participated, in an important advisory capacity to the OTSG, in the recent revisions of the MRDAs and nutritional standards. The CMNR also provided advisory input into the development of the nutritional criteria as well as into the assessment and interpretation of the nutritional data from several of these important field ration trials. Nutritional and other biomedical data were specifically requested and subsequently used by general officers on the Army staff to make decisions during 1986–1988 that improved not only nutritional quality and food consumption, but also troop acceptability of the Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) and Tray rations (T Rations) that were successfully used in military operations during Operation Desert Storm and in Somalia in the early 1990s.
This chapter will briefly review the history of the development of nutritional standards and MRDAs and then, drawing largely on personal experiences while this author was assigned to OTSG and USARIEM, describe the development and application of the nutritional criteria that were used during field testing of military rations during the 1980s and the involvement of the CMNR in those activities.
L. R. Holbrook, Director of the Training School for Bakers and Cooks, Fort Riley, Kansas, provided the following nutritional guidance in the 1916 edition of The Mess Sergeant's Handbook (Holbrook, 1916, p. 31):
Nothing is of greater importance than that a well-balanced diet be prepared—that is, that a suitable variety of foods appear on the bills of fare, and the various components be served in appropriate quantities.
Few nutritionists or dietitians today would take strong exception to Holbrook's general guidance for feeding soldiers. The nutrition experts developing the next edition of the Department of Health and Human Services-U.S. Department of Agriculture's Dietary Guidelines for Americans may wish to consider adopting John Murlin and Casper Miller's nutritional recommendations for training of soldiers (1919). They recommended a proposed training ration that contained 12.6 percent calories from protein, 30.3 percent calories from fat, and 57.1 percent calories from carbohydrate. The Nutrition Advisory Council to the Army Surgeon General recommended in that same article that the nutrient requirements for training of soldiers was 12.5 percent calories from protein, 25 percent calories from fat, and 62.5 percent calories from carbohydrate.