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In January 2016, the Army put out a call for 18 to 62 year-old people to risk the health of their insides by participating in a study to test what 21 days worth of Meals-Ready-to-Eat would do to the human body.
It’s unclear whether or not someone actually answered that call, but the Independent Journal Review decided to stage a similar study of its own. And as a guinea pig, they chose reporter Juan Leon, who had never consumed an MRE in his life.
“I was the lucky volunteer,” Leon wrote.
The rules for the IJ Review challenge were simple: Leon had to agree to eat nothing but MREs for 21 days, and he could only eat two of them per day. Easy, right?
Leon initially thought so, but by week two his confidence began to wane, giving way to something else: extreme physical discomfort.
“By the end of the first week, things started getting rough. Going into the second week I felt bloated all the time,” he wrote.
Of course Leon felt bloated. The sodium-packed meals are designed to last five years in extreme conditions, and each meal is meant to provide an average of 1,250 calories. Even the Defense Department admits they are not meant to be consumed for more than a few days at a time.
And while they’re incredibly nutritious, many of the food items found in MREs, like the bag of dehydrated chili with beans, can wreak unspeakable havoc on a person’s intestines. Any soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine could have warned young Leon that bathroom issues were bound to arise.
In a video documenting the challenge, a visibly uncomfortable Leon appears frequenting the bathroom both at home and at work. One of his colleagues even suggests he smells like dog food.
He wrote, “I would alternate between vicious cycles of spending hours in the bathroom and then not being able to go at all.”
After the three week trial was up, Leon wrote that he was grateful that “this godforsaken challenge” was over, adding: “So having gone through this challenge — eating nothing but MREs for 21 days — do I now know what it’s like to be a soldier? Of course not.”
This article originally appeared on Military.com.
Inside Forward Operating Base Oqab in Kabul, Afghanistan stands a wall painted with a mural of an airman kneeling before a battlefield cross. Beneath it, a black gravestone bookended with flowers and dangling dog tags displays the names of eight U.S. airmen and an American contractor killed in a horrific insider attack at Kabul International Airport in 2011.
It's one of a number of such memorials ranging from plaques, murals and concrete T-walls scattered across Afghanistan. For the last eight years, those tributes have been proof to the families of the fallen that their loved ones have not been forgotten. But with a final U.S. pullout from Afghanistan possibly imminent, those families fear the combat-zone memorials may be lost for good.
After a string of high profile incidents, the commander overseeing the Navy SEALs released an all hands memo stating that the elite Naval Special Warfare community has a discipline problem, and pinned the blame on those who place loyalty to their teammates over the Navy and the nation they serve.
A group of vets are raising money to pay for a medal the Iraqi government awarded them, but never delivered
In June 2011 Iraq's defense minister announced that U.S. troops who had deployed to the country would receive the Iraq Commitment Medal in recognition of their service. Eight years later, millions of qualified veterans have yet to receive it.
The reason: The Iraqi government has so far failed to provide the medals to the Department of Defense for approval and distribution.
A small group of veterans hopes to change that.
For a cool $8.5 million, you could be the proud owner of a "fully functioning" F-16 A/B Fighting Falcon fighter jet that a South Florida company acquired from Jordan.
The combat aircraft, which can hit a top speed of 1,357 mph at 40,000 feet, isn't showroom new — it was built in 1980. But it still has a max range of 2,400 miles and an initial climb rate of 62,000 feet per minute and remains militarized, according to The Drive, an automotive website that also covers defense topics, WBDO News 96.5 reported Wednesday.