US Army Quartermaster Foundation
Fort Lee, Virginia

Operational Rations
Current and Future

March 1963
Prepared by:
Armed Forces Food and Container Institute
1819 W. Pershing Road
Chicago 9, Illinois




Introduction 1
General Feeding 4

Standard B Ration


Ration, Small Detachment, 5 Person


Meal Combat, Individual

Special Feeding 10

Food Packet, In-Flight, Individual


Ration, Individual, Trail, Frigid


Precooked Frozen Meals


Ration Supplement, Aid Station


Ration Supplement, Sundries Pack

Survival Feeding 18

Food Packet, Survival


Food Packet, Survival, ST


Food Packet, Survival, Arctic, SA


Food Packet, Abandon Aircraft, Individual


Food Packet, Life Raft, Aircraft


Food Packet, Abandon Ship

Future Feeding 26

Meal, Uncooked, 25-Man


Meal, Quick-Serve, 6-Man and 25-Man


Meal, Ready-to-Eat, Individual


Food Packet, Individual, Combat




The purpose of this article is to provide the essential facts pertaining to operational rations, food packets, and ration supplements used by the Armed Forces. Current design data and operational use concepts are also included. In the interest of clarity and mutual understanding, the terms describing various assemblies of food components are defined as follows

A ration is the allowance of food for one person for one day as prescribed by military regulations. Rations are designed for group and/or individual feeding and must be nutritionally adequate.

A meal is a nutritionally balanced food unit consisting of approximately one third of the prescribed daily requirement of a ration. Meals designed for use in the operational ration system are engineered to permit inter-changeability with other operational meals while insuring nutritional adequacy. A combination of any three meals would constitute a ration as defined by Army regulations.

A food packet is a short-term source of nourishment in special operational situations. It consists of prepared foods, specially selected for maximum nutritional value, palatability, and stability commensurate with the requirements for minimum weight/cubage and utility factors One or more food packets do not necessarily constitute a nutritionally complete ration.

A ration supplement is a collection of food, beverage, condiment, or comfort items intended to add to the minimum essentials of a food item in terms of nutrition, palatability, and enhancement of morale.



Since the publication of Current Operational Rations1 in 1956, significant improvements in component design, and ration and feeding concepts have been made in order to match the pace of ever-changing military requirements. These changes have been accomplished through accelerated research in the field of food and packaging and the continual improvement of existing component items.

As we follow the evolution of the Armed Forces Operational Rations through the history of the United States, we find that from the Revolutionary War, through the Civil War, and on to World War I the basic military ration was composed of meat, bread, and beans. Changes were few and in the main were inspired by changes in the National food pattern-the increasing use of canned foods, for example. The soldier generally received his allowance of one to four days' rations at one time. These he either prepared by himself or pooled with those of a buddy who assisted in the preparation. That portion not immediately consumed was transported in his rucksack, or saddle bag, until the next meal.

The first of the Army Rations was established by Congressional Resolution on November 4, 1775:

Resolved, that a ration consists of the following kind and quantity of provisions: 1 lb. beef or 3/4 lb. pork, or 1 lb. salt fish per day; 1 lb. bread or flour, per day; 3 pints of peas or beans; 1 pint of milk per man per day, or at the rate of 1/72 of a dollar; 1 half pint of rice or one pint of Indian meal, per man per day; 1 quart of spruce beer or cider per man per day, or 9 gallons of molasses per company of 100 men per week; 3 lbs. candles to 100 men per week, for guards; 24 lbs. soft or S lbs. hard soap, for 100 men per week.

The ration for U. S. troops in the Civil War was little improved over that of the Revolutionary War. Added, however, were coffee, tea, seasonings, and potatoes "when practicable." This Civil War Ration was estimated to have cost 15 cents per man per day (in contrast to the Field Ration cost of 96 plus cents per man per day as of 1 October 1962). Preparation of the food and feeding of the troops, however, was accomplished for whole companies rather than for individuals. In 1896 an Emergency Ration was established and subsequently followed by additional special rations. In 1901 the rations consisted of the Garrison, Emergency, Field, and Travel Rations. These were reduced to three in World War I and were identified as the Reserve, Trench, and Emergency Rations.

The Reserve Ration was the standard meat and bread ration which weighed 2 pounds and furnished approximately 3300 calories per man per day. The Trench Ration was designed to feed 25 men for one day. The Emergency Ration contained three 8-ounce cakes of beef powder and cooked wheat and three 1-ounce chocolate bars.

