Who doesn’t like eating MREs? Certainly not the 6th graders at Frank Lloyd Wright Intermediate School in West Allis, Wis.
Every few years I serve as a guest speaker in my daughter Rachel’s class. Being in the Air Force Reserve, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to do a bit of traveling. Back in 2007 I visited her class and talked about my deployment to Southwest Asia and what living in a different country was like. Her class and I wrote several letters back and forth, so it was neat to pay them a visit when I returned. Two years ago I spoke about my experiences with the Air Force helping people in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. Then recently, Rachel told me they were studying Africa in her social studies class.
Ah, Africa – the Dark Continent that gave me a very bright sunburn on my face. I told Rachel to ask her teacher if he was interested in having me come in for a visit. He was – so off to class I went yet again.
In December 2006, I got re-deployed from the Middle East down to Kenya for eight days to help support a humanitarian mission involving a flooded refugee camp. I talked about the mission we performed, showed the kids videos of the airdrops and even a photo to illustrate what happens when you spend eight hours on the equator with no sunscreen. But they seemed to get the biggest kick out of what we ate during our time there.
Anyone in the military has likely dined on an MRE. Known as a meal-ready-to-eat, MRE is a self-contained, individual field ration in lightweight packaging to be used in combat or other field conditions where organized food facilities are not available.
They don’t taste great, but they’re not horrible. They come with a main course i.e. beef stew, Sloppy Joe etc. They also come with a side such as crackers and cheese; dessert such as a brownie or a candy bar and a little packet of condiments. Most of the kids wanted to try it, and the reviews were largely positive (let’s see the kids eat MREs for eight straight days and see if they’re still digging them).
Rachel says I was a big hit with her class. I’d like to hope it was because of my informative presentation, but I’m sure the combination of my sunburn, and the MRE snack might have had something to do with that.