The “3 M’s” of morale every commander needs to pay close attention to are:
Especially during Thanksgiving, a good hot meal is the least a commander can provide to his troops.
Imagine yourself stationed at a platoon or company sized outpost in the hinterlands of Afghanistan. In my era, most of my meals would have been MREs, with maybe one hot meal delivered in Mermite cans daily from the battalion trains in the Brigade Support Area.
But the Army in the past decade, with Brigade Combat Teams covering enormous geographical regions, centralized cooking simply isn’t practical. And for many outposts, the delivery options are either a risky ground convoy, or an expensive aerial resupply by helicopter. So many units at outposts have been augmented with a mess team to provide hot prepared meals on site. Larger outposts that have power generation may have a Containerized Kitchen as well as adequate refrigeration. Smaller, platoon sized outposts are unlikely to have such luxuries, but still often have a cook assigned.
The normal ration for these outposts is the Unitized Group Ration, or UGR. In fact, the UGR is really three separate rations.
UGR-A has perishable and semi-perishable foods, and requires an actual kitchen to prepare.
The UGR-H&S (Heat & Serve) is canned foods that simply need to be warmed prior to serving. The Company Level Field Feeding Kitchen is well suited for this ration.
The UGR-E is designed for even more austere environments. It contains everything for a hot meal, and the ration trays are self heating! Not only that, but a special turkey holiday meal menu is available.
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Here’s a little bit on how the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) assembles UGRs.
As you sit down with friends and family today to give thanks for all the blessings in your life, take a moment to remember those Americans deployed world wide, and especially in Afghanistan, who will not be surrounded by family, but by their brothers in arms.