The development of operational rations used in World War II, Korea, and in improved form today, began in 1934, when the Quartermaster Corps undertook the development of a ration to replace the old emergency ration. This replacement, subsequently designated the D Ration, was developed by the predecessor agency of the Subsistence Research Laboratory in Chicago, later to become the Quartermaster Food and Container Institute for the Armed Forces.2 During the period 1941-1945, 23 different rations and ration supplements were developed for use by U. S. Armed Forces throughout the world. The most famous were the D Bar, C Ration, and K Ration.

Military nutritional requirements and feeding situations have not changed basically since the days of Hannibal and Genghis Khan. Essentially, it has always been necessary to supply rations on the basis of (1) the individual, (2) the small group (squad or crews), and (3) the large group (company size or larger).

Conceding the foregoing basic feeding situations, it is found that modern concepts of ration design have changed considerably to accommodate the ever increasing demand for greater mobility and dispersion of combat forces. To assure utility under anticipated future combat conditions, all rations must be not only minimal in cube and weight but also in manpower and equipment requirements associated with their supply, storage, issue, and preparation. Requirements for nutritional adequacy, acceptability, and stability, however, remain relatively unchanged. To fulfill current and future operational ration requirements, off-the-shelf, conventional foods would be quite inadequate. Needed are foods preserved and packaged by new and ingenious methods. Consequently, the resources of modern science and technology are drawn upon all the way from design to finished product. New technologies have been brought to bear on foods for military use-for example, freeze-dehydration and radiation preservation.

To stay abreast of new concepts and techniques of warfare, rations and feeding systems are under the constant scrutiny of the military analyst. The military and civilian food and container research specialists are continually seeking component and design improvement as well as completely new and revolutionary ideas. As new requirements in military feeding operations become evident, or as advances are made in experimental work leading to new or improved items, ration and/or entire concepts may be changed to reflect these advances. Typical of the ration modernization program designed to improve the individual feeding situation is the development of the Meal, Combat Individual as a replacement for the C Ration (Ration, Individual, Combat). The Meal, Combat, Individual more closely fits the requirements of current operational concepts and has the desired flexibility of use compatible with those concepts.

To meet food needs under the various conditions imposed by modern land, sea, and air operations new approaches have been taken to insure feeding systems of greater logistical flexibility and simplicity. This has resulted in the design, for instance, of a system of nutritionally interchangeable family of meals. At the present time, by contrast, the major portion of available stocks of bulk and packaged operational food is designed for issue on the ration basis. To fully understand the advantages accruing from a system of nutritionally interchangeable meals, one must first consider the limitations imposed by the use of the ration system.

As previously mentioned, a ration consists of food for one man for one day and therefore must contain minimally 3600 calories as well as prescribed levels of the dietary nutrients essential to nutritional balance. An obvious limitation is that the entire ration must be eaten during the course of the day in order to maintain that balance. This means that one ration cannot be broken down into three basically interchangeable units as is the ease in the system of nutritionally interchangeable meal families.

It is the intent of this. booklet to place these rations, meals, food packets, and ration supplements in proper perspective with relation to their intended use and to provide current data on the composition and status of each item. To this end the reader is informed of (1) what items are presently available in the system, (2) where they are intended to be used, and (3) what items can be expected to be available in the future. This can best be presented by covering four broad categories

(1) General Feeding Situations; (2) Special Feeding Situations; (3) Survival Feeding;  (4) Future Feeding Concepts.

General Feeding Requirements. The need for an "operational" ration for the subsistence of the military man operating away from conventional field ration supply lines was recognized as early as pre-Revolutionary War days when our military action consisted principally of a guerrilla type of warfare on both the land and sea. As will be evident, most operational rations and ration components have been designed to fulfill a general feeding requirement.

The operational food items in this category--Ration and Meal-- were designed to satisfy the feeding requirements as dictated by the large group, the small group, and the individual feeding situations. The degree of flexibility allowed the commander in fulfilling his feeding requirement is determined by the type of operational ration available for his use.

Food items considered to fulfill general as opposed to special feeding requirements may be used by all of the Armed Forces --Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.

Special Feeding Situations. The various rations, packets and supplements classified and described in this group include those which, while authorized for use by all Services, are not routinely procured and stocked. Such items would, of course, be made available in the event of mobilization. Also included are those items authorized for limited or special purpose use, such as items developed to meet the specific requirements of one Service.

Survival Feeding. Survival food packets are used only in emergency situations. Since the space provided for them aboard lifeboats and aircraft is extremely limited, the foods are highly concentrated. They are designed to fulfill one purpose--sustaining personnel over a period of emergency.

