HooAH! Bar

Baskets of HooAH! Bars in military packaging
Baskets of HooAH! Bars in military packaging.

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History of the HooAH! Bar

HooAH! was created in 1996 by the Department of Defense Combat Feeding Directorate at the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, MA, through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with M&M Mars, Inc., to increase energy and improve performance of warfighters during intense military operations.

Soldier with HooAH! bar

Before the HooAH! bar, researchers learned there was a demand for the product, noticing that soldiers were buying on their own whatever performance nutrition bars were available. But commercial energy bars became hard as a rock over time and had other undesirable aspects for Army use. The military operational requirement for ration storage is a minimum of three years at 80 degrees F. or six months at 100 degrees F., a challenge not met by other nutrition bars.

Army research came up with the ideal combination of fats, protein, sugars and other carbs to give excellent flavor for the soldier-consumers with the long shelf life needed for Army requirements. At the time of initial development, studies found the HooAH! bar to be superior to anything else on the market.

The bars gained regular, widespread distribution in the military supply chain. HooAH! became a component of the CarboPack, and beginning in 2006, will be in several Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) menus. A reduced size HooAH! is part of the First Strike Ration fielded in 2007.

The military HooAH! bar comes in apple-cinnamon, chocolate, cran-raspberry, peanut butter and raspberry flavors. The bar issued in the MRE package has HooAH! and Oorah! on the wrapper to cater to different military services (photo, below). The original package had the HooAH! on one side and Oorah! on the other, but another design has been used with both on the same side (photo, above).

Hooah! bar

Commercialization of the HooAH! Bar

After several unsuccessful attempts to commercialize the HooAH! Bar, in 2004 the Army HooAH! registered trademark was licensed by D'Andrea Brothers of Los Angeles for commercial sales. By the end of 2004, the company introduced the commercial bar in silver, red, white and blue packaging, the only change from the military bar which is packaged as seen in the top photo on this page. The commercial bar has several flavors, each 280 calories, with 10 grams of soy and whey protein, 9 grams of non-hydrogenated palm oil, 40 grams of simple and complex carbohydrates, and 17 vitamins and minerals.

The energy bar is now named "Soldier Fuel" instead of HOOAH! They are available from Amazon.com at this link.

A portion of the proceeds from every bar sold commercially is returned to the Combat Feeding Directorate to help fund the Army's research into enhancing soldier safety, diet and quality of life.

The HOOAH! has also been applied to an energy drink, referred to as "soldier fuel." The U.S. military does not seem to have procured this product, instead fielding the Energy Rich, Glucose Optimized (ERGO) drink.

History of HooAH!

The word "hooah" (pronounced who-aw) is an expression of high morale, strength and confidence that usually means "heard, understood and acknowledged" but can mean almost anything except no. It may have originated with the British phrase "Huzzah!" that dates at least to the 18th Century, although many other explanations are offered. It grew roots in the Army infantry and has now spread to the rest of the U.S. military.

At Navy boot camp you will hear "ooh-rah" which is also heard from Marines who claim "ooh-rah" was started with a Marine battle cry from the Revolutionary War. Don't try to tell a Marine that "ooh-rah" and "hooah" are the same. "Ooh-rah" and "hooah" are both used on Navy bases and on ships, except for the SEALS’ slightly different "hoo-ya."

Not to be left out, the Air Force also uses "hooah" although there has been a largely unsuccessful effort to substitute "airpower" as the USAF cry.

After more than 150 years, the expression continues to grow in popularity. It spread to the general public in 1992, when Al Pacino played retired Army Lt. Col. Frank Slade in the movie Scent of a Woman . Pacino made "HooAH!" part of the American vocabulary, reinforced by GySgt. R. Lee Ermey's award winning show on The History Channel, "Mail Call."

Find More Information on the Internet

There are many fine websites that have additional information on this topic, too many to list here and too many to keep up with as they come and go. Use this Google web search form to get an up to date report of what's out there.

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