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Old 12-26-2004, 08:43 PM   #1
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First Strike Rations

‘First-strike rations’ developed

by Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

12/19/2003 - WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- "Ration stripping" is what they call it when forward-deployed combat servicemembers get rid of all but the most essential items from their Meals, Ready to Eat so they do not have so much to carry as they set out on a mission.

Servicemembers in Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan reported sacrificing all but a few carefully chosen food items from their MRE pouches to lighten their pockets and rucksacks.

These reports alarmed food technologists at the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center at Natick, Mass, who recognized that warfighters were not simply tossing aside "luxury" items like flameless heaters and Tabasco sauce.

Servicemembers were also leaving half of their food behind, losing half the nutrition and calories of MREs -- at a time when their bodies needed them most, said Janice Rosado from the Defense Department's combat-feeding program.

In response, center workers are developing the "first-strike ration" specifically for short-term use by warfighters during the first days of conflict, Rosado said.

First-strike rations are lighter and more compact than standard MREs. A single pouch holds a full day's food supply and weighs about 2 1/2 pounds. By comparison, three MREs are about 2 pounds heavier, Rosado said.

Besides increasing servicemembers’ mobility, the new rations are designed to enhance their physical performance and mental acuity. They contain food easily eaten on the go, she said: a pocket sandwich, beef jerky, nuts, dried cranberries, applesauce and bread or crackers with a cheese spread. Extra energy comes packed into a fudge bar, a high-carbohydrate bar, an enriched beverage mix and caffeine-laced chewing gum.

"They're a combat-driven ration that has more carbohydrates, less packaging and no luxury items," Rosado said. "They're based on what warfighters say they most frequently take with them when they're on the go."

The new rations are not intended for noncombat operations or field-training exercises, Rosado said.

They are "not nutritionally complete” and do not meet all the dietary standards required of MREs, she said. In addition, first-strike rations have fewer calories than MREs -- 2,900 to 3,000 in a one-day pouch, compared to 3,600 to 3,900 calories in three MREs.

The new rations are a big improvement over the "Band-Aid approach" servicemembers have historically used to feed themselves while on the run, Rosado said.

The new rations have been field tested by Army special operations troops and Navy SEALs, with both groups giving them the thumbs-up, Rosado said.

In fact, the latest prototype of the new ration proved so popular during testing that U.S. Army Special Operations Support Command officials requested as many of the rations that the center’s food engineering lab could make to ship to Rangers deployed to Iraq.

Current plans call for the first-strike rations to be fielded by 2007.
http://www.af.mil/news/story_print.a...ryID=123006250

http://www.natick.army.mil/soldier/m...t/food/FSR.pdf

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articl...09220170/print


http://www.strategypage.com//fyeo/ho...r/default.asp?

August 5, 2004: American troops are soon to receive combat rations that work. Since World War II, there have been numerous efforts to develop a nutritious, light weight and palatable “combat ration.” This is food for troops on the move, under stress, and without any time to stop and prepare a meal, even something like an MRE. All earlier efforts have failed, usually because the “energy bars,” and other attempts, tasted terrible. Troops would use things like rice balls, beef jerky and candy. These were ancient "combat rations," but lacked essential nutrients.

The latest U.S. Army effort is being tested with the troops, and was developed from existing commercial products and suggestions from combat soldiers. The “First Strike Ration” (FSR) contains pocket sandwiches (with up to a three year shelf life), along with a zip lock bag so a partly eaten sandwich can be saved for later. There are two one ounce servings of “Power Gel” (popular with athletes who, during a workout or race, need some easily absorbed and digested carbohydrate-based calories to replace expended glucose, also called “Energy Gel). There is a a “HooAH” energy bar, with lots of carbohydrates.

The prototype First Strike Ration (FSR) consist of two pocket sandwiches, a HooAH! booster bar, Zapplesauce, sticks of beef jerky, crackers, peanut butter, a dairy bar, ERGO “Power Gel” beverage mixes, an accessory packet and a package of dried fruit. Also available, with the FSR and separately, is “Jolt” caffeine gum, which provides about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of strong coffee. The exact composition of the FSR depends on the feedback from the troops receiving the thousands of prototype FSRs.

