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In Before I Go Berserk, Hon Jack tells Anne in a letter dated July 15, 1952, “We went on bivouac last nite. That’s overnight camping. We left the barracks at 5:15 and marched 13 miles, with a full pack. Most of us got there but some of the boys just couldn’t get there. They wouldn’t give us any water and we had to eat K-rations.”

K-rations were designed in 1941 as a short-duration, non-perishable, ready-to-eat meal that was so compact it could fit in a soldier’s pocket. Each box contained three meals with a caloric intake of between 2,830 and 3,000 calories depending on the food source used. Despite that K-rations were not intended for long-time consumption, they became a staple of soldiers fighting on the front lines. Eventually, K-rations were found not to be as nutritionally sound as once believed. After WWII, they were phased out. However, K-rations were stockpiled and used in the Korean War.

In addition to K-rations, soldiers were given Accessory Packets. Today, collectors scour the Internet to purchase K-rations from the various wars. They also film themselves partaking in the rations they’ve purchased. One such individual who purchased an Accessory Packet from the Korean War even smokes a Chesterfield cigarette! We thought you’d enjoy seeing what was inside an Accessory Packet and how much this particular collector enjoyed smoking a Chesterfield from 1951. Is it any wonder many soldiers got hooked on cigarettes? - Christine Stevens DeLorenzo

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