Otto H. Goldstein arrived in the United States in 1897 as a Bohemian immigrant at the age of 16. Shortly after his arrival, the United States entered into war with Spain and Goldstein enlisted as a private in the 2nd Cavalry. By 1905, he reached the rank of first sergeant and left the Army. Following his enlistment, he moved to Chicago where he learned the grocery business and eventually became a manager for a mail order firm. He also served a term in the Illinois legislature. After the American declaration of war against Germany in 1917, Goldstein re-entered the Army this time as a Captain in the Quartermaster Corps. After completing his training, he went to a depot in the Intermediate Zone for the Services of Supply. He assumed responsibility for a dysfunctional subsistence department and reorganized it into an efficient operation even as the supported population multiplied. Goldstein’s first great accomplishment came with the coffee production problems of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in World War I. Fortunately, green coffee was readily available in Europe, yet the AEF still required the 280,000 pounds per day to be roasted, and that exceeded the capacity of existing French plants. Upon receiving the responsibility, Goldstein set about to build a coffee roasting plant using disabled French Soldiers for labor, and using equipment that he designed. After successful completion of this plant, Goldstein supervised construction and operation of other plants until the AEF produced its own coffee. By performing its own roasting, the AEF reduced the cost form $112 per ton to $18.80 per ton and ensured the availability of coffee to the Soldiers. His next challenge came with the addition of chocolate to the ration. Finished candy products required more shipping space than the raw ingredients. Therefore, the Army decided to make chocolates in-theater to save precious cargo capacity. Goldstein arranged for the lease of local candy factories and found the labor. Near the close of the war, Quartermaster facilities were producing five million pounds of chocolate a month. Of that, one million pounds went for direct sale to the Soldiers at cost. Following his successes with coffee and candy, Major Goldstein’s work expanded into production of hard bread and macaroni, both of which were necessary for the high calorie diet of fighting Soldiers. Near the close of the war, Goldstein oversaw the production of nine million pounds of hard bread and one and one-half million pounds of macaroni. Through local manufacturing, Goldstein not only produced considerable savings to the US Army, but more importantly he saved shipping space. He was promoted to Colonel before his discharge. After the war Goldstein returned to the grocery business in Chicago, where he died in 1937.
US Army Quartermaster Corps
The Quartermaster Hall of Fame award is the highest form of recognition the Corps offers. This much coveted award honors individuals who are judged to have made the most significant contributions to the overall history and traditions of the Quartermaster Corps.