Each FSR contains about 2,300 calories and weighs 12 ounces (half that of an MRE containing about 1,200 calories.) The FSR is also about half the size of an MRE. Currently, troops who are going to be out and on the move for a few days, will “field strip” MREs to reduce their weight and leave behind stuff that troops don’t like. This is wasteful and time consuming. The FSR won’t be in mass production for another three years. But the current tests have thousands of prototypes going out to the troops, especially Special Forces. In fact, the Special Forces have a standing order for all the FSRs that the army development crew can put together. At this point, the army is fine tuning the FSR, which appears to be the long sought palatable combat ration that works.
**************************************************
HERE IS A PICTURE OF THE FSRs:

http://www.natick.army.mil/soldier/m...t/food/FSR.pdf
**************************************************

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articl...09220170/print

Army Logistician, Sept-Oct, 2003

First strike ration designed to meet soldiers' energy needs - Alog News - Army Soldier Systems Center, Natick, Massachusetts

Soldiers on the move soon will have a light-weight packet of food designed to give them the energy boost they need to do their jobs. The Army Soldier Systems Center at Natick, Massachusetts, is developing a single-package, high-energy, nonutensils-required ration intended to substitute for the three packages of meals, ready to eat (MREs) that soldiers now carry. Called the first strike ration (FSR), it is intended for use by forward-deployed troops in the first 72 hours of combat.

Soldiers going into combat usually remove unwanted items from their MREs to lighten the load. In so doing, a day's worth of MREs totaling 3,600 calories is shaved to between 2,200 and 2,500. Each FSR provides about 2,300 calories and is almost half the weight and volume of the MREs. The FSR fits the Army's goal of becoming lighter, leaner, and more mobile as it transitions to the Objective Force.

The current FSR prototype contains two shelf-stable pocket sandwiches (a third is being added), two flavors of miniature HooAH! bars, two servings of energy-rich, glucose-optimized (ERGO) beverage mix, a dairy bar, crackers or bread, cheese spread, two sticks of beef jerky, a package of dried fruit, a modified version of applesauce called "Zapplesauce," a Ziploc bag, and an accessory packet.

The center is working on a quick energy booster gel called "Power Fuel" to add to the FSR. The gel is designed to deliver performance-enhancing natural food elements to troops in the field. The gel contains a mixture of glucose and maltodextrin--a complex carbohydrate--along with fat and a trace of protein. Current flavors are mixed berry, apple cinnamon, cherry vanilla, and mocha. The gel ingredients include juice concentrates, various carbohydrate types, unsaturated fats, and gums; the mocha gel also has caffeine.

The FSR is scheduled for fielding in 2007.
************************************************** **

http://www.af.mil/news/story_print.a...ryID=123006250
‘First-strike rations’ developed

by Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

12/19/2003 - WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- "Ration stripping" is what they call it when forward-deployed combat servicemembers get rid of all but the most essential items from their Meals, Ready to Eat so they do not have so much to carry as they set out on a mission.

Servicemembers in Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan reported sacrificing all but a few carefully chosen food items from their MRE pouches to lighten their pockets and rucksacks.

These reports alarmed food technologists at the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center at Natick, Mass, who recognized that warfighters were not simply tossing aside "luxury" items like flameless heaters and Tabasco sauce.

Servicemembers were also leaving half of their food behind, losing half the nutrition and calories of MREs -- at a time when their bodies needed them most, said Janice Rosado from the Defense Department's combat-feeding program.

In response, center workers are developing the "first-strike ration" specifically for short-term use by warfighters during the first days of conflict, Rosado said.

First-strike rations are lighter and more compact than standard MREs. A single pouch holds a full day's food supply and weighs about 2 1/2 pounds. By comparison, three MREs are about 2 pounds heavier, Rosado said.

Besides increasing servicemembers’ mobility, the new rations are designed to enhance their physical performance and mental acuity. They contain food easily eaten on the go, she said: a pocket sandwich, beef jerky, nuts, dried cranberries, applesauce and bread or crackers with a cheese spread. Extra energy comes packed into a fudge bar, a high-carbohydrate bar, an enriched beverage mix and caffeine-laced chewing gum.

"They're a combat-driven ration that has more carbohydrates, less packaging and no luxury items," Rosado said. "They're based on what warfighters say they most frequently take with them when they're on the go."

The new rations are not intended for noncombat operations or field-training exercises, Rosado said.

They are "not nutritionally complete” and do not meet all the dietary standards required of MREs, she said. In addition, first-strike rations have fewer calories than MREs -- 2,900 to 3,000 in a one-day pouch, compared to 3,600 to 3,900 calories in three MREs.

