Our WWII Navy Emergency Ration Blue and Red Reproduction are modern Charms candy, with 3 of the Blue Reproduction Labels and 3 of the Red Reproduction Labels – WWII Navy Emergency Ration labels wrapped over the modern Charms pack. The WW2 USN Emergency Ration Reproduction is available in packs of 6.
Charms were a large part of the U.S. Navy Emergency Ration for Life Rafts. Emergency Ration Charms were a large part of the U.S. Navy Emergency Ration for Life Rafts. Each Emergency ration contained one pack of red charms and one pack of blue charms. The blue label charms were hard fruit candies. The inclusion of citric acid was to stimulate saliva and aid digestion. (We have no idea why saliva is such an important part of ration development but both the Army and Navy had concerns over military spit.)
The Navy Medical Research Institute was established in 1942 and immediately set out to develop emergency rations that were appropriate for adrift sailors.
Initially dubbed the NMRI Emergency Ration, the ration was designed to “lend itself to easy consumption and efficient metabolism.” Each can contained high-fat butterscotch and hard fruit candies, along with malted milk tablets, vitamin tablets and a cellophane bag to protect the candies from saltwater. The candies were both made by Charms and were wrapped with a red label for the butterscotch candies and blue for the fruit candies.
By 1944, these rations were adapted for use as a lifeboat ration and as part of the Navy pilot survival kits. The emergency rations were provided to both USMC and U.S. Navy aviators, as well as sailors who were shipwrecked.
The Naval Emergency Ration would continue to be used through the 1950s. Later Korean War versions of the candies lack the paper wrapper and have the label information printed right on the foil.