JACKSON, Mo. — After more than 17 years inside a retired Special Forces soldier's colon, the first Meals Ready-to-Eat consumed during the war in Afghanistan was pooped out this week, sources confirmed today.
1st Sgt. Jeff Donegan (Ret.) says he ate the beef ravioli MRE during the initial invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001.
"I remember it like it was yesterday. A hot, dusty afternoon on the outskirts of Kandahar. Not a rock or something in sight to lean my heater on," Donegan said. "I cracked open that wheat snack bread knowing we'd be in it for the long haul, but I never could have imagined it would be this long."
Donegan went on to serve three more tours in Afghanistan and two in Iraq before retiring in 2011. He said his battle to push the MRE through his intestines is an analogy for the invisible battles thousands of troops fight once they leave the service.
"I thought that once I retired, my days thinking about the war were over, and I could move on with my life," he said. "But the years went by, and I could still feel the cheese spread inside me, gnawing at my guts. It cut down deep into my core, an obsession that I just couldn't shake out."
Donegan finally sought professional help to assist him in passing the MRE through his bowels. He says help is out there for the many soldiers who still struggle to defecate after eating them.
"I finally talked to a therapist and she said that it's all about acceptance," he added. "I needed to accept it before I could let it go, to face my demons head on. Yeah, it hurt. I think pooping out MREs hurts us all in its own way, but I got through it."
At press the time, the most recent plate of goat meat and rice served to American troops by their Afghan partners had already been sprayed all over a local Port-a-John.