The new rations are a big improvement over the "Band-Aid approach" servicemembers have historically used to feed themselves while on the run, Rosado said.

The new rations have been field tested by Army special operations troops and Navy SEALs, with both groups giving them the thumbs-up, Rosado said.

In fact, the latest prototype of the new ration proved so popular during testing that U.S. Army Special Operations Support Command officials requested as many of the rations that the center’s food engineering lab could make to ship to Rangers deployed to Iraq.

Current plans call for the first-strike rations to be fielded by 2007.
************************************************** **
http://www.rdecom.army.mil/rdemagazi...ke_ration.html

First Strike Ration Provides Fast Food for Initial Fight

Natick Soldier Center

Natick, Mass.-When ground troops want to lighten the field ration load they carry into battle it's referred to as "fieldstripping." The Natick Soldier Center's Combat Feeding Directorate is working to prevent the need for fieldstipping through the new First Strike Ration while boosting the nutrition they need for peak performance. Still in development, the FSR is a single package, high-energy, no-utensils-required ration that would be substituted for three packages of the Meals, Ready-to-Eat for forward-deployed troops in the first 72 hours of combat.

"About seven years ago, we said there has to be a better way to assess what items are being fieldstripped, ensure that these items contain the right nutrition level and condense the cube," said Betty Davis, Performance Enhancement and Food Safety Team leader and project officer for the FSR.

Three Meals, Ready-to-Eat, also called MREs, totaling 3,600 calories were being stripped to 2,200-2,500 calories after soldiers had tossed out unwanted contents. Each FSR hits the target with about 2,300 calories. The FSR is close to half the weight and volume of the MRE, which fits into the Army's goal of becoming lighter, leaner and more mobile as it transitions to the Objective Force. The FSR also cuts down packaging waste.

When the first concept was created two years ago, it was composed of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack pack, but Davis said the downfall was that each pouch opened the path for fieldstripping.
"Probably when the final version is in the field, soldiers will want to strip it because it's human nature, but in field tests, it has never been stripped," Davis said. "We have a great prototype FSR, but it's definitely going to be changing."
The latest prototype has proven so popular in evaluation that the U.S. Army Special Operations Support Command requested as many of the rations as the Combat Feeding employees could make in their Food Engineering Lab for shipment to Rangers deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Every food was selected for its ability to be eaten out-of-hand for troops on the move. From lessons learned from early concepts, the FSR has evolved into a single shrink-wrapped bag packed with a combination of familiar and new ration components. It currently contains two shelf-stable pocket sandwiches but will soon contain three based on feedback, two flavors of miniature HooAH! nutritious booster bars, two servings of the Energy Rich Glucose Optimized beverage mix (known as ERGO), a dairy bar, crackers or bread, cheese spread, two sticks of beef jerky, a package of dried fruit, a modified version of applesauce named "Zapplesauce," a Ziploc bag and an accessory packet missing the tiny bottle of Tabasco sauce but including an extra wet napkin.
Barbecue chicken and barbecue beef are two varieties of pocket sandwiches now available, and Davis said that more varieties will be added as they are developed. The sandwiches are approved for the MRE and offer for the first time tidy sandwiches that don't require refrigeration.
The dairy bar, likely to be renamed "dessert" bar, is available in chocolate, peanut butter, mocha, banana nut, vanilla nut, vanilla and strawberry flavors. The extruded bar, without a home since it was created about a decade ago, has the consistency of fudge and provides milk protein.

"We took it off the shelf, revisited it and made it cheaper to produce," Davis said. "A number of people here are excited about it, and it could find its way into other rations, including the MRE."

Zapplesauce is one of the best-liked components, according to Davis. The product is made with extra maltodextrin, a complex carbohydrate, for sustained energy release. Maltodextrin is also the key ingredient in ERGO, which tastes similar to a sports drink. It's intended to increase endurance by conserving glycogen, which is energy stored in the liver and muscles. The ERGO drink packs will have a "fill-to" line so users easily know how much water to pour in. Straws were desired but are not feasible, so other options are being investigated for easier drinking and may be available as technology changes, Davis said.

HooAH!, which is similar to commercial performance bars, comes in chocolate, peanut butter, apple-cinnamon, raspberry and cranraspberry flavors. HooAH! may be fortified with tyrosine or extra caffeine for performance enhancement depending on testing results from the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. Other possibilities for the FSR include breakfast-type pocket sandwiches, a protein drink or bar, high-performance energy gel and caffeinated sticks of gum.

