search of that old, familiar embrace of sweet inebriation.

One restaurant, Sæta Svínið — good luck pronouncing that — was one of the first to run out of beer. Bar owners tried borrowing from other businesses that were better stocked, but the Americans were too many.

As other bars quickly began drying up, owners who said they had never experienced such an alcoholic assault put out a beer distress signal.

One of Iceland’s local breweries, Ölgerð Egils Skallagrímssonar, answered the call and immediately began working overtime to distribute emergency beer shipments that could furnish the parched Americans with sustenance.

Ölgerð Egils Skallagrímssonar — the king in the North.

When the ships finally departed Reykjavík, the city with a population of about 120,000 in a country with just under 340,000 was finally able to breathe.

Iceland had survived the assault, the Americans had drank their fill and there have yet to be any reports of overindulgent debauchery — a true success story.

More on Trident Juncture:

  • NATO’s biggest military exercise since the Cold War
  • Over 40,000 military personnel
  • 31 participating nations
  • More than 150 aircraft
  • 70 ships
  • 10,000 vehicles.

Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.

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