Thought you'd be entertained by the following. It’s a gradually escalating exchange of comments related to SERE as found on the edodo message board [Now Defunct]. This stuff really made me laugh... Sometimes, you just can't go too far. (June 2000)
I think what happened in the past was more a consequence of the schedule. You started off with 4 days of survival. During that time you got used to hunger and eating those yellow things, but it wasn't bad because you were still saving your power bars AND you knew you had those 2 rabbits (we won another and caught a squirrel, so we ate meat every night). By the time the fun stuff began, your body was used to running on grass, you had already shitted out the dry hairy rat turd, and you didn't care about the muddy water. The 1-canteen cup of sardine/rice medley – or whatever it was – was too much for your Carnie Wilson stapled stomach to take and you were able to take it all in stride and concentrate on evading Charlie.
PowerBars? Two Rabbits?
We had, for 6 people, one rabbit and two Milky Way bars our instructor gave us because he was sick of eating them in the instructor camp. We had one boot-leather steak, maybe 1.5 lbs, with which to make jerky in our little smoke tent, 2 packs each K-rations, AND we had to struggle for dominance over Neanderthal Man who were eating all the mammoth and woolly bison. We had the Secret of Making Fire, but he was more massive and was better suited to the cold.
But between SERE and 4' year, you were prepared you for ANYTHING the world could toss out. If anything, they're getting screwed out of good training.
You had STEAK? And K-Rats? And MREs? AND A RABBIT?
We would have killed for K-Rats; we had those lousy C-Rats: Sugar Cookie Substitute and Oatmeal Bar Anus Blocker (one ea.), Ersatz Coffee (dehydrated), Cocoa Simulacrum (don't ask), and salt and pepper. We were given one knife to share amongst twelve of us for eight minutes, just long enough for us each to sharpen a stick with which to hunt and gather. On the last night before the trek, we were handed a burlap sack containing a pit viper and told to celebrate (I don't know when this lame-ass bunny thing began...).
The third bivouac was made at the Partisan Kamp at the bottom of the Beaver Ponds (a highly deceiving name, let me tell you). We had to take turns sleeping while held afloat by our teammates, who would tread water just long enough for a breath of air before sinking again. In return for this, the Partisans gave us dinner consisting of a warm leaf and some lint. One guy forgot his Ident Questions and had to forego wearing socks for the remainder of the trek.
We didn't even have compasses: we had an astrolabe and sextant at each camp, which we all had to share, and used celestial navigation to draw maps with blood on birch bark.
You had rations?
We had to find all our own food, and there were no animals, so if you wanted a little meat, cannibalism was the only option, and many a 3-degree never made it back. If we wanted salt, we had to hike to the ocean shore and evaporate it from seawater. And what I wouldn't have given for an anus blocker - we had to turn in our colons at the start of the trek and weren't allowed to digest any of our food. They gave you a knife? If we wanted tools, we had to make our own stone axes - try that with your bare hands. And a sextant and astrolabe? Why, when we were on the trek, the stars hadn't even settled into their constellations yet, and celestial navigation was impossible. Fortunately, we could chart lava flows from the many active volcanoes.
These kids today have it too easy...
And each night we'd find the next partisan camp where they'd kneel us in front of an open ditch and shoot us dead. The next morning we had to dig our way out of the mass grave, give them back the bullet and move on to the next camp, carrying our splattered brains in our bloody hands.
But try telling that to cadets today.