Filling Those MREs
Even civilians are familiar with the USA’s MREs, or Meals Ready to Eat. While there are reports that the French RCIR (Ration de Combat Individuelle Rechauffable) has superior trade value on the front lines, MREs are generally considered to be a significant improvement over earlier US rations. As our readers will see later in this article, they can also have a useful secondary function as RPG protection.
MREs have to come from somewhere, however, which explains three firm-fixed-price, indefinite-quantity type contracts recently issued by the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia (DSCP) in Philadelphia, PA. There were 32 proposals solicited and 4 responded. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, and the completion date is Dec. 19, 2006. Winners included…
- Sterling Foods, Ltd. in San Antonio, TX won a maximum $39.9 million contract for bakery items for use in the MRE. (SPM3S1-06-Z118).
- Small business qualifier Caravan Trading Co. in Union City, CA won a maximum $7.4 million contract for pound cakes for use in the MRE (SPM3S1-06-Z116).
- The Wornick Co. in McAllen, TX won a maximum $5.6 million contract for tortillas and cookies for use in the MRE (SPM3S1-06-Z117).
DID readers with a high fright threshold might wish to view a set of comparative photos of modern army rations from various militaries. All I can say is, even if you knew nothing about China, you could guess that their soldiers are draftees. Yecch!
Finally, while it doesn’t impinge on these contracts, we thought we’d pass on this interesting pointer that one reader threw our way after we had covered another MRE contract in June 2005. We were pointed at a piece that contained this interesting email from the commander of a sapper company:
“My company attacked with the Task Force (TF) in every major battle with XXXXXX. We were either 2nd or 3rd in the order of movement (OOM) for every battle but one in which we were 4th. We were in the middle of the action. Even though our light tracked M113A2s could go off-road, if we did, a M1 Abrams heavy tank would ‘eat it’ and get stuck, so we stayed road-bound for their sake. I’m not sure of this but I’d say my M113’s ate more RPGs and small arms than any other deployed to Iraq to date. We made several modifications that I’m convinced saved the lives of 5-10 Sappers because we were able to ‘absorb’ RPGs in a very unconventional manner. We basically made our M113’s mobile fighting positions by welding together storage racks and bolting them to the outside of our vehicles. We then filled them with equipment and supplies to create ‘baffling’. If we ate a case full of meals, ready-to-eat (MREs), we took the empty box and filled it with dirt and placed it back in the external racks to provide extra ballistic protection. When RPGs hit, they would hit a rucksack or a hard equipment case and go off, and fail to do more than gouge a hole in the vehicle’s side.
As it was all we had just 6 Soldiers wounded, 4 were shot by AK47s and two had mortar shrapnel wounds; pretty good all things considered but could have been prevented if we had more gunshields on the top of our M113s like the Israelis have. Even after the ‘war phase’ was over, I always rode from base camp to say Baghdad International Airport in my M113 instead of a wheeled HMMWV, why risk your life on a roll of the dice?” (source URL)
Who knew? Now, you do too.