Future Feeding Concepts.. Changing tactical and logistical requirements have made mandatory the simplification of logistics. The new family of nutritionally interchangeable meals is responsive to this requirement in the area of food logistics. Fortunately, modern advances in the food sciences and technologies have made possible the development of high quality meals capable of rapid preparation in the field. Presently being developed are the Meal, Uncooked, 25-Man; Meal, Quick-Serve; Meal, Ready-to-Eat, Individual; and the Food Packet, Individual, Combat. These rations will eventually replace a number of current operational rations.
1 Activities Report, 7:10-23, 72-91, 170-179, 1955.  Reprinted as booklet, 1956
2  Present name:  Armed Forces Food and Container Institute.

General Feeding

Standard B Ration

The Standard B Ration is the field ration which is used for mass feeding in areas where kitchen facilities, with the exception of refrigeration, are available. The ration consists of approximately 100 non-perishable items mainly canned and dehydrated-and is supplied in bulk. Hot meals furnishing approximately 3900 calories a man per day are prepared using a 15-day cycle of menus. Caloric content may be varied to meet requirements of varying climatic conditions or degree of physical activity of the troops as determined by the local medical authority.

Typical Menus

Orange Juice Tomato-Vegetable Soup Grilled Corned Beef
Hot Wheat Cereal w/Crackers Mustard
Griddle Cakes w/Hot Baked Chicken and Rice  Lyonnaise Potatoes
Maple Syrup Cranberry Sauce Stewed Tomatoes


Buttered Green Beans Cabbage and Green Pepper
Bread Sweet Pickles  Salad
Margarine Bread Cornbread
Jelly  Margarine Margarine
Coffee Yellow Cake/Chocolate Jam


Cream Icing

Apple Crisp
Gross weight/ration 4.325 pounds
Net weight/ration 3.350 pounds
Gross cube/ration .120 en. feet
Calories/ration 3900 approx
Specification SB 10-495
AFM 146-4

Ration Small Detachment, 5 Person

Food for five persons for one day, packed in one ease, are provided by the Ration, Small Detachment, 5 Persons. It is used for small group feeding where organized messing is not feasible. The ration satisfies the need of gun crews, tank crews, wire laying patrols, and other similar groups deployed beyond the range of unit kitchens. The canned meats and vegetable items are intended to be eaten hot and are prepared with small detachment cooking outfits or individual mess equipment. Five different menus provide variety. Each menu is nutritionally adequate and supplies approximately 3600 calories per ration. Under certain special conditions, e.g., amphibious exercises, the ration may be used for a limited time for organizational feeding. This item is issued as a ration only as its design does not support issue in meal increments. It is not suitable for issue to individuals (i.e., 1 man for 5 days) since most of its components are packaged in 5-man portions. To facilitate procurement, wherever possible, commercially marketed can sizes are utilized for all components. Accessory items including cigarettes, matches, towels soap, 15 spoons, a can opener, chewing gum, and salt are furnished in this ration.

Typical Menus

Fruit Cocktail Ham and Gravy Vegetable Beef Soup
Fried Bacon Corn Meat Balls & Spaghetti
Beans w/Tomato Sauce Green Beans Cheese Spread
Bread Bread Bread
Peanut Butter Jam Sweet Chocolate Discs
Coffee or Cocoa Fruit Cake Coffee
Cream and Sugar<-td> Candy Bar<-td> Cream and Sugar
Cream and Sugar
Rations/case 5
Average weight/case 31 pounds
Weight/ration 6.2 pounds
Cube/case 1.1 cubic feet
Cube/ration   .2367 cubic feet
Calories/ration 3600 minimum
Specification MIL-R-10754

Meal Combat, Individual<-p>

The Meal, Combat, Individual is the first ration which has been adopted to meet the new subsistence concept of supplying nutritionally balanced meals rather than rations. It replaces the Ration, Combat, Individual (C Ration) which was used so extensively in World War II. This latter item will be issued as a limited standard item until current supplies are depleted.

The Meal, Combat, Individual, is designed for issue as the tactical situation dictates, either in individual units as a meal or in multiples of three as a complete ration. Its characteristics emphasize utility, flexibility of use, and more variety of food components than were included in the Ration, Combat, Individual (C Ration) which it replaces. Twelve different menus are included in the specification. Each menu contains one canned meat item; one canned fruit, bread or dessert item; one B unit; an accessory packet containing cigarettes, matches, chewing gum, toilet paper, coffee, cream, sugar, and salt; and a spoon. Four can openers are provided in each case of 12 meals. Although the meat item can be eaten cold, it is more palatable when heated.

