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The AUSA Global Force Symposium is all about the newest and coolest military technology, and although not everyone may be able to relate to holographic jets and laser technology, we can all relate to food.

The meal ready-to-eat, or MRE, was first used by the military during the Vietnam War.

“When we were eating a lot of canned food, canned rations, they were looking for a lighter weight, lower-volume option. And the MRE fulfilled that need,” said Jeremy Whitsitt, Deputy Director for the Combat Feeding Program.

The MRE is just as it sounds– ready to eat. A soldier can eat it right out of the pouch!

“They’ve gone through a process that helps them stay shelf stable,” Whitsitt said.

In fact, they have a shelf life of three years.

“It can be airdropped, dragged through the mud, thrown off the back of a truck, very durable, but provides the soldiers with the right nutrition and the calories that they need to complete their mission,” Whitsitt said.

And this “food technology” is improving more and more to fit the specific needs of soldiers. The most recent ration that was fielded is the M.O.R.E.– The Modular Operation Ration Enhancement. These supplemental MRE’s are tailored to the environment that they are consumed in.

“At high altitude or in a cold weather environment you need certain nutrition, and a certain nutritional profile, and this will provide that,” Whitsitt said.

Soldiers are extremely innovative, even with their rations! Because who doesn’t like having some fun by creating new recipes. Soldiers use MRE’s to make other things, like “Ranger Pudding.”

“Taking the dehydrated cocoa powder, and mixing it in crackers, and creamer and some water and kinda stirring it up,” Whitsitt explained.

The AUSA Global Force Symposium will be at the Von Braun Center through Wednesday at 4 p.m. You can learn more about MRE’s and even try some samples at the tables surrounding the US Army booth.