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What American soldiers trade for a dead cow

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  • What American soldiers trade for a dead cow

    I was watching *Restrepo* the other night, a documentary about American soldiers at a rural outpost in Afghanistan. One scene depicts the soldiers negotiating (if you can call it that) with village elders about a dead cow that "got mangled" in the concertina wire the soldiers had strung along their outpost and that they subsequently shot (and may have then eaten, not clear). The owner of the cow wants $500 for the cow. The leader of the soldiers offers him no money (per orders from HQ) but does offer him beans, flour, and sugar. The Afghani declines.

    It's interesting -- the young soldiers, privates first class and so on, typically appear to be in good physical shape, but the "older" ones (sergeants and above) are already discernibly chunky (although they often appear quite powerful, physically). I don't know that any of them looked older than 28, but by late 20s, they are already inflating. And these guys are active, I think.

    I wonder what the Army feeds them? In one scene, they are cooking up cow (this may have been the slaughtered cow -- again, it isn't clear), but with it is bread and potatoes and so on. I had the sense that this was an unusual feast. Anyone know? Could an Army grunt go primal if he was outside of a base? Or do they just load them up with "flour, sugar, and beans"?

  • #2
    It depends on where you are. Some places you may have nothing but MREs for a year or one hot meal a day and the rest MREs etc. Other bigger FOBs have full dining facilities. When we went to the field in Korea depending on our field site we could have nothing but MREs for a month. In Iraq I was lucky and our home location was a large FOB so we had pretty reliabe access to a DFAC. Nutrionally though the Army seems to be all CW, at least in my experience.

    Edit: I should add that it is possible for some to be primal while deployed. SpecOps posts here and has a journal. He is doing very well with it.
    Last edited by canio6; 05-27-2011, 11:17 AM.


    • #3
      In most military dining facilities, you have very limited options if you want to go primal/paleo. As far as field conditions, if you're stuck with MRE's, forget about paleo/primal. They are high in carb and high in calories.


      • #4
        Ugh, that's what you get for risking your life for the US Army. In general, the documentary seemed to show the crappy treatment that US soldiers get. But I have to thank you guys for the "MRE" acronym, which I didn't know, but which led to the following humorous interpretations:

        Meals Rejected by Everyone
        Meals, Rarely Edible
        Meals Rejected by the Enemy
        Morsels, Regurgitated, Eviscerated
        Meal, Ready to Excrete
        Materials Resembling Edibles
        Meals Requiring Enemas
        Meals Refusing to Exit
        Meals Refusing to Excrete
        Massive Rectal Expulsions
        Meals Rejected by Ethiopians

        I guess it takes a lot of money to make Halliburton rich. Not much left over to feed the troops.


        • #5
          That poor farmer.
          In all of the universe there is only one person with your exact charateristics. Just like there is only one person with everybody else's characteristics. Effectively, your uniqueness makes you pretty average.


          • #6
            My son is a Marine and been to Iraq and Afghanistan one time each (so far; still enlisted).

            His food is awful so I send him care pkgs, looking for as much meat and fat that I can send him to sustain him.

            He drove a Buffalo and would tie the can to a rope, toss it out the "sun roof" and let it sit on the hood of the rig for 'bout 20 minutes and pull it in, hot.

            what our kids have to deal with... Oh, if they were out on a mission and came back after the kitchen was closed, they were issues MREs...

            and the OP mentioned the "olders" getting portly. It is WHAT they are eating, not the amount of energy they are expending (or NOT expending, whichever the case)...


            • #7
              *adds Restrepo to instant queue*
              No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.


              • #8
                I did my time in the desert while in the Air Force. We had it a bit easier than the other services, but still ate lots of MREs. Most places have a big box where you toss the MRE items you don't want and people can pick through there for snacks or if you get a main course you don't like. If you were lucky, you had a body builder in your tent who only ate powder from a jar sent by his wife--then you could scarf on his MRE, too.

                Here's what's in MREs: (From

                Entree - the main course, such as Spaghetti or Beef Stew
                Side dish - rice, corn, fruit, or mashed potatoes, etc.
                Cracker or Bread
                Spread - peanut butter, jelly, or cheese spread
                Dessert - cookies or pound cakes
                Candy - M&Ms, Skittles, or Tootsie Rolls
                Beverages - Gatorade-like drink mixes, cocoa, dairy shakes, coffee, tea
                Hot sauce or seasoning - in some MREs
                Flameless Ration Heater - to heat up the entree
                Accessories - spoon, matches, creamer, sugar, salt, chewing gum, toilet paper, etc.

                Each MRE provides an average of 1,250 calories (13% protein, 36% fat, and 51% carbohydrates) and 1/3 of the Military Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamins and minerals. A full day's worth of meals would consist of three MREs.


                • #9
                  What soldiers have to eat looks like it depends on a combination of CW- driven requirements and whatever procurement comes up with. Always follow the money.