Each meal furnishes approximately one-third of the minimum nutrient intake prescribed by Army regulations.

Typical Menus

Beefsteak Beefsteak & Potatoes w/ Boned Chicken


B-1 Unit Pecan Cake Roll B-3 Unit

Crackers (7)

B-2 Unit


Candy Disc

Crackers (4)

Cocoa Beverage Powder

Peanut Butter

Cheese Spread


Accessory packet Accessory packet Accessory packet


Meals/case 12
Weight/case 25-26 pounds
Weight/meal (less shipping case) 1.63 pounds
Cube/case .8713 cubic feet
Cube/meal .052 cubic feet
Calories/meal 1200 minimum
Specification MIL-M-35048

Special Feeding

Food Packet, In-Flight Individual

The Food Packet, in-Flight, Individual furnishes food for use in feeding Armed Forces personnel while on flights extending over one or more meal periods. Requirements for this food packet were established by the Air Force. It consists principally of canned items-a meat, a fruit, crackers, and a dessert-and an accessory packet including beverages. Ten menus are available.

On larger aircraft, special equipment is available for heating the meat and dessert items. However, all components can be eaten cold. Hot water is required for the coffee and tea. The food is packaged in a telescoping container which may be used as a tray and in which to dispose of waste.

In addition to the thin crackers, which have replaced canned bread in recent procurements, each menu contains one of each of the following commodity groups. All items of the Accessory group are included.


Beef with spiced sauce Ham and Eggs Pork Steak
Beefsteak Ham, fried Tuna fish
Chicken and noodles Meat, ground & spaghetti Turkey loaf


Apricot                Peaches Pears Fruit Cocktail


Chocolate nut roll Fruit cake Pecan cake roll
Cookies Orange nut roll Pound cake


Instant Coffee Gum Spoon
Instant Tea Salt Instruction Sheet
Cream, dry Napkins Towel, paper, cleansing, wet
Sugar Can Opener

Ration Individual, Trail, Frigid

The Ration, Individual, Trail, Frigid, is designed for trail use under cold weather conditions. While hot meals can and are intended to be prepared from this ration, all components, except dehydrated soups and beverages, may be eaten without preparation. The processed cheese, fruit-cake bars, and candy components arc especially adaptable to trail consumption. The inclusion of several condiments in the one menu provided enables maximum flexibility in component preparation.

The ration supplies a minimum of 4400 calories instead of the 3600 calories required for temperate climates. Intended for use by members of small patrols or trail teams for a short period of time during which resupply is not feasible, it is minimal in weight and cube.

Although a standard item, this ration is not routinely procured and stocked. The ration is packed in a corrugated box inclosed in a waterproof bag. Three sheets of non-woven fabric are inclosed for use in cleaning cooking and eating utensils.

Menu Plan

Cereal Bar Cheese Soup
Canned Fried Ham Mixed Candies Meat Bar-4 ounces
Crackers Fruitcake Bar Soup and Gravy Base
Coffee Cocoa Beverage Onions, dehydrated
Cream, dry Sugar Chili Powder Seasoning
Sugar Tea
Cream, dry


Gum Matches Non-woven fabric
Chocolate Raisins Cigarettes Can opener
Chocolate Bars Toilet Paper Plastic Bag
Imitation Beverage Base

Precooked Frozen Meals

Air crews must be maintained at peak physical condition at all times. Palatable nutritious food for flight feeding purposes is therefore essential. The efficiency of crew members is directly related to their capacity for resisting fatigue and food is the chief physiological factor that dispels fatigue and replenishes energy.

The precooked frozen meal is designed to provide a highly acceptable hot meal for the large, long-range aircraft in which it is necessary for several meals to be consumed on a flight. This meal requires refrigerated storage and an oven for heating aboard aircraft. Hot cups are also provided for heating water needed for hot coffee or tea.

The meal is in an expendable aluminum tray, covered with sheet aluminum foil which is crimped under the protruding lip of the tray. The only preparation required is placing the tray in the specially designed oven to heat. About 25 minutes is required to heat the food to 160F. internal temperature.

As these meals are perishable, special precautions are taken to insure sanitation in the processing. They are held at 0F. storage temperature until heated for consumption. Maintenance of low storage temperature is necessary to retain high acceptability, since the meals are often held for periods of three months or slightly longer.

To avoid monotony-and to increase procurement resources-eight menus are being procured on a monthly basis. Of the eight menus, two are breakfast menus and the other six, dinner or lunch menus. All trays have three compartments so as to provide for three separate food components. The meal weighs about 10 ounces net and to he complete should be supplemented with a beverage, dessert, salad, and bread.

