The Evolution of America’s Military Diet

From salted beef and canned From bread to pizza to cheesecake, the U.S. military diet has come a long way.

Revolutionary War: To prevent scurvy in soldiers who ate a lot of salted beef, pork, and fish, George Washington’s troops were given a quart of spruce beer (a handy source of vitamin C used since Viking times) every day. was taken.

civil war: A Union soldier’s standard ration included one pound each of salted pork and hardtack. When dried bread grew moldy or maggots, soldiers boiled the bread with coffee to kill the pests.

World War I: The food reserves that sustained the U.S. forces through trench warfare consisted of about 4,000 calories a day, mostly in the form of canned meats and vegetables. To spice things up a little, the soldiers received half a pound of candy every 10 days, as well as cigarettes and tobacco paper to roll themselves.

Second World War: Veterans don’t get much praise for the C-Ration, or “C-Rat,” which was developed in 1938 and is a seven-pound bundle stuffed with canned meats such as corned beef, hard tack, and ground coffee.

Korean War and Vietnam War: Bulky Combat Meal (MCI) rations were replaced by ready-to-eat meals (MRE) in cardboard boxes, approximately 1,200 calories each. This was long before the invention of flameless food heaters, so soldiers would sometimes use his C4 explosives to heat their dinners. One of the most significant changes was that in 1975 the US military stopped bringing tobacco into the country. This was a very unpopular move.

Return to How to Feed the Military for a visit to the world’s largest and most advanced military food research and development laboratory.

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