Moreover, catering to individual tastes and preferences would encourage service members to actually consume the whole ration and its nutrition.
Most importantly, the use of specialized forces in extreme environments and the necessity of carrying increasingly heavy field loads while on foot during extended missions required significantly lighter alternatives to standard canned wet rations.
However, just as with the Jungle ration, its expense compared to canned wet rations, as well as the costs of stocking and storing a specialized field ration, led to its limited usage and repeated attempts at discontinuance by Quartermaster Command officials.
Attached is a picture of the first prototype of the MRE.
Dr Abdul Rahman, a food scientist at the Natick Labs shows General William Westmoreland his team's work in 1968.
Dr Abdul Rahman has been credited as the modern day father of the MRE.
The Meal, Ready-to-Eat – commonly known as the MRE – is a self-contained, individual field ration in lightweight packaging bought by the United States military for its service members for use in combat or other field conditions where organized food facilities are not available.
The MRE replaced the canned MCI, or Meal, Combat, Individual rations, in 1981, During the Civil War, the military moved toward canned goods.Later, self-contained kits were issued as a whole ration and contained canned meat, pork, bread, coffee, sugar and salt.During the First World War, canned meats were replaced with lightweight preserved meats (salted or dried) to save weight and allow more rations to be carried by soldiers carrying their supplies on foot.At the beginning of World War II, a number of new field rations were introduced, including the Mountain ration and the Jungle ration.However, cost-cutting measures by Quartermaster Command officials during the latter part of World War II and the Korean War again saw the predominance of heavy canned C rations issued to troops, regardless of operating environment or mission.After repeated experiences dating from before World War II, Pentagon officials ultimately realized that simply providing a nutritionally balanced meal in the field was not adequate.