The Black Crescent on Ration Cartons

Cases of K Rations during fighting on Bougainville, World War II
Cases of K Rations during fighting on Bougainville, World War II.

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The Black Crescent on Ration Cartons

Loading Combat Rations on Ship, 28 April 1944.  Soldier is Lt. Lawrence H. Neher of Chicago
Loading Combat Rations on Ship, 28 April 1944. Soldier is Lt. Lawrence H. Neher of Chicago.

All ration cartons have the distinctive black crescent marked on them. The interesting history of this marking goes back to World War I.

Rations carton with black crescent

The black crescent that is seen on U.S. military ration packaging was formally adopted for the AEF in France during World War I to identify rations in the field, This symbol was adopted by all the allied armies and continued in use through WW II and is the international symbol for food in NATO as well. It continues in use to this day. {Thanks to Luther Hanson of the QM Museum and Mathieu Pascal of Belgium for this information.)

A common example of this marking is the black crescent that appears on C ration cartons. For more details on how C Rations cartons were marked, including the use of the black crescent, go to the Olive-Drab.com page "C Rations: Markings".

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