MREs — not the same old rations
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  1. #1

    Exclamation MREs — not the same old rations

    MREs — not the same old rations

    by: MANNY GAMALLO World Staff Writer
    7/6/2008 12:00 AM

    Food rations served to today’s troops in the field have come a long way from what their fathers or even their grandfathers knew.

    No longer does the modern warrior have to fumble with can openers to open assorted tins of food on the battlefield, and then find a way of heating their chow.

    What troops now have is a totally selfcontained package of food — known as a meal ready to eat — which provides them with an entree, including vegetables, crackers or bread, condiments, a dessert, candy bars and nutritional bars, and powdered beverages, along with a plastic spoon and napkin.

    Except for the powdered beverages, the meals are ready to eat.

    Known to soldiers and Marines as MREs, the self-contained meals were born in the early 1980s after years of research intoways of giving troops a hearty meal with all the nutritional elements to sustain their stamina in combat.

    Each meal offers 1,250 calories, along with the necessary vitamins and minerals as determined by the U.S. Surgeon General.

    The MREs were also designed to be easily transported into a battlefield, including air drops by parachute.

    Along with that, they are designed for a long shelf life — up to three years if stored at a constant 80 degrees.

    Each meal costs the government $7.25.

    The first MREs offered slim pickings on entrees, but those have grown to today’s 24 menu items, which change from year to year.

    Also, those early MREs didn’t provide a way of heating the sealed entree pouch. For years, the standard battlefield approach was boiling water in a can and then placing the food pouch in the water for a few minutes.

    All that changed in 1992 when the “heater pack” was introduced, and it is now included in every MRE.

    The heater pack is a cellophane-like envelope into which the entree pouch is inserted for heating.

    The pack contains chemicals that react with a few ounces of water to produce heat, warming the food to 100 degrees in 10 minutes.

    Meanwhile, it’s never been a perfect world for the common foot soldier.

    Throughout the ages, it’s been the inherent right of soldiers to complain about the quality of their food, and today’s troops are no different.

    Troops in the field have other names for the MRE: “Meals Rejected by Ethiopians” or “Meals Refusing to Exit.”

    Still, the research and development into improved rations for the troops continue.

    Today’s Entrees

    There are 24 menu items offered for meals ready to eat. Menus change yearly.

    Here’s a look at the current entree offerings:

    Beefsteak with mushrooms
    Pork ribs
    Beef ravioli
    Cheese and vegetable omelet
    Chicken breast
    Chicken fajitas
    Chicken with salsa
    Beef patty
    Beef stew
    Chili with macaroni
    Pasta with vegetables in tomato sauce
    Veggie burger with barbecue sauce
    Cheese tortellini
    Manicotti with vegetables
    Beef enchiladas
    Chicken with noodles
    Sloppy Joe filling
    Cajun rice and sausage
    Roast beef with vegetables
    Spaghetti with meat sauce
    Chicken tetrazzini
    Chicken with cavatelli
    Meat loaf with gravy

    Oklahoma Guard consumes 30,000 MREs a year

    Since 2002, the Oklahoma Army National Guard has consumed 30,000 meals ready to eat each year.

    The yearly tab for the MREs comes to $216,600, which the Oklahoma National Guard pays through its funding from the federal National Guard Bureau.

    The Oklahoma Guard uses the MREs as a lunch meal during premobilization training, annual training and initial duty field training.

    In 2005, the Oklahoma Guard also took their MREs with them for the Hurricane Katrina relief effort in New Orleans, where food and sanitary conditions were lacking.

    More recently, the MREs were put to use as some 2,600 Oklahoma Army National Guard troops trained at Camp Gruber last summer for Iraq duty.

    The troops arrived in Iraq in January and are scheduled to return to Oklahoma by the end of September or early October.

    While in Iraq, most of the Oklahoma Guard troops are on base and are being provided regular commissary food or are dining at on-base, fast-food eateries normally found in the United States.

    For those in the field, however, MREs are provided by the military in Iraq.

    The Oklahoma Guard buys its MREs from the Defense Supply Center in Philadelphia.