Following is a list of eight precooked frozen meals presently procured:

Menu No.1 Roast turkey w/gravy, dressing, lima beans, and mashed sweet potatoes.

Menu No.2 Swiss steak, mushroom gravy, peas, and au gratin potatoes.

Menu No.3 Chopped beef, green beans, and mashed potatoes.

Menu No.4 Chicken breast and thigh w/gravy, corn, and oven-browned potatoes.

Menu No. 5 Beef pot roast w/gra~v, mixed vegetables, and steamed potatoes.

Menu No.6 Beef steak, browned mushrooms, green beans, and mashed potatoes.

Menu No.7 Waffles, pork and beef sausage, and applesauce.

Menu No. 8 Beef flaked steak, french-fried potatoes, and sweet roll.

Research and development effort is being expended to lengthen the shelf life, to enhance quality, and to simplify and improve specified production requirements.

Trays/case 12
Weight/case 9-10 pounds
Weight/tray and package 13.5 ounces
Cube/case .6-.7 cubic feet
Cube/tray .045 cubic feet
Calories/tray 500 approx.
Specification MIL-M-13966

Ration Supplement, Aid Station

The Ration Supplement, Aid Station, provides hot, stimulating beverages-coffee, tea, and a high calorie flavored milk product. It is for use at forward aid stations to provide drinks to casualties being evacuated. Preparation requires only the addition of water (hot or cold). The pack (16 pounds) is light enough for hand transport under combat conditions. This supplement has recently been revised in accordance with requirements received from The Surgeon General of the Army. The supplement as revised provides 100 eight-ounce instant beverages and includes the following components:

Coffee Milk product, flavored
Tea Dry cream, coffee type
Toilet paper Plastic sippers
No.8-ounce drinks 100
Weight/pack 16 pounds
Cube/pack 1.04 cubic feet
Specification MIL-R-1041

Ration Supplement, Sundries Pack

Basis of issue 1 pack/l00 men/day
Weight/pack 47 pounds
Cube/pack 1.9 cubic feet
Specification MIL-R-3465

The Ration Supplement, Sundries Pack is the "front line post exchange" for use with the B Ration before normal facilities are provided. It consists of a tobacco pack, a toilet article pack, and a confection pack to meet the requirements of 100 men for one day. It is normally not issued with packaged operational rations, meals, or food packets since these generally contain an accessory pack which provides all accessory and comfort items critical to their use. The items listed below are those prescribed in the current specification for this ration supplement.

Cigarettes Brushless shaving cream Sweet chocolate bar
Chewing tobacco Safety razor Starch jelly bar
Pipe tobacco Safety razor blades Chocolate coated coconut bar
Safety matches Tooth powder or Chocolate coated carmel nougat
Lighter flints Tooth brush or Chocolate coated fudge
Toilet soap or Caramel (wrapped)
Hard candy tablets
Chewing gum

Survival Feeding

Food Packet, Survival

The Food Packet, Survival is suitable for use in any survival situation under all environmental conditions, including those where potable water is limited. Four food bars of uniform nutrient content comprise the major constituents of each food packet. Six different bars have been developed for random assembly into the packet. The protein content of these bars is rigidly controlled so that the food packet conserves body water yet assures maximum value from protein at any level of consumption. This unique nutritional design allows the adjustment of issue and consumption to anticipated needs. It was recently adopted by all branches of the Armed Forces as a standard survival ration and will replace both the Food Packet, Survival Arctic, SA and the Food Packet Survival, ST when available for issue.

Production tests of four of the six new bars developed for use in this new survival food packet are scheduled to be conducted in the near future. Soon after these tests are completed the packet should be available for use.

The food packet is packaged in a 12-ounce rectangular can (key-opening type) and consists of the following:

Food bars, survival-type (four of six types randomly selected)

Fruit Cake


Chocolate Fudge

Chicken flavored


Coffee, Instant
Soup and gravy base, chicken flavored
Can opener, key-type (taped to container)
Packets/case 24
Weight/case 20 Pounds
Weight/packet 12 ounces
Cube/ease .7 cubic feet
Cube/packet 26.7 cubic inches
Calories/packet 880 approx.

Food Packet, Survival, ST

For use in survival in tropical situations, the Food Packet, Survival, ST is designed to feed one man for three days or three men for one day. The packet is composed principally of starch jelly bars, high in caloric density and very stable when stored at high temperatures. The ration does not provoke thirst and will be beneficial even when consumed under conditions when water may be critically limited. It is for consumption only in emergencies. It is packed in a flat rectangular can with a can opener taped to the bottom.

