C, D, K Rations (1942); MRE (1978)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Fri Feb 7 06:22:31 UTC 2003



   OED has 1944 for K-rations, which is too late.  Merriam-Webster has 1940, which is too early.  They were developed in 1942.  Supposedly, it's after the name Ancel Benjamin Keys (a physiologist), but I don't have an early citation for this.  The LOC's American Memory database has some 1943 pictures.

   8 August 1942, NEW YORK TIMES, pg.?:
   Emergency C, D, and K rations, it was added, are to be packed in nailed wood boxes only.

   14 March 1943, NEW YORK TIMES, pg. S11:
   To facilitate movement of pitted prunes used for Army K rations, OPA has set specific maximum prices at which they may be sold by processors.


   We discussed this in June 2002, and "MRE" is still not in the revised OED.  The initals were used before the Gulf War and before the 1980s.

   31 December 1978, NEW YORK TIMES, pg. E6:
   ...MRE, (Meal, Ready-to-Eat).

(If they're going to Iraq, our troops deserve better than SPAM--ed.)

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