    Manny Gamallo 581-8386

    The prepared contents of an MRE (meal ready to eat) package. This MRE contains an entree of chicken tetrazzini, crackers, grape jelly, chocolate mint cookies and a powdered strawberry shake, to which water is added.

    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    So thats how that garbage looks outside a pouch. There is one advantage that the C-rats had over the MRE they may have tasted worse but atleast they had cigs.

  3. #3
    Marine Spouse Free Member Idena's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    I've tasted a few of them, I'll admit that they're not that bad.

    After TBS, Isrowei had a ton of leftover MRE's in the trunk of his car (some whole meals, some meal components), & we "gifted" them to my brother, who thinks they might be the greatest invention ever for eating on ski slopes - especially since they come with the heater pack. And our son LOVES them - you've never seen a toddler get excited like he did about that wheat bread with the cheese spread. Crazy kid.

  4. #4
    I had the luxury of being in when the Corps changed over from C-rats to MRE's and I still think the C-rats were much better. Our Unit went to Desert Shield and didn't eat a hot meal for 3 months...back then there were only 10 original different meals on the menu...they got old and nasty really quick...not to mention stopping us all up for that once a week battle at the crapper...!!! I don't know about today's menu of MRE's...they sound pretty dam good...!!!

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by thedrifter View Post
    Each meal costs the government $7.25.
    Wow! There is a local surplus store that sells only the main meal for that price.

    I always thought MRE's should come with 5 cigarettes or a little can of dip and water purification tablets.

    I miss Country Captain Chicken.

  6. #6
    Honestly some are kinda tasty, personally sometimes i enjoy them over the slop they call chow in the chow hall. They got the tuna one. its starkist tuna pack with a pack of mayo. Then its also loaded with good extra **** like a shake skittles.

  7. #7
    Tobacco was extracted from c-rats somewhere in the 70's, water purification chemicals came separate. I still use heat tabs and the can opener, both available at the local surplus store. One tab will boil or purify water and scald a can of meat alot quicker than a 10 minute heater pack, and start poor firewood with the left over fuel. As i recall, 1 c-rat unit weighed a couple pounds, and bulky. If your humpin more than a days chow your pack feels like a bag of crooked rocks.

    When certain unopened cans are discarded in a fire pit, (peanut butter, jam) they will explode with a report like that of a heavy caliber weapon. countless tin cans buried in the top soil at Pendleton and Lejeune will surface decades from now (some still full) cause that what metal does, and turn up at flea marts and antiques road show

  8. #8
    Marine Free Member sparkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    The Kingdom of Nye
    So, Where is the toilet paper? I'm gonna keep my ' John Wayne'. Semper Fi C-Rats.

  9. #9
    Yeah i was in maybe less than a year before they switched over to mre's. I agree with Big Jim the c-rats were better. I almost forgot that s**t paper did come with the old c-rats. You had to get quite a few c-rats to get enough s**t paper to wipe your tail. I also remember the old c-rats use to come with a few pieces of chiclets gum. The boxes were a little bulky i miss the pound cake though.

    Semper Fi 4 Life
    Yours is not to question why but to do or die!!!

  10. #10
    All MRE's have all you speak of darkgreen

  11. #11
    those strawberry shakes got me out of a lot of firewatch

  12. #12
    Coffee and hot chocolate out of a steel pot a true wakee up call

  13. #13
    Yeah that was a good combo together.

  14. #14
    Marine Free Member sparkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    The Kingdom of Nye
    Remember the coffee packets? I put 2 in my canteen cup and heated with a tab,,,,, Only thing I can figure, I sturred with a jungle stick. I got damm sick.
    Good times with C-Rats. Bring your tabasco. I miss the 4 pack Lucky Strikes w moist proof matches.

    Anyone here had trouble with K-Rats?

  15. #15

    Want to open this back up. . .

    Question: How long do these last, i.e., are they to last as long as C-Rations?

    Have any of you laid any of these away in case of a disaster or attack on our country?

    Hey, I'm old school. Think we were eating what was left over from WWII when we were in Nam. At least it tasted like it. . .

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