Theodore's World: First Strike Ration Heading to Warfighters

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September 09, 2007

First Strike Ration Heading to Warfighters

Two Soldiers look at the components of the First Strike Ration during a recent evaluation at Fort Bliss, Texas.

First Strike Ration Heading to Warfighters
Army News Service

A new compact, eat-on-the-move assault ration is well on its way to warfighters' hands.

"The First Strike Ration is intended for the first-on-the-ground, first-to-fight warfighter," said Barbara Daley, food technologist and FSR project officer, Combat Feeding Directorate, U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.

Usually when warfighters are issued two or more Meals, Ready-to-Eat they "field strip" them to lessen the bulk and weight they are carrying.

Personnel at NSRDEC found that not only were warfighters tossing what they considered extra weight, such as the flameless ration heater and Tabasco sauce, but they were also tossing food items. According to the Product Optimization and Evaluation Team at NSRDEC, if a warfighter is given 3,600 calories, he or she will often strip it down to 2,500 calories.

The FSR attempts to reduce this stripping by providing a lighter, smaller package with eat-on-the-go items that also enhance performance. These items are calorically dense and provide appropriate nutritional content and energy to warfighters for short durations of highly mobile, highly intense combat operations.

Items included in the FSR include:
pocket sandwiches
First Strike energy bars
Zapplesauce a carbohydrate-enhanced applesauce
high-energy drinks
pouches of tuna and chunk chicken
and caffeinated gum.

The FSR is designed to be about half the size of the three MREs it replaces and it provides, on average, 2,900 calories per day. "It is not intended to sustain the warfighter for long periods of time," Ms. Daley emphasized.

Because of its lower caloric content, the FSR is classified by the Office of the Surgeon General as a restricted ration. As such, it can only be used as a sole source of food for ten days or less in accordance with Army Regulation 40-25.

CFD conducted user evaluations on the FSR in Nevada and Germany in fiscal 2004, and in Afghanistan and Iraq in fiscal 2005. When compared with a field-stripped MRE in Iraq in 2005, more than 70 percent of Soldiers said the FSR was more convenient to carry and consume than the MRE.

"The best feedback we have received to date has been from warfighters participating in OIF/OEF in the mountains of Afghanistan and Iraq. They loved it," Ms. Daley said.

More than 6,500 FSRs have been used in theater in response to urgent requests by 25th Infantry Division and the Marine Corps, and modifications have been incorporated based on warfighter's feedback.

Lt. Col. David Exton, 25th Infantry Division, told CFD: "You have created something great here. Do not fail in this ration. Need to make these happen for the Soldiers who go outside the wire. Could not get enough of them into theater."

In July 2006, CFD conducted an operational test at Fort Bragg, N.C. With more than 100 Soldiers participating from an Airborne Infantry Battalion, one group consumed the FSR for three days while the other group consumed MREs for three days. Then the groups switched. From monitoring what the Soldiers ate and what they threw out, CFD saw less waste and greater consumption with the groups eating the FSR.

Based upon these successful tests, and the introduction of this ration in-theater, the demand for the FSR is immense.

Posted by Wild Thing at September 9, 2007 12:45 AM


... like Duncan Hunter says, "The GITMO terrorists are eating fried fish and rice pilaf!" Eat PORK - the other white meat!

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at September 9, 2007 04:46 AM

...And I'll bet there are no cigarettes included in the surpirse package either. Afterall, cigarette smoking can be dangerous to your health.

Do they still include the little package of writing paper ? ...And no John Wayne 'key', (p-38),What's the world coming to.

PC meals for the troops.

Posted by: Mark at September 9, 2007 09:25 AM

Darth, thank you so much for saying that. Duncan Hunter was so great how he said that.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 9, 2007 12:23 PM

Mark PC meals is right.
Love your comment too.

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 9, 2007 12:24 PM

I have heard that the MREs are terrible. They say the old C Rations were much better, and the old LRRP rations were the best. Funny, I also heard the Brits will trade anything for MREs, but the poor Brits have always had lousy rations.

Maybe the FSRs will be more to the troops liking. I bet if Congress had to eat military packaged rations just once a week, there would be money appropriated to develop gourmet rations.

Posted by: TomR at September 9, 2007 01:44 PM

Tom, hahahahaha I bet that too. That might be a good suggestion to do, even for a little while. Feed Congress military packaged meals once a week say for a year.
heh heh

Posted by: Wild Thing at September 10, 2007 02:46 AM