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Here’s The Ridiculous Story Behind A ‘Rock Or Something’
If you’ve served in the military in the last quarter century, then you’ve probably eaten an MRE, and unless you really enjoyed choking down cold congealed pasta and some vaguely meat-like product, then you used a flameless ration heater.
And that means you’re familiar with this gem of a phrase: “rock or something.”
The instructions for how to properly use an MRE heater advises the user to lean the heater “against a rock, or something.” Your Kevlar, your boots, another MRE bag, a Rip-It. Anything really.
The vague nature of the instructions has led the phrase to reappear in news feeds, sarcastically quipped in conversation, and even as the subject of satirical posts. But, where did “rock or something” come from?
"The term 'rock or something' has now reached cult status," said Lauren Oleksyk, a team leader of the food processing, engineering and technology team at Combat Feeding Directorate, according to an Army news release on the ration heater.
Oleksyk and teammates Bob Trottier and Don Pickard coined the phrase in 1993.
The ration heater does exactly what its name implies. With just an ounce-and-a-half of water, the magnesium-iron alloy and sodium in the heater will raise the temperature of an MRE’s eight-ounce main meal by 100 degrees in just 10 minutes.
Lauren Oleksyk holds a Flameless Ration Heater and a Meal, Ready-to-Eat.U.S. Army photo by David Kamm
"We were designing the [flameless ration heater] directions and wanted to show an object to rest the heater on," said Oleksyk, who recalled Pickard saying: “‘I don't know. Let's make it a rock or something.’ So we wrote 'rock or something' on the object, kind of as a joke."
It’s taken on a life of its own since then, being rebranded as a meme, pasted all over t-shirts, and even recreated as decals.
— inkfidel (@theinkfidel) August 12, 2015
“There are many, many soldiers over the years that have their own personal joke about what they might use in place of a rock," said Oleksyk.
So next time you're out in the field wondering why the military thought you needed semi-sarcastic instructions on what best to lean an MRE heater against, now you know.
The top leaders of a Japan-based Marine Corps F/A-18D Hornet squadron were fired after an investigation into a deadly mid-air collision last December found that poor training and an "unprofessional command climate" contributed to the crash that left six Marines dead, officials announced on Monday.
Five Marines aboard a KC-130J Super Hercules and one Marine onboard an F/A-18D Hornet were killed in the Dec. 6, 2018 collision that took place about 200 miles off the Japanese coast. Another Marine aviator who was in the Hornet survived.
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Although the total population of veterans declined by 18% during that span of years, more than 6,000 veterans died by suicide annually, according to the VA's 2019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he discussed Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his son in a call with Ukraine's president.
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The USS Eagle 56 was only five miles off the coast of Maine when it exploded.
The World War I-era patrol boat split in half, then slipped beneath the surface of the North Atlantic. The Eagle 56 had been carrying a crew of 62. Rescuers pulled 13 survivors from the water that day. It was April 23, 1945, just two weeks before the surrender of Nazi Germany.
The U.S. Navy classified the disaster as an accident, attributing the sinking to a blast in the boiler room. In 2001, that ruling was changed to reflect the sinking as a deliberate act of war, perpetuated by German submarine U-853, a u-boat belonging to Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine.
Still, despite the Navy's effort to clarify the circumstances surrounding the sinking, the Eagle 56 lingered as a mystery. The ship had sunk relatively close to shore, but efforts to locate the wreck were futile for decades. No one could find the Eagle 56, a small patrol ship that had come so close to making it back home.
Then, a group of friends and amateur divers decided to try to find the wreck in 2014. After years of fruitless dives and intensive research, New England-based Nomad Exploration Team successfully located the Eagle 56 in June 2018.
Business Insider spoke to two crew members — meat truck driver Jeff Goodreau and Massachusetts Department of Corrections officer Donald Ferrara — about their discovery.