This Food Packet, Survival, ST is no longer a standard A item and will remain in the inventory of military survival rations only until such time as the new standard all purpose item, the Food Packet, Survival, becomes available for its replacement.

Components of the ST food packet are:

Starch jelly bars Chewing gum
Instant coffee Sugar
Instant tea Survival instructions


Packets/case 24
Weight/case 37 pounds
Weight/packet 1.5 pounds
Cube/case .8 cubic feet
Cube/packet 45 cubic inches
Calories/packet 1750 approx.
Specification MIL-F-2409

Food Packet Survival, Arctic, SA

The Food Packet, Survival, Arctic, SA is designed to feed one man for one day in emergency aircraft landings, ditchings, or parachute landings in Arctic regions. The food packet is composed principally of concentrated food bars-premixed cereal, fruitcake, cheese, and sweet chocolate-and provides approximately 2000 calories.

The packet is contained in a flat, rectangular can which is easily carried in the pocket. A can opener is taped to the bottom.

When the Food Packet, Survival becomes available for issue, the Arctic food packet will no longer be procured or used.

The following components are included in this food packet:

Compressed cereal bars Chocolate bars
Cheese bars Fruitcake bars
Instant coffee Instant tea
Dry cream product Sugar
Chewing gum Polyethylene bag (container for uneaten Survival instructions portions)
Packets/case 24


Weight/case 34 pounds
Weight/packet 1.34 pounds
Cube/case .8 cubic feet
Cube/packet 45 cubic inches
Calories/packet 2000 approx.
Specification MIL-F-2413

Food Packet, Abandon Aircraft Individual

Special food bars make up the Food Packet, Abandon Aircraft, Individual. Because this food packet contains five meat food product bars, an extremely dense, high fat, high calorie item, it is likened to the pemmican ration first used by the American Indians and later by Arctic explorers. Modern food science and technology have, however, vastly improved this pemmican-type food over its historic prototypes. This food packet was formerly called the Ration, Individual, Survival and, for one procurement only, the Food Packet, Survival, individual.

The austerity of an all meat bar ration is relieved through the inclusion of a variety of high carbohydrate foods. The meat bars can be browned or made into gruel by the addition of water, onion powder, and chili seasoning which are included in the packet. The bars can be eaten without preparation. Packaged in two rectangular cans, this food packet provides a total of 3600 calories.

From a physiological standpoint, it is necessary that adequate water be consumed with this food packet. At present it is included in some Air Force survival kits and is also used in training and indoctrination at the Air Force Survival Training School.

Each ration consists of the following components

Meat-food product bars Fruitcake bars
Cereal bars Onion powder
Chili seasoning powder Sugar tablets
Instant coffee Instant tea
Recipe sheet


Packets/case 12
Weight/case 27 pounds
Weight/packet 34 ounces

Part 1

21.5 ounces

Part 2

12.5 ounces
Cube/case .7 cubic feet
Cube/packet 71.3 cubic inches

Part 1

45.0 cubic inches

Part 2

26.3 cubic inches
Calories/packet 3600
Specification MIL-F35055

Food Packet, Life Raft, Aircraft

Weight/packet 5 ounces
Cube/packet 9.3 cubic inches
Calories/packet 306
Specification MIL-F-15381

Used in survival kits and in life rafts of naval aircraft the Food Packet, Life Raft, Aircraft is intended for short term use while awaiting rescue or air-drop of supplies.

User requirements are stringent. The packet must (1) withstand extreme temperature changes, (2) be of minimum cube and weight, and (3) consist of food which will be beneficial even when water supply is critically limited. The kinds of food suitable for use in this packet are therefore severely restricted. Recently revised to assure maximum stability when exposed to high temperatures (up to 160F.), the food packet now contains 20 special sucrose tablets and two packets of gum. Half of the tablets are fortified with ascorbic acid and are provided in a variety of fruit flavors and colors to enhance acceptability. The remainder of the tablets are mint-flavored lozenges. Three hundred and six calories are furnished in this all-carbohydrate food packet.

The ration is packaged in a flat  metal, key-opening can. A waterproof bag is provided for storing unused tablets. An instruction sheet and a piece of twine are also included in each packet.

Food Packet, Abandon Ship

Food packets/carton 15
Weight/carton 5.95 pounds
Weight/food packet 5.12 ounces
Cube/carton .16 cubic feet
Cube/food packet 18.8 cubic inches
Calories/food packet 474
Specification MIL-F-16895

The purpose of this packet is to sustain life until rescue or until other food is available. It is to be used only when personnel are required to abandon ship and is supplied to lifesaving craft aboard ships.

