Meals for Marines in Afghanistan insufficient, report states

Marines deployed in Afghanistan are not getting adequate nutrition from the Defense Department’s standard combat ration, Meals Ready to Eat, the Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned (MCLL) said in its January newsletter.

Marine and Army troops deployed to Afghanistan conduct dismounted operations – meaning they walk instead of ride – in mountainous terrain and MREs do not provide enough nutrition for their mission, the MCCLL newsletter states.

As a result, “many Marines and soldiers lost 20 to 40 pounds of bodyweight during their deployment,” the newsletter states. It adds that at least one solider was evacuated because of malnutrition and a 60-pound weight loss.

But medical evacuations from Afghanistan take far longer than those from Iraq, the newsletter states. Medevacs from the field to the next level of care in Afghanistan take 72 hours, while medevac operations in Iraq take 24 hours.

The Army Soldier Systems Center, which is responsible for development of combat rations, did not return calls from Federal Computer Week about the lack of nutrition in MREs by deadline.

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