The FSR has a shelf life of two years instead of three years at 80 degrees Fahrenheit because the rations don't have to be pre-positioned. They have to stay warmer than 20 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid freezing, and the warfighter will have to resort to another source to heat the food because no heater pack is included. Davis said she expects the FSR to be ready for fielding by 2007.
 
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Old 12-27-2004, 02:29 AM   #2
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I think a big part of success with these new meals is providing food that the soldiers actually find appetizing. I've eaten MREs and find that some of them are far tastier than the majority. Given a chance, I'd choose what I liked and dump the rest. Really can't see them chunking the Tabasco though - it makes even garbage taste almost palatable.

RIKA
 
Old 12-27-2004, 03:18 AM   #3
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RIKA, I've NEVER seen a trooper dump the tobasco sauce, so you're right on that one.
If you want a real experience, if you can find one, "eat" a c-rat can of "ham and motherf***kers" (hame and Lima beans). MREs are a gourmet meal in comparison.


Thanks for the post Garand, it's about time they made a decent "quickie" ration. Now if they could just "beef up" the MREs to taste better, as well as have a less diastrous effect on one's G.I. system with this new "food technology", that'd be great.
 
Old 12-27-2004, 03:22 AM   #4
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Some of my older friends have spoken of the C-rats. Said they were horrible. Called them 'embalmed'.

RIKA
 
Old 12-27-2004, 07:02 AM   #5
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Magnum , I really relate to what your saying, we call our MRE's, IMP's and after a couple of days on them you have no problem with constipation or "heating" your sleeping bag at night!!
 
Old 12-27-2004, 07:28 AM   #6
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Cool, interesting stuff. Thanks.
 
Old 12-27-2004, 02:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raider
Some of my older friends have spoken of the C-rats. Said they were horrible. Called them 'embalmed'.

RIKA
Well the reason I brought up "ham and mothers", is it has to be the WORST c-rat there is. They MADE us eat them (don't know where the bastards dug up c-rats, and how they got cases of nothing but Ham and Mothers, but. . .) so we wouldn't bitch about MREs.

How they got their name is, first of all, the "ham" makes SPAM look (and taste) like filet mignon. The "lima beans" are either this green paste that tastes like belly button lint smells, or they are hard as granite. So, there you are, gagging it down (sometimes you have to gag the same mouthful several times before it'll stay down), and you bite into a bean that is hard as a rock and, appropriately enough, say "MOTHERF***ER!"
 
Old 12-27-2004, 03:41 PM   #8
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Wonder what would happen if we fed those ham and whatchamacallits to gunkid?
Couldn't make him meaner; might settle him down a bit.

RIKA
 
Old 12-27-2004, 03:49 PM   #9
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YOu smelled your belly button lint???


Ewwwwwwwww
 
Old 12-27-2004, 03:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hasher
YOu smelled your belly button lint???


Ewwwwwwwww
No, I believe I first smelt such while I was with this girl I met on a 24 hour pass. . .come to think of it, I think the Ham and mothers tasted worse. . .
 
Old 12-27-2004, 04:38 PM   #11
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Erica, to prove that somethings never change in small cooler that I carry my lunch in these days still holds a P-38 can opener & a bottle of Tabasco.
 
Old 12-27-2004, 04:41 PM   #12
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You're like me. My SAK has a can opener and theres a bottle of Louisiana Hot Sauce along with packages of mustard and picante sauce in the glove compartment of my car ready for immediate duty.

RIKA
 
Old 12-27-2004, 05:09 PM   #13
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Jesus, and I thought I was the only nut that carries his own Tobasco. Have you tried the garlic tobasco or the new havanero (SP?) Tobascos? They're pretty good too.

I don't carry a P-38 anymore, but, like RIKA, I do have the can opener on the SAK and on the Gerber.

Just call us the Ration Gourmets!
 
Old 12-27-2004, 05:50 PM   #14
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The garlic tabasco is yummy.

RIKA
 
Old 12-28-2004, 01:11 PM   #15
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With the MRE's now, the P-38 is "obsolete", and those like me who carry one (I've got one on my keychain, one on my wife's keychain, and one on my dog tags for when I don't need keys) often get strange looks now. That is until someone needs to open the can of coffee and the can opener is still at home station waiting for transport over.
As to what Magnum and Garand were saying about the MRE's and digestion, I did not have any problem, except that they came out the same size and shape as the bag they came in, if only they wouldn't come out sideways.....
 
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