U.S. cutting back on hot chow for troops
June 21st, 2013
06:30 AM ET

U.S. cutting back on hot chow for troops

By Barbara Starr

Napoleon Bonaparte is credited with the battlefield adage: "An Army moves on its stomach." That, of course, means there's nothing like good chow.

For the thousands of U.S. troops who will fight in Afghanistan for another 17 months, it is not just the quality of the food they have to consider. Now there will be a bit less of it.

U.S. troops in Afghanistan for years have been fed four hot meals a day, including what is fondly known as "mid-rats" or midnight rations.

That is a meal for troops headed back and forth from the field or pulling a midnight shift on base.

Those meals are served in cafeteria-style dining halls - sometimes little more than a tent - where troops can select items from a buffet.

But as the United States winds down its combat operations in Afghanistan, so, too, will it wind down its food operations.

The Defense Department is cutting back to two hot meals a day, most likely just lunch and dinner.

The reason: the Pentagon is trying to scale down the number of contractors needed to cook and serve meals and run dining areas.

Its all about getting ready to pull troops, equipment and everything else that supports the war.

"We will significantly reduce contractor and supply chain requirements," said David Lakin, a spokesman for U.S. Force in Afghanistan, in an e-mail exchange with CNN.

Commanders insist, however, that the troops will not go hungry.

Packaged foods will be available. But breakfast and the midnight meal will now be mainly "meals ready to eat." Those are the bagged rations known as "MRE's."

Large-quantity rations packages, which feed multiple troops at one time, also will be available.

The military believes "most soldiers don't consume the midnight meal and breakfast is also a low attendance event.

Putting the two hot meals together through lunch and dinner also allows for removal of an entire dining facility shift, Lakin said.

This will put troops in the position of eating rations for at least 17 months until the United States ends its combat presence.

Individual commanders will have the flexibility to make some changes in the meal plan. But in the meantime, what are the very top senior military officials eating, especially those from NATO, which does not fall under Pentagon rules?

Well a letter is being drafted to NATO headquarters asking them to go along with the same plan, and that means Gen. Joseph Dunford, the four-star Marine who runs Afghanistan operations, may soon find himself ripping open a ration bag just like everyone else.

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  34. Paddle App

    Trying to save money by cutting American troops hot food. Interview the American troops let's see how they feel.

    June 11, 2017 at 7:00 pm | Reply
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  36. David

    When I was in the military, we very seldom ate 3 hot meals a day. When in the field, we hardly ever ate any hot meals. They were mostly C-rats and MREs. We got a hot dinner and sometimes a hot breakfast. These men are closing out their bases. Its not war anymore, its over. Can we start taking these people off their pedestals and treat them like our other civil servants? I was in the military for 5 years, and I never got 1/2 the things these people are receiving.

    July 11, 2014 at 3:44 pm | Reply
    • Mark

      I worked evening shift on the flight line for several years. Heat, cold, rain, and snow. Those planes had to fly the next day, no matter what. I know what it is like to be hungry, because sometimes we couldn't spare the time to eat. It's hard to keep working when you're falling down exhausted. Food provides something called "energy." Hot food provides something called, "good morale." And btw, MREs taste terrible.

      July 26, 2014 at 8:02 pm | Reply
      • John Russo

        This retired paratrooper knows that MRE really stands for Meals Rejected by Ethiopians.

        December 2, 2014 at 9:14 am |
    • Heather

      Lets see what about the prison system here. They all get 3 hot meals a day. But our troops won't. Do you see a problem with this? Because I sure as hell do!!

      October 19, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Reply
      • John Russo

        Yes, I DO see a problem. In addition, I remember that just after the first gulf war, there were a lot of surplus MREs. Apparently we had won that war much more quickly than expected.
        One of the prisons here in the states purchased some of them (In Maryland if I remember correctly). But, when they began feeding them to the inmates, a lawsuit was filed. The court decided that the MREs were NOT good enough for the inmates, and ruled that the prison system could not compel the inmates to eat them.

        December 2, 2014 at 9:20 am |
  37. cj_vel

    I think we should send some of the criminals we are housing in the prisons in the U.S. to replace the 'personnel' that is needed for food preparation. Put those felons to work taking care of the men and women who are keeping us safe. And if they don't like it, let those same courageous men and women shoot them for target practice.

    June 18, 2014 at 8:32 pm | Reply
    • Matthew

      Ha, don't waste our bullets on those cons! If they don't behave just toss them over the wire! I guarantee they'll mind they're manners! Actually toss the multiple offenders over the wire anyway because they're a drain on society and of no use to anyone. I like you're idea though. But if the military wants to eliminate a chow shift why can't they just throw some microwaves on a couple tables and some t.v. dinners or Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches in a fridge? I wouldn't think that's very expensive and it's still a hot meal and better than MRE's. Of course I might be naive about the cost of Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches because I would never pay $600 for a toilet seat like the government does...

      September 27, 2014 at 1:49 am | Reply
  38. Name*

    Ok, I understand cutbacks like the next person; however are you really trying to cut back on the men and women who are putting their life on the line each day. You have cut their salaries now their rations. What I want to know is how many hot meals are complain art at the White House, for our Senators and Congressmen. How about at the pentagon. Maybe you could cut all of those meals and pay for are troops. After all you can afford to pay fir your meals ir go without. Lets not sacrifice our troops anymore. Give them their hot meals.

    June 3, 2014 at 1:53 am | Reply
    • Paul

      My nephew recently returned to Afghanistan for his second deployment. A few days ago he went to the mess hall only to find it locked and posted with a sign explaining that, due to budget cuts, breakfast would no longer be served.

      On that same day, it was reported in the media that members of Congress would be receiving an automatic pay raise they had budgeted for themselves. Every citizen of the United States should be outraged by this! If we cannot afford to feed our soldiers, we certainly cannot afford to increase the salaries of our “political elite.”

      — Janell Perkins

      June 14, 2014 at 1:44 am | Reply
  39. *jess Ettenhofer

    Feed our solders ! If there needs to be cut backs on cost, take it away from prisoners. It's all paid by our taxes . I feