For trainees, first taste of basic doesn't disappoint

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Victoriya Tarakanova
  • 934th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Nine 934th Airlift Wing trainees assigned to the 934th Development & Training Flight had their first meals ready-to-eat to prepare for basic training on March 5, 2023.

The MRE is a self-contained individual United States military ration and it is intended for use by American service members in combat or field conditions where food is unavailable.

The trainees were part of the 934 AW D&TF, a program that prepares members of the Air Force Reserve for basic military training. Trainees stay in the D&TF program for 3-4 months on average, attending monthly training on base during unit training assembly weekends until their “ship date” when they leave for BMT. The training focuses on drill and ceremony, customs and courtesies, and physical fitness, all of which are evaluated at BMT.

“It will help prepare them for when they go to PACER FORGE down at BMT because they have to get issued MREs, so they can see exactly what they’re like,” said Tech. Sgt. Carl Bostic, 934 AW D&TF coordinator. “That way, they know how to heat them up and everything.”

Having heard stories about MREs before trying them, trainees were pleasantly surprised by the taste and variety of the MRE contents.

“I thought it was going to be way worse,” said Trainee Sawyer Klotzbuecher. “It just tastes like canned meatballs; it wasn’t too bad.”

Some trainees were especially impressed, even asking to eat the unfinished components of others’ snacks.

“This is some great food,” said Trainee Tam Tran. “I could eat this for the rest of my life.”

An MRE package contains everything needed: utensils, napkins, and a heating unit that allows meals to be heated. The quality and intent behind MREs also were noticed by the trainees.

“It costs a lot to make this type of food,” Tran said. “Look at the packaging and everything that goes into it. It’s designed to last for a long time. There’s a lot of thought that goes into it.”

The military constantly seeks feedback to adjust MRE menus and ingredients to make MREs more palatable to service members and match ever-changing trends in popular tastes. The most recent MRE menu contains 24 different main courses with various sides and desserts to match.

“There’s a lot of food,” said Trainee Keevan Jones. “There’s a lot of variety.”