"It was noted during field evaluations that soldiers often did not reconstitute their hot beverages coffee, cocoa, or tea because of the mess they would make in their canteen cup," he said. "This led to the idea for the inclusion of a bag that could also serve as a cup. Also, some warfighters do not routinely carry a canteen cup."
Moody said that the bag, which is used in conjunction with the flameless ration heater, creates a demand for unused heaters thus reducing the number of surplus heaters and related waste disposal concerns.
"A flameless ration heater is included in every MRE. Since they are not always used to heat the entrée – there's not always time – there are often extra heaters available," he explained.
Response to the hot beverage bag, which has been included with the MRE (one per menu) since 2005, has been extremely favorable.
The ability to make hot coffee adds greatly to the quality of life for soldiers deployed to war zones, such as Afghanistan and Iraq.
"The feedback to date has been overwhelmingly positive," said Moody. "This is a very simple, dependable and inexpensive addition to the ration that is an enormous benefit to the warfighter.
"Not only does it give the soldier the opportunity to enjoy a hot beverage, it also helps to keep them hydrated by encouraging additional fluid intake," he noted.