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Judging by the havoc MREs wreak on service members from beginning to end, you might guess that the military doesn’t give a shit about soldiers’ bowels. And you would be right. That means it falls on your humble Task & Purpose reporter to investigate the long-held myth that the gum in MREs will help you either release the floodgates or stop up the sewage, if you will, depending on what color it is.
“[The] red one is laxative, and white one is anti-diarrheal,” on Rally Point user post suggests. “So soldiers in the field can control and plan their bowel movements according to a [sic] mission needs.”
Task & Purpose decided to go directly to the source on this one: Army Natick Soldier Systems Center, which is charged with supplying food to the military.
“I can say without hesitation that it is only a myth,” wrote David Accetta, an Army veteran and chief of public affairs at Natick. “Any ideas about that being the purpose of the gum are completely incorrect.”
Task & Purpose photo
In reality, the gum serves a much more straightforward, if boring, purpose: keeping service members’ teeth clean.
According to Accetta, the gum “protects your teeth, which is especially important if you do not have the opportunity to brush your teeth after every meal.”
And that is often the case in the field.
He added that the 2004 Joint Services Operational Ration Forum chose to put xylitol gum in the MRE packages. It went into production in 2005 and is still given to service members to prevent stank breath today. Previously, the gum was just a sugar-based chewable. But chewing xylitol gum daily can result in a 30% to 85% reduction in tooth decay, which is important, because we all know that bad dental health means the terrorists win.
So… if the service admits to keeping military members’ choppers clean with their MRE gum, isn’t there really a chance that they might imbue it with some Roto-Rooter qualities, too?
No dice, Accetta said. “I was in the Army for 25 years before I started to work here, and am a Veteran of Desert Storm, OIF I, II-III, and OEF VIII,” he wrote.
“I can tell you with absolute certainty that the gum does not have those effects, was never designed to impact or affect your bowels, and does not control regularity.”
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Known for acting on impulse, President Donald Trump has adopted an uncharacteristically go-slow approach to whether to hold Iran responsible for attacks on Saudi oil facilities, showing little enthusiasm for confrontation as he seeks re-election next year.
After state-owned Saudi Aramco's plants were struck on Saturday, Trump didn't wait long to fire off a tweet that the United States was "locked and loaded" to respond, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran.
But four days later, Trump has no timetable for action. Instead, he wants to wait and see the results of investigations into what happened and is sending Pompeo to consult counterparts in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week.
That sound you're hearing is Army senior leaders exhaling a sigh of relief, because the Army has surpassed its recruiting goal for the year.
After failing to meet recruiting goals in 2018, the Army put the pedal to the metal and "did some soul searching," said Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, to ensure that they'd meet their 2019 goal. It must have paid off — the service announced on Tuesday that more than 68,000 recruits have signed on as active-duty soldiers, and more soldiers have stuck around than they expected.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein transformed into the Cigarette Smoking Man from "The X-Files" on Tuesday when explaining why UFO enthusiasts should avoid storming the mythical Area 51 installation in Nevada.
"All joking aside, we're taking it very seriously," Goldfein told reporters during the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. "Our nation has secrets, and those secrets deserve to be protected. The people deserve to have our nation's secrets protected."
SAN DIEGO — A San Diego-based Navy SEAL acquitted of murder in a closely watched war crimes trial this summer has filed a lawsuit against two of his former attorneys and a military legal defense nonprofit, according to a complaint filed in federal court in Texas on Friday.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — The Air Force is reviewing whether some airmen's valor awards deserve to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said on Tuesday.
Goldfein revealed that several airmen are being considered for the nation's highest military award during a press conference at the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. He declined to say exactly who could receive the Medal of Honor, pending the outcome of the review process.