B5 Systems

Archive for the ‘Field Gourmet’ Category

SOF Week 24 – Down Range Snacking

Monday, May 13th, 2024

I ran across Down Range Snacking in SO Tech’s booth. It’s a small business which manufactures nutritionally dense, shelf stable, formed snack bars using ultrasonic energy.

They are offered in standard snack bar style packaging as well as in MRE compliant trilamintae packaging.

Flavors include Maple Mocha, Coconut Almond, and Cookies and Cream. I sampled the first two and they are extremely flavorful.


Enforce Tac 24 – Pro-Ration by ADM

Tuesday, February 27th, 2024

I had an opportunity to sample the pork and potatoes entree from Pro-Ration which is a new line of field meals by ADM a company located in the Czech Republic. It is a hearty meal with loads of flavor.

As you can see they produce both dehydrated and ready-to-eat options as well as emergency rations and even packaged water for survival kits.

SOUND Foods New High Calorie Lightweight Combat Rations

Friday, January 26th, 2024

SOUND is committed to improving combat effectiveness by both increasing caloric intake and reducing the size and weight of the warrior’s battle load.  SOUND has invented an entirely new way of quickly and gently forming food products using only ultrasonic energy, or sound waves.  This ultrasonic agglomeration process allows for the creation of a calorically dense bar (300 Calories, 50 g, 6 cal/g) with great taste and texture.  

SOUND bars have been approved by the Department of Defense (DOD) for the first generation Close Combat Assault Ration (CCAR) which is scheduled to replace the First Strike Ration later this year as well as by the Joint Services Operational Rations Forum (JSORF) for the larger Meals Ready-to-Eat (MRE) program.

SOUND has relaunched its direct-to-consumer products as DOWN RANGE Mission Ready Bars with a focus on offering the exact products developed for the U.S. warfighter directly to the American consumer.  Headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, the company operates with a commitment to helping people get through their day whether during military operations or everyday life. 

SOUND has partnered with S.O.Tech / Special Operations Technologies Inc of Carson, CA, an innovator in military survival and medical systems and Bridgford Foods, a leading provider of Ready to Eat combat ration sandwiches.  SOUND’s DOWN RANGE bars will be on display at SHOT Show in SOTech’s booth 20059 and SOUND CEO Don Dillon will be at the booth on Tuesday, January 23rd and Thursday, January 25th from 1PM to 3PM.  The DOWN RANGE bars will also be on display at Bridgford Foods’ booth 42052.

Minot MAF Chefs Feed the Force

Tuesday, January 9th, 2024


Missile Alert Facilities (MAF), which can be up to 75 miles away from Minot Air Force Base, operate with a lone chef that ensures the site has well-fed troops.

Missile Alert Facilities are the heart of the 91st Missile Operations Group’s mission. The Group is composed of three squadrons, each responsible for up to 50 launch facilities. This 24/7 responsibility requires Airmen to be on alert and always ready. It is the goal of the Missile Alert Feeding Operation (MAFO) team to ensure every Airman deployed to a MAF is well-fed and can continue to accomplish their mission.

“MAFO differs from a regular feeding operation at the Dining Facility on base as chefs are deployed out to an isolated site and have to be capable of leading themselves,” said Master Sgt. Brian Brockhoff, 5th Force Support Squadron dining facility section chief.

 Chefs will feed 10 or more Airmen a day, which can be a tall order. Airmen from the 5th Force Support Squadron MAFO ensure MAF site teams are comfortable during their approximately one-week stay in the field. 

“On average I’ll make 36 meals per day, 12 meals per meal period,” said Senior Airman Matthew Chan, 5th Force Support Squadron food service specialist.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner and sometimes a midnight meal for Airmen who were out late. A chef’s job does not stop until everyone is fed with a warm meal that is made to order.

“From inventory inspections, checking the emergency Meals Ready to Eat (MRE), and required trainings, I can have a lot of responsibilities during the time I’m tripped out,” said Chan.

A chef is in charge of their kitchen space while they are tripped out. A missile chef’s duties at a MAF may include completing and stocking inventory as well as preparing, cooking and cleaning after each mealtime.

“My mom used to make us fried chicken tenders back home, so to get to make it here for Airmen at the MAF is like bringing a little bit of that joy to the team here,” said Airman 1st Class Oscar Vega, 5th Force Support Squadron food service specialist.

Throughout the Air Force, we see Airmen taking care of each other, MAFO chefs are no different as they ensure Airmen on site are well cared for.

