Aussie Cred for FRED


Submitted by Churba Silvertongue

The FRED is a cousin of the P-38 Can opener.  It utilizes the same basic design, but also adds a small spoon on one end and a bottle opener on the other.  FRED is an official acronym –  Food Ration Extraction Device –  but is usually known by the more popular "Frigging Ridiculous Eating Device."  For two small bits of stamped metal, it is astoundingly useful for boot scraping, cutting, wire stripping, prying things apart, and opening boxes.  It can also be used as a screwdriver, an improvised tool for firearm maintenance or radio Repair, and even a small but effective weapon.  Oh, yeah, and it opens cans. 

     FREDs are usually available from Australian Disposal stores (online, too) for about .50c Australian.

  • Ric

    Also available in Aussie Ration Packs. Most reliable can opener in the world!!

  • Strider

    Another great can opener is the OPENER, CAN, HAND, FOLDING, TYPE I P-38 CAN OPENER a.k.a “John Wayne”
    It was developed in just 30 days in the summer of 1942 by the Subsistence Research Laboratory in Chicago. And never in its 55-year-old history has it ever been known to break, rust, need sharpening or polishing; which is why many soldiers past and present, have come to regard the P-38 C-Ration can opener as one of the greatest Army Inventions ever.

    These things can do anything…
    Three for 1USD at DogTagsRUs

  • Andrew Kirk

    FREDs are the single most useful thing I have ever used. It’s fun to go around telling people that it’s an “Army Issue Combat Spoon.”
    Quite a few actually believe it…

  • Paul North

    Can you suggest an online store to get a FRED? I’ve still got a P-38. Used to wear it around my neck with my dogtags.

    • Cameron Macdonald

      Bought a F.R.E.D. today (March 8, 2015) for $1.99 (US) for a pack of 2. Bought at Sports Chalet in Los Angeles area of southern California, USA. Also sold online ( Made in China, just like the replicas that I saw sold in Australia. The product was sold under the name “Coleman”‘ which has been making camping gear for decades.

  • Bob Hunter

    Are there any SPECIFIC sites from which I can order these? I’m a member of Post 9086 of the VFW in Torrington, CT. We’re always looking for ways that will make life a little easier for our troops abroad. This is a gift that can be purchased in bulk for a relatively low cost, and positively affect the lives of several soldiers. I’d like to pitch this to my post. Please advise if you know of any sites that’ll work with us. Thanks.

  • Woomera37

    The FRED has been one of the most useful items that I have been issued in my career. I still have them in places around the house like my tool box, the golvebox of the car, in the kitchen draw as a back up opener and one on the beer fridge.

  • Dick Smith

    I, for one, am still waiting for an answer to the questions already asked, about where or how this item can be purchased.

  • Jack Ezel

    You can find them at for $1.00. The direct link is . I do not have any relationship with them, just found the link.

  • curt watkins

    well, lets see. i know for a fact that the aussies i worked with HATE these things!!! they call it the “F*CKING RIDICOLOUS EATING DEVICE.” when i trained with them years ago–they all had grabbed up our MRE spoons and cut a hole in them and wore them on thier dogtag chain!! i saw them in person and these things are a joke!! just hang onto your MRE spoon so you will always have something to eat with and forget the “FRED”

  • Brent Rogers

    There’s nothing like a poke in the skin whenever the P38 spikes open and sticks you.

  • M/Sgt Jim Root, USAF

    As a Jump-Qualified Rescue Specialist & SERE Instructor from 1954-1974 I carried & used the P-38 my entire career. I have carried my old
    P-38 on my keyring since then!
    I may have the oldest P-38 still in use–it’s over 50 years old & still works better than any of the “new-fangled” devices!

  • Gene Strouth

    You will never see me without m P-38. I received it in my c-rations and have never seen anythig better to open a large can of coffee. I was in the service for 20 years and hav been out 32 years.When was my P-38 made, hell,I don’t know and don’t give a shit…

  • Gene Strouth

    You will never see me without m P-38. I received it in my c-rations and have never seen anythig better to open a large can of coffee. I was in the service for 20 years and hav been out 32 years.When was my P-38 made, hell,I don’t know and don’t give a shit…SFC E-7 Gene A. Strouth of ARIZONA

  • Bert Lane

    I was discharged in 1982 after 20 years. I still have about six ‘Fred’s’ in my kitchen drawer – all fully serviceable and all used frequently. They were just the best invention – apart from the GP Boot.

