Very Able Troopers (Vat 69)

I’m no expert on liquid spirits, but enjoy the occasional glass of good whisky or scotch. VAT 69? Never heard of it until a close family friend passed away at the well-traveled age of 86 and I inherited a bottle of the stuff from his stash. In layman’s terms, it’s bold with a bite or as I sometimes say, elegant yet understated. Enjoy with a large ice cube or two in a short glass. If you have a flannel shirt and fire pit handy. All the better.

For those of your with a more refined palate, here’s a fancy description from theWhiskeyExchange.com

VAT 69 is a famous old brand of blended whisky, chosen by Sir Ernest Shackleton to accompany him on his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914 ‘for medicinal and celebratory purposes’, and also famously the favourite whisky of Captain Lewis Nixon of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, immortalised in the book and TV series Band of Brothers.

Spirited...

Ernest Shackleton

Captain Lewis Nixon portrayed by Ron Livingston.

Further research revealed that Vat 69 is the nickname for a subdivision of the Royal Malaysian Police Force. They formed the 69th Commando Battalion in 1969 to counter the tactics and techniques of communist terrorists. VAT is an acronym for Very Able Troopers. The unit is also known as Task Force, Charlie Force and Special Project Team and was modeled after the British 22nd Special Air Service Regiment.

THE CREST OF THE 69 COMMANDOS OF PGK, FEATURING A PAIR OF KERAMBIT.

THE CREST OF THE SPECIAL ACTIONS UNIT OF PGK. Literal translation: "Quick to Overcome Terror"

If the sentimental value of the bottle wasn’t enough, all this history and back story sealed my fate as a future consumer. I think about both my grandfathers Jerome Larkin, John Paxton, and my Uncle Brooks Kleber, who all served with distinction in WWII. None of them should have made it home alive, but they did and so I write these words. Knowing what I know now, there’s no doubt they were all familiar with the military heritage behind VAT 69.

In a toast to them all, and our friend Carl, may we never forget and always respect. Salute!

Thanks for reading. {sp}

L-R: BROOKS PAXTON SR. (DAD), CARL, DI PAXTON (MOM), JD (AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD / CHOW MIX), Brooks Paxton, SEAN PAXTON AT "TARZAN'S" BAR IN NORTH PORT, FL.