As originally reported on the congressional website of Republican Rep. Bruce Braley of Iowa (IA-01), the U.S. Army has stopped serving breakfast to American troops serving on 17 bases in Afghanistan. The measure, which will be extended further beginning this weekend, is one of the earliest stages in the U.S. military pull-out from Afghanistan.
On his website, Braley explained he learned about the military’s cutbacks from Iowa constituents whose family members are serving in Afghanistan.
The congressman sent a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh, in which he said,
“I am troubled that the Army would deny any deployed troops three meals per day, regardless of force size,” Braley wrote. “These men and women put their lives on the line every day to protect the very freedoms we cherish. The exhaustive mental and physical labor that is required by soldiers to fight in harsh and unforgiving conditions is tremendous. We shouldn’t deny our troops something as fundamental as a proper meal.
“I am positive that with the logistical mastery the Army has exhibited in combat operations around the world, you can logistically administer the procedure of serving breakfast every day.”
According to a report in the Washington Times, troops have been writing home asking families and friends to send them care packages of cereals and other breakfast foods.
The U.S. military apparently decided it is sufficient to supply the troops with pre-packaged breakfast “Meals Ready to Eat,” known as MREs. They are also referred to as “Meals Rejected by Everyone,” and are considered by health experts to be “restricted rations” which should not be served for more than 21 days. MREs are supposed to be used for troops who are out in the field without access to cooking facilities.
Col. Joe Wawro, an infantry commander for the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat team said that in anticipation of the “draw down of operational forces serving in Afghanistan, my staff examined ways to reduce our footprint and se the conditions for the reduction of forces.” Cutting back on hot breakfast food for the troops, “would reduce their overall operations by 40 percent.”
After meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Washington on January 7, President Obama said the U.S. intends to withdraw most of the 66,000 troops currently serving in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.