    Bert Lane

  • MAJ (ret) Fred D., N

    First of all, yes, my name really is Fred. All this discussion has suddenly brought back fond memories of P-38’s I have known and loved since I enlisted in the active Army in ’78. Question: does anyone know where exactly the designation “P-38” came from? And how does anyone know that “P-38” is its name (besides word of mouth)? Is it written anywhere? Remember that they came only 2 or 4 to a case of 12 C-Rats? It seems to me that after I was in the service for a while, a slightly larger version appeared. Does anyone else remeber that? The MRE ended the era of the P-38 but made it necessary for you to have some kind of knife on you (if you didn’t already) to open the packages. Agreed?

  • Dick in Albuquerque
  • Dave

    I’m an Army Brat and always loved c-rats. The second thing I put on my first key chain was a P-38 and it is still there. I’d be lost without it and wouldn’t know what to do if at least once a day the cutting point didn’t stick me in the leg.

  • John Friedson

    We’ve been using the same P38 in our kitchen for over 25 years! Don’t even have an electric opener. Incredible.

  • Cpl. Duffy

    I got my P-38 in 1942 on the Mojave desert. We were training to go to N. Africa and meet General Rommel. It went with me all the way to Korea by way of several Pacific islands including Okinawa on April first. The guys already there in NAF fixed his wagon so I didn’t get to meet him.

  • Col Gerald Safford U

    I received my first “P-38” in 1948 when I joined the Oklahoma National Guard, 45th Inf Div. (I still have it.)

    Legend was that the design was copied from a device taken from Japanese POW’s. This may or may not be true. I have always been skeptical of this tale, but who knows ?

  • COL Rod Reed, USA (R

    All stories about the legendary exploits and deeds of the P-38 are “true.” I will add a FRED to my emergency kit and plan to be buried with both — just in case I need to “open up and dig out!”

  • mick brand

    u better believe it. This is a fantastic tool. Get one any way you can. It will also open a beer. What more could you want.

  • donle

    Are you in the Military, Active Duty – say no more.

    Want a P38 or two – I have many – just send an address and name and I’ll send them out after the Holidays – stay safe !

  • Joe Wilson

    You can get the P-38 in a package of 5 for $2.97 + shipping from;

  • Joe Wilson

    Andrew Kofod
    Goulburn Disposals
    94 Auburn St
    P.O. Box 579
    NSW 2580

    This place carry FRED’s and sell them NEW in a pack of 2 for $10.00AUD.

    Freight to the USA they said would be another $7.00

    • Harry Morant

      Repro’s – not the real thing

  • Aussie

    i reckon these Yanks would be stupid enough to pay 5 or 10 bucks for a FRED!!!!!!

  • Jack Cloud

    I don’t think the spoon is all that good, but the can opener is great. It’s longer than the U.S. version and has better leverage. I had mine issued in an Australian ration I received while serving close to the RAA in Somalia.

  • Annonymous

    Just thought you might to know someone is exposing your company. Check out: not sure what the laws on it are, but…

  • Dana Christensen

    Freds sound like a great idea to add to a P-38 (I had my dads). Does anyone sell them in the states? the links above dont work.

  • Bama Katt

    In response to how the P-38 got it’s name: I was always told it was because it took 38 Punctures to open a 1lb coffee can.

    It should be pointed out,though,that my dad (26 years service) was a helluva good man who always enjoyed making up pretty wild answers to “Daddy why” questions.

    I’ve got one on my key ring right now- hanging on my belt,NOT in my pocket; learned THAT painful lesson years ago- but I’ll bet I forget about counting holes,just like I always do, by the time I need to open a new can of coffee.

  • JR

    Fred is sold in CONUS by Coleman at….

  • jeff

    You can open a beer with a FRED. Great thing to have.

  • Just thought I would let yall know. The FRED is back at, along with alot of other cool survival kits and stuff. I think it is under either Tools and Sharps section or the Food Prep and Storage.

  • Jake

    The Spanish equivelent to the MRE (actually high class c-rats) has a dandy can opener. I obtained mine in the late 90’s and it still is in use.

  • Dan Kellett

    The acronym is acually,
    Field Ration Eating Device.

    It is no longer included in CR1M aussie ration packs.

  • John D.

    Carried one since BCT in 1977, always had one somewhere in my kit in 4 combat deployments and 32 yrs of active service. While in Germany in 79, my supply SGT wife got a bag of them and we sent one each in every christmas card we sent! Friends and relatives still show us the P-38 on their keychain to this day!! One of the war winning tools of WW2!! PS we are still married!!