The Food Packet, Abandon Ship consists of two starch jelly bars, four mint tablets, chewing gum, and matches, and is packaged in a sealed waterproof bag. Fifteen food packets and a cigarette packet are packaged in a carton; eight cartons are packed into a shipping case.

Each packet provides 474 calories. It is issued on the basis of one packet per man per day. The components have maximum stability for storage in on-deck craft under all climatic conditions. In fact, since the Navy has indicated that this food must be stable at 140F. for one month, even the starch jelly bar component must be specially formulated. Canned water in limited quantities or water-making equipment is provided on the life-saving craft.

Future Feeding

Meal, Uncooked, 25-Man

The Meal, Uncooked, 25-Man will consist of factory-assembled, nonperishable food packaged in a 25-man module, making maximum use of dehydrated foods and lightweight packaging. It will weigh under 25 pounds gross and occupy a volume of about 0.88 cubic feet exclusive of bread and cakes which will be provided separately. The meals will ultimately provide menus for a 10-day cycle and will be used whenever unit messing is practical, i.e., where cooking equipment and food service personnel are available and operational. The meals may be used interchangeably with other new packaged meals as the tactical situation changes, so that any three meals constitute a ration. This meal is being designed to simplify provision of kitchen-prepared meals in future operations. When supplemented by bread and cakes the meal will be adequate in nutrition, acceptability, and stability to maintain the performance of combat troops without supplementation by perishables requiring refrigeration. When its development is completed, it will replace the current Standard B Ration. The following three-day cycle of menus is scheduled for engineer test in FY 1963:

Typical Menus


Orange Juice Hot Fruit Cup Grapenuts/Milk
Cheese Omelet Oatmeal Apple Juice
Hash Brown Potatoes Scrambled Eggs Beef and Potato Hash
Bacon Bacon Bread
Bread  Cinnamon Toast Jam
Military Spread Coffee Military Spread
Jam Milk Coffee
Coffee Cream Sugar Cocoa
Milk Cream Sugar
Cream Sugar


Chicken-Noodle Soup Tomato-Vegetable Soup Green Pea Soup

with Noodles

Breaded Fish Squares Crackers Breaded Cube Steaks
Mashed Potatoes  Chicken Pie with Rice, Spanish
Sweat Peas

Biscuit Top

Bread  Peas and Carrots Bread
Military Spread Onion Relish Military Spread
Jelly Bread Jam
Yellow Cake with Military Spread White Cake with

Vanilla Icing 


Chocolate Icing

Coffee Gingerbread Coffee
Cream Sugar Coffee Cream Sugar
Cream Sugar


Chili Con Came with Grilled Steaks Breaded Pork Chops


Fried Onions

Cream Gravy

Seasoned Macaroni Mashed Potatoes Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Cabbage Slaw Lima Beans Green Beans
Bread Bread Bread
Military Spread  Military Spread Military Spread
Apple Slice Bar Butterscotch Pudding Applesauce
Coffee Coffee Coffee
Milk Cream Sugar Cream Sugar
Cream Sugar


Meals/module 25
Weight/module 19.6 pounds
Weight/meal .78 pounds
Cube/module .77 cubic feet
Cube/meal .031 cubic feet
Calories/meal 1200 minimum

(Data based on 1962 3-day cycle assembly.)

Meal, Quick Serve, 6-Man and 25 Man

The Meal, Quick-Serve consists of nonperishable (primarily precooked dehydrated) components assembled in 6- and 25-man modules. The meal can be prepared simply by adding hot or cold water as appropriate, mixing, and holding for not more than 20 minutes. It requires no separate or non-expendable equipment for its preparation, serving, and heating except for a water heating device. The foods are reconstituted in their respective package. Plates, cups, spoons, knives, and serving utensils are furnished in the meal. The lightweight aluminum liners in the shipping container give insect and other protection and also provide receptacles for heating water. A 7-day cycle of meals provides adequate variety. Present 6-man modules weigh an average of 9.2 pounds gross and occupy an average of 0.56 cubic feet; present 25-man modules weigh an average of 36.8 pounds gross and occupy 1.98 cubic feet. The meals will be used to feed dispersed groups in combat areas where organizational messing equipment and food service personnel cannot be provided. Nutritionally balanced, any three meals will constitute a complete ration and can be used interchangeably with other packaged meals. These meals are suitable for supply in mixed loads with the Meal, Ready-to-Eat, Individual.

