The Tetris-style packing prowess of the American infantryman is unparalleled, enabling a grunt to cram weeks’ worth of supplies into a single pack before stepping off on an op.
The Department of Defense is trying to make that process a little bit easier with the fanciest MRE we’ve ever seen.
According to Military.com’s Matthew Cox, the military plans to begin field-testing the new Close Combat Assault Ration by 2020. The ration weighs about 1.5 pounds and takes up three quarters less space in a service member’s pack. And while the end goal is to get the new ration in troops’ hands by 2023, but the assault ration won’t replace existing MREs across the board.
Say what you will about the presentation, but that's a lot of food in a tiny package.U.S. Army photo by Gary Sheftick
A sample menu for the ration includes the following, according to a May 25 Army press release:
- Tart cherry nut bar.
- Cheddar cheese bar.
- Mocha dessert bar.
- Vacuum-dried strawberries.
- Trail mix.
- Korean barbeque stir fry packet.
- Four teeny tiny spinach quiches.
- Six little pieces of French toast.
- And a banana that was “vacuum microwave dried” so it’s now about a third of its original size.
Each individual item is perfect for those deliberately-posed food shots that rule Instagram, so just throw down a poncho liner, carefully arrange some of those mini quiches, toss in a few 5.56 mm rounds down, and voilà: you're a frontline foodie.
Still in its prototype phase, the vacuum microwave drying process used to package each ration is designed to shrink each portion to roughly half its size. Sure, that doesn’t sound appetizing, but be real: when’s the last time your mouth watered over the words “shaped BBQ pork patty?”
With the assault ration, troops headed out on a lengthy mission can forgo ratfucking a dozen MREs, a process that normally involves pilfering an MRE box and keeping only the entrees you have room for Instead, Military.com notes that a service member can take half the number of assault rations and still get up to 3,000 calories a day. Though, maybe go easy on the snacks — if not for your waistline, do it for your colon.
There’s one crucial thing missing from original Army press release on the new assault rations: the inclusion of napkins, an essential substitute for toilet paper in the field. This could be by design, though. Just think about that menu list for a moment: cheddar cheese bar, mini quiches; french toast — there’s no way you’re dropping a deuce any time soon after eating all that.