After a year's delay that sent ripples of mouth-watering agony coursing through companies of deployed service members the world over, uniting rival branches in mutual, food-fetish FOMO, the wait is finally over.
At long last, the Pizza MRE is here.
Well, sort of. The production issues that hung it up at Natick have been ironed out, but MRE stock is distributed in the order in which it's made, so the first wave of high-tech Italian-American grunt pies won't cycle into the supply chain until the end of 2018. So, technically speaking, the most highly anticipated ration item since MREs replaced the C-Ration in in 1981 is not so much here as it is "here."
Yeah, you wish the MRE came out of the plastic looking like this. Staff Sgt. Jeffery Furbush, 8th Maintenance Squadron, cuts up a pizza during a cooking class at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Feb. 20, 2013. Note: While this fancy, air-base pie may look delicious, when wrapped up in tin foil, it lasts like 36 hours, tops. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marcus Morris)
But to the pizza-lovers of the US military (read: everybody), the distribution tables are irrelevant. Natick has finally delivered on a 30-year-old promise, a field-ready slice of pizza with tomato sauce, cheese, and pepperoni that is shelf-stable for 3 years when stored at 80 degrees or below and can survive a 100-foot airdrop.
Nevermind that Norwegian Arctic Field Rations have featured a similar slice since at least 2016 and certain over-excited internet boy scouts have been taunting us with sketchily sourced taste tests on YouTube, like this one:
The pizza will join pocket sandwiches in the ever-expanding line of "first-strike meals," which are designed to be lighter and easier to consume than traditional MRE's for troops operating under battlefield conditions.
So, good news, troops.
While your MRE pizza delivery may actually still be a ways off, you can at least take comfort in the old guarantee: since it didn't arrive in 30 minutes or less, your pizza will be free.
From left, Airmen Basic Patryk Herman and Derrick Dillion, 338th Training Squadron students, are served pizza by Staff Sgt. Tawny Crutcher, Tech. Sgt. Charles Poston, Staff Sgt. Charmaine Flint, Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Miller and Master Sgt. Jakelyne Kamarakafego, members of the Air Force Sergeants Association. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)