“To receive that thank you for a meal you made and getting to see how that directly affects the morale is one of the most rewarding parts of this job,” said Vega.

By Senior Airman Alexander Nottingham, 5th Bomb Wing

Mission First Tactical Drinkware Now Available for Fall Flavors

Thursday, September 21st, 2023

Horsham, PA – (September 25th, 2023) – Mission First Tactical (MFT) is pleased to announce their insulated drinkware is available just in time for pumpkin spice coffee season. Sip your favorite beverages in style with MFT drinkware.

MFT drinkware includes 32 oz. size bottles and 16 oz. flip top bottles. They easily keep your drink hot for up to four hours or cold for nine hours of maximum enjoyment.

Designs include 9 Banger, M67 Frag, C4, M18 Smoke, Howitzer and CS Gas designs.

The 16 oz. vacuum-insulated bottle flip-top lid lets you annihilate your thirst and keep the elements from spoiling your favorite beverage.

Features include:

– Double-wall insulation prevents condensation on the outside of the bottle

– Vacuum seal locks in heat or cool temperature

– Will not retain odor or taste

– 18/8 stainless steel

– BPA & toxin free

To learn more about the drinkware and the complete product offerings from Mission First Tactical, please visit: www.missionfirsttactical.com

Mission First Tactical Introduces New 2023 Drinkware Selection

Thursday, June 29th, 2023

Horsham, PA – (June 28th , 2023) – Mission First Tactical (MFT) manufacturers of state-of-the-art, USA made rifle/carbine accessories and holsters, is pleased to announce they have expanded their drinkware line to include all-new 32 oz. size bottles and cool new designs for the 16 oz. bottles and 12 oz. can coolers. Both the bottles and can coolers easily keep your drink hot for up to four hours or cold for nine hours of maximum enjoyment.

“Whether it’s a refreshingly cold thirst-quencher or a piping hot brew, the MFT insulated drinkware will keep your drinks at the optimum temperature while in style,” said David Edelman, Vice President, Mission First Tactical. “The new drinkware is perfect for personalizing on-the-go transport of your favorite beverages.”

All New drinkware selections feature:

– Double-wall insulation prevents condensation on the outside of the bottle

– Vacuum seal locks in heat or cool temperature

– Will not retain odor or taste

– 18/8 stainless steel

– BPA & toxin free

The new 32 oz. bottle has a flip-top lid and double-wall construction making it perfect for your next mission. Available designs include M18 Smoke, Howitzer, C4 and M67 Frag.

32 oz. features:

– Compact sized with flip-top lid is easy to carry

– 32 oz. capacity

MSRP: $44.95

The 16 oz. bottles let you annihilate your thirst and keep the elements from spoiling your favorite beverage. This vacuum-insulated bottle keeps your drink at optimum temperature. New designs include 9 Banger, M67 Frag and C4; adding to the family of M18 Smoke, Howitzer, CS Gas designs.

16 oz. features:

– Compact size with flip-top lid is easy to carry

– 16 oz. capacity

MSRP: $29.95

MFT Can Coolers allow you to crack open your favorite 12 oz. can and drop it in. This Can Cooler keeps your beverage (not your hands) colder longer so you can always hit your target. New designs include the 9 Banger; adding to the family of M18 Smoke, Howitzer, CS Gas designs.


– Fits standard 12 oz. cans only

MSRP: $24.95

To learn more about the new Drinkware and the complete product offerings from Mission First Tactical, please visit: www.missionfirsttactical.com

OR Summer Show 23 – Jetboil Trail Spoon

Tuesday, June 20th, 2023

Coming in 2024 is the Jetboil Trail Spoon. What makes it different than other utensils on the market is that the Spoon and Fork feature telescoping handles to reach into Jetboil’s deeper pots. Additionally, the soon features silicon around the edge so it won’t scratch pots.

DEVCOM Soldier Center’s Tube Foods Fuel High-Altitude Pilots

Thursday, May 11th, 2023

NATICK, Mass. — Proper nourishment is key to achieving great heights. This is especially true for the elite group of pilots who rely on the expertise of the Combat Feeding Division, part of the Soldier Sustainment Directorate, at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center, or DEVCOM SC.

The Combat Feeding Division’s food technologists, equipment specialists, engineers, microbiologists and packaging specialists have been perfecting tube foods for almost 60 years. DEVCOM SC is the only place that designs and produces the foods that meet the specific needs of the Air Force’s U-2 reconnaissance aircraft pilots and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s, or NASA’s, ER-2 research aircraft pilots.

