Tags: us | marines | afghanistan | hot | meal

U.S. Marines Upset Over Losing Hot Meal at Afghanistan Base

Friday, 31 May 2013 10:48 PM

By Todd Beamon

The drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan will cause the Marines serving there to lose one hot meal a day starting on Saturday — and many troops aren’t happy about it.

“This boils my skin,” one Marine stationed at Camp Leatherneck told his wife in an email this week, NBC News reports. “One of my entire shifts will go 6.5 hours without a meal. If we need to cut back on money I could come up with 100 other places.”

The Marine declined to speak with NBC.

“Instead, we will target the biggest contributor to morale. I must be losing my mind. What is our senior leadership thinking? I just got back from flying my ass off — and in a few days, I will not have a meal to replenish me after being away for over 9 hours.”

Marines at Camp Leatherneck will lose a hot breakfast because the midnight ration service — known as “midrats” — is being dismantled as the drawdown of U.S. troops continues.

As a result, some Marines will have to forgo a hot breakfast, while others must work six or more hours without eating cooked food, according to NBC.

The “midrats” service provides breakfast to Marines working from midnight to noon, as well a hot meal to those ending noon-to-midnight shifts. Troops tell NBC that it’s one of the few times the Marines at Leatherneck can be together in one place.

Hot meals will be replaced with pre-packaged “Meals Ready to Eat” — or MREs, Marine Corps Lt. Col. Cliff Gilmore told NBC.

Also, the camp also is dismantling its 24-hour sandwich bar.

Located in Afghanistan’s southwestern Helmand Province, Camp Leatherneck is between Iran and Pakistan. More than 30,000 American troops will leave in the coming months as the U.S. turns over security operations to Afghan forces next year.

“The fact is our force in Afghanistan is shrinking fast and all the creature comforts and services deployed military-members have grown accustomed to over the past decade are going to be reduced," Gilmore, who has been deployed in Afghanistan since February, told NBC in an email. “When serving we are challenged to endure different things — to face different challenges — over time.

“But we're an odd bunch, we Marines,” Gilmore added. “Probably no surprise that we'll complain more about losing the sandwich bar on the way out than we did about getting shot at on the way in.”

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