As the US military pulls out of Afghanistan, the government is looking at cutting military costs to save money. In College Station, a professor is proposing a method using new technology that could save the government millions of dollars a year.
Keith Youngblood is back home, but the journey to return to US soil hasn't always been easy.
"What is it like in the battle ground? Hell. Pure unadulterated hell,” said Youngblood.
For 22 years, Sgt. Youngblood served our country, but he says the enemy wasn't always who or what you think.
"There are insects and bugs all over. Over in Iraq there are some nasty critters over there,” said Youngblood. "Everybody loves to eat. No matter what country or where you are from, there's always going to be food and you love it."
Soldiers get their food in meal, ready to eat or MRE's packets. All of this food is about 3000-5000 calories. For 32 years, the military has used the same bags. The food has to sustain vigorous terrain, hot temperatures and the enemy.
"Some of the bugs are good at chewing through some of the protections,” said Dr. Hung-Jue Sue at Texas A&M University. He is hoping to make some changes with the MRE bags.
"Bugs and insects are mainly related to storage. You put it in a warehouse say in Iraq on US bases. Different regions have different kinds of bugs,” said Dr. Sue who has worked with the US military for the past 15 years.
Currently he's testing out material with the most efficient technology to create packaging that not only keeps the food safe but is easier to carry.
"That would be awesome. That's something we have asked for many many years,” said Youngblood.
Dr. Sue showed us the prototypes currently being tested by the U.S. Military. Thinner sleeves would be used to store entrees instead of small boxes.
"Then you can reduce the volume. But then you look at the cost. This is much cheaper than this,” said Dr. Sue.
He says the military could save millions of dollars a year with stronger and smaller packaging material.
"If you had these smaller, that would be a Godsend to all of these soldiers,” said Youngblood.
Youngblood says the packaging would help his fellow comrades on the field.
"If you can carry more food because it is smaller, you can stay out there longer and not worry about having to re-supply.”
All MRE bags go through a series of tests including ones to make sure no insects can get into the food and contaminate it. If all tests are passed, this new prototype could start production as early as next year.
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