Elite pilots wear pressurized suits and helmets to perform their missions. The foods, which have a pudding-like consistency, come out of a container about the size of a large tube of toothpaste.

The tube foods are attached to feeding probes that are inserted into an opening in the helmets.

The tube foods help pilots power through missions that can last up to 12 hours. The foods come in 19 different offerings, including entrees, fruits and desserts. Choices range from chicken with tortilla soup, to hash browns with bacon, to key lime pie, to chocolate pudding with caffeine — to name just a few. Given the difficulty and length of pilot missions, caffeine is included in some of the selections. The offerings keep evolving. CFD plans to add pasta with marinara sauce next year as well as a new vegan option.

DEVCOM SC’s longtime and unique innovation and expertise in food science and technology and food packaging play a substantial role in tube food development.

“The Combat Feeding Division has a long history of developing nutritionally optimized, good-tasting ration products to meet warfighters’ unique needs and preferences,” said Erin Stomberg, PhD, RD, division chief of Combat Feeding. “The tube foods produced by the division food technologists are one important example of this. Air Force pilots on long flight missions need nutrition for sustainment and performance of their mission, and we are honored to provide this service to them. We accomplish this by using our knowledge of food product development and food processing technologies available in our pilot plant and listening to customer feedback in order to formulate custom varieties based on pilot preferences.”

Daniel Nattress, a food technologist who has served as the project officer for the Tube Food Program for 24 years, pointed out that “decades of knowledge and expertise go into every tube.”

“We have the expertise to make healthy, wholesome foods that taste good, meet nutritional requirements and meet required shelf-life requirements (three years at 80 degress Fahrenheit and six months at 100 degrees Fahrenheit),” said Nattress. “We also need to know how to manufacture foods which meet the nutritional requirements and still fit through the narrow straw-like probe.”

Nattress explained that colleagues in the Tube Food Program also have the “knowledge and expertise to operate the specialized equipment, as well as pack the tube food for safe storage and transportation.”

Equipment upgrades have improved the process. A new state-of-the art tube filler and sealer is easier to clean and maintain than the previous version and a new steam retort, which preserves the tube foods, is more efficient and extremely reliable.

Direct interaction with pilots is key to making the best product. Nattress and his colleagues have visited the home base of the U-2 pilots several times, and the pilots have visited Combat Feeding as well.

“Face-to-face contact is essential to understand what products the pilots want and for them to understand our capabilities,” said Nattress. “We conduct surveys with the pilots every three or four years to verify what they currently like, what they’d like to have and any changes they’d like to have. When we were at Beale Air Force Base, the training base, we got to try on the U-2 suits. This gave us an understanding of what they go through on their missions.”

DEVCOM SC’s efforts to understand pilot needs and to provide them with a quality product are reflected in comments from the U-2 pilots themselves:

“Caff apple pie (Caffeinated Apple Pie) is a must after 8 to 10 hours and preparing to recover the hardest jet in the world to land!”

“Nothing better than hash browns and bacon (Hash Browns with Bacon) after you kick on the autopilot during climbout to an early morning sortie.”

“Not only does it give us some energy, but it’s something we look forward to — especially truffle mac (Truffle Macaroni and Cheese). Delish.”

Comprehensive review sessions also provide Combat Feeding with additional insights.

“We also participate in the twice-yearly U-2 Program Management Reviews, a meeting of all government agencies and contractors,” said Nattress. “These meetings give us an overview of the entire U-2 program from Tube Foods to U-2 suits to the airframe. This gives us the overall picture and shows us where we fit in.”

Robert Bernazzani, team leader of the Joint Foodservice and Engineering Team, praised the comradery of the experts who produce the food tubes, their eclectic set of skills, and their creation of a quality finished product.

“It is very gratifying to be part of such an important and vital program for the military,” said Bernazzani. “Most of the work that is done in Combat Feeding is research and development. This program is unique because we actually not only do the R&D but produce the tubes that are consumed by the warfighter.”

“Everyone who works on the Tube Food Program, that includes several others from packaging specialists to microbiologists, are very proud to provide U-2 pilots the sustenance they need to perform these vital reconnaissance missions,” said Nattress. “When we have had the opportunity to visit Beale, or to host pilots, they are very appreciative of the products we are able to manufacture.”

By Jane Benson, DEVCOM Soldier Center Public Affairs