Individual food components are scheduled for gradual integration into the supply system during the period FY 1964-1966 to accelerate production capability. Production testing of the Quick-Serve Meals is scheduled for completion during FY 1966.

Typical Menus

Orange Juice Milk Hot Cocoa Beverage
Oatmeal w/milk Chill Con Carne w/Beans Chicken & Gravy
Beef Hash Bread Mashed Potatoes
Bread Jelly Green Peas
Military Spread Applesauce Bread
Coffee, Cream, Sugar Coffee, Cream, Sugar Military Spread
Starch Jelly Bar Chocolate Caramel Roll Fruit Cake
Coffee, Cream, Sugar


Hot Cocoa Beverage  Chicken Soup w/Rice Milk
Cereal Bar  Spaghetti w/Meat & Sliced Beef & Brown Gravy

Tomato Sauce

Macaroni, Buttered
Scrambled Eggs Bread Cabbage
Bread Jelly Bread
Jelly  Military Spread Military Spread
Coffee, Cream, Sugar Butterscotch Pudding Date Pudding
Chocolate Coated Raisins Coffee, Cream, Sugar Coffee, Cream, Sugar
Coconut Bar


Grapefruit Juice Pea Soup Hot Cocoa Beverage
Rice Chicken w/Rice Sliced Beef Loaf w/Tomato Gravy
Beef in Onion Gravy  Bread Macaroni & Cheese
Pecan Roll  Jelly Applesauce
Military Spread Apricots Bread
Coffee, Cream, Sugar Coffee, Cream, Sugar Military Spread
Chocolate Discs Vanilla Cream Bar Pound Cake
Coffee, Cream, Sugar

     6-MAN MODULE (1962 assembly)

Module/case 4
Weight/case 41.5 pounds
Weight/module 9.2 pounds
Weight/meal 1.53 pounds
Cube/case 2.44 cubic feet
Cube/module .56 cubic feet
Cube/meal .09 cubic feet
Calories/meal 1200 minimum

25-MAN MODULE (1962 assembly)

Weight/module 36.8 pounds
Weight/meal 1.47 pounds
Cube/module 1.98 cubic feet
Cube/meal .0792 cubic feet
Calories/meal 1200 minimum

Meal Ready-To-Eat, Individual

The Meal, Ready-to-Eat, Individual, when developed, will be individual meals containing food components which are ready-to-eat and highly acceptable when consumed under conditions precluding preparation, except reconstitution of beverages. Full advantage will be taken of new processing methods including radiation, dehydration, and aseptic filling to attain maximum component acceptability. The Meal, Ready-to-Eat, Individual will be used in the combat zone and under all circumstances where planned resupply is established but feeding of the Quick-Serve and Uncooked Meals is impractical. Packaging will be lightweight and suitable for use in lieu of mess gear. Target gross weight for this nutritionally balanced 1200-caloric meal is approximately one pound. The new meal will offer significant advantages in acceptability and portability over the present Meal, Combat, Individual, which it ultimately is scheduled to replace.

A variety of approaches is currently being taken toward component development. Initial Engineer Test menus are in the early planning stage. This Ready-to-Eat Meal is scheduled for adoption in FY 1966 with availability projected for the following year.

Target gross weight/meal 1 pound
Calories/meal 1220 minimum

Food Packet, Individual, Combat

The Food packet, Individual, Combat will be an individual, small, light-weight food packet of high caloric content for limited use, over periods of 2 to 10 days. It will meet the needs of feeding situations such as initial assault stages, patrols, target acquisitions, surveillance, escape and evasion, and clandestine operations, where resupply is neither established nor planned for a period up to ten days. Its major food components will require no preparation for consumption. Even high calorie soups and beverages, if included, must be capable of being consumed dry.

The packet will not exceed 5 ounces in net weight and will furnish about 500 calories. Two packets must provide adequate nutrition so that when eaten as a sole diet for 10 days a man will not suffer physiological damage that cannot be counteracted by a short recuperation period without evacuation from his assigned unit. It will have the highest possible ratio of food to packaging. Edible packaging may be used. Maximum use will be made of dehydration, compression, food fabrication, and other means of conserving weight and cube consistent with caloric and nutrient requirements.

Six food packets will be packaged in a bandoleer so as to provide two packets per man per day for a period of three days. Nine bandoleers will be packed in a storage/caching case. The caching case, when filled, will not weigh more than 25 pounds. It must be able to withstand delivery by air without parachute. The case must protect the contents in storage above or below the ground.

Target maximum weight/packet 5 ounces
Calories/packet 500

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