Definitions for c-ration
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a canned field ration issued by the United States Army
The C-Ration, or Type C ration, was an individual canned, pre-cooked, and prepared wet ration. It was intended to be issued to U.S. military land forces when fresh food or packaged unprepared food prepared in mess halls or field kitchens was impractical or not available, and when a survival ration was insufficient. Development began in 1938 with the first rations being field tested in 1940 and wide-scale adoption following soon after. Following World War II, cost concerns later caused the C-ration to be standardized for field issue regardless of environmental suitability or weight limitations. The C ration was replaced in 1958 with the Meal Combat Individual. Although officially a new ration, the MCI was derived from and very similar to the original C ration, and in fact continued to be called "C rations" by American troops throughout its production life as a combat ration. Although the replacement for the MCI, the MRE, was formally adopted as the Department of Defense combat ration in 1975, the first large-scale production test did not occur until in 1978 with the first MRE I rations packed and delivered in 1981. While the MRE officially replaced the MCI in 1981, previously packed MCI rations continued to be issued until depleted.
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