c rations

‘Boy, you sure get offered some shitty choices,’ a Marine once said to me, and I couldn’t help but feel that what he really meant was that you didn’t get offered any at all. Specifically, he was just talking about a couple of C-ration cans, 'dinner,’ but considering his young life you couldn’t blame him for thinking that if he knew one thing for sure, it was that there was no one anywhere who cared less about what he wanted. There wasn’t anybody he wanted to thank for his food, but he was grateful that he was still alive to eat it, that the mother-fucker hadn’t scared him up first. He hadn’t been anything but tired and scared for six months and he’d lost a lot, mostly people, and seen far too much, but he was breathing in and breathing out, some kind of choice all by itself.
—  Michael Herr in his book Dispatches

Meal, Combat, Individual

Photo #1:

  • One Spaghetti W/ Ground Meat 
  • One pecan nut roll 
  • One peanut butter 
  • One B-2 unit(crackers and chocolate bar) 
  • One plastic spoon 
  • One accessory packet in aluminum foil 

Photo #2:

  • One Beans, W/Frankfurters Chunks In Tomato Sauce 
  • One peanut butter 
  • One date pudding 
  • One B-2 unit(crackers and chocolate bar) 
  • One plastic spoon 
  • One accessory packet in aluminum foil

Photos #3 & 4:

  • One cigarette box (Marlboro OR Salem) 
  • Matches 
  • Chewing gum 
  • Toilet paper 
  • Instant coffee 
  • Coffee creamer 
  • Sugar 
  • Salt

From Wikipedia:

A United States Airman’s Meal, Combat, Individual ration (also called a C-ration). DaNang, Vietnam, c 1966 - 1967.

The meal comprised the following, from left to right:

  • A military issue canteen (not supplied with the ration)
  • A B-2 unit can of 4 hardtack biscuits covered in cheese spread.
  • A D-3 unit can of white bread.
  • An M-2 unit can of franks and beans (hot dog chunks and beans in tomato sauce, which was colloquially called “beanie weenie,” with a plastic spoon, behind which is the cardboard carton in which the entire Meal, Combat, Individual ration was packaged
  • A brown foil-wrapped Accessory Pack, containing salt, pepper, sugar, instant coffee, non-dairy creamer, two pieces of candy-coated chewing gum, toilet paper, a 4-pack of commercial-grade cigarettes (brands: Camel, Chesterfield, Kent, Kool, Lucky Strike, Marlboro, Pall Mall, Salem, or Winston), and a book of 20 cardboard moisture-proof matches
  • A D-2 unit can of date pudding.
  • A P-38 can opener (the metal object sitting on the small unopened date pudding can on the right).
  • The clear plastic bag in which the plastic spoon was packed

NOTE: this picture shows two dessert cans, which was not regular issue. Military personnel often swapped cans from one another.