Government Technology Featured Article
January 31, 2013
Combat Feeding Directorate NSRDEC Showcases New Rations Technology to Veterans
By Arvind Arora, TMCnet Contributor
Defense forces have to face a wide range of hostile situations while serving the nation on their missions overseas. In order to maintain their physical and mental health in a sound state, it’s imperative that they’re provided with nutritious food on a regular basis.
Combat Feeding Directorate of U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center introduced a new military rations technology solution to the veterans from a town named Hopkinton during their monthly veterans’ breakfast.
Members of the local American Legion McDonough-Carlberg Post 202 led the breakfast that took place at the Hopkinton Senior Center. The Hopkinton Lions Club-sponsored event started with the Pledge of Allegiance (News - Alert), and was attended by more than three dozen veterans and several spouses.
Apart from being fed, veterans were also offered an update upon the military ration technology by Patti Cariveau and Bob Bernazzani from the Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate. The duo shed light on how the rations technology has evolved throughout the years, with the help of some vintage rations they brought along with them.
World War II-era K Rations, and the Korean War and Vietnam War-era C Rations were readily identified by a number of veterans, while some of them recalled how they disliked eating the same canned rations day after day during their postings in combat zones overseas.
Afterwards, both Cariveau and Bernazzani showcased how Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC), also known as Natick Labs locally, has played a vital role in the development of next-generation rations. Some of these products are advanced ‘Meals, Ready to Eat’ (MRE) and the First Strike Ration.
They emphasized how the First Strike Ration was received very enthusiastically when it was launched. It had been used by the U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
“Soldiers and Marines going on long patrols would need to take more than one MRE with them, but that meant food that took up space in their rucksacks and increased the weight they were carrying. We discovered that they were ‘field stripping’ their rations, taking apart the packaging and only taking part of the meal with them,” commented Cariveau. “This led to troops not getting all the nutrition they needed on missions so Combat Feeding’s packaging and food technology experts decided to create a new ration, the First Strike Ration, which included all the components of three MREs, but without the extra bulk and weight of the packaging; and at the same time using meal items that were easier to eat while on the move and more acceptable to the troops.”
In July 2012, a Land and Sea Robotics Camp ran July 9-12 and then July 16-19 at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in collaboration with the NSRDEC and the Natick summer academic school systems. Army engineers, civilian employees and Soldiers helped support the camp, which integrated Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, known as STEM.
The STEM program was attended by 20 middle school students assisted by 14 high school volunteers.
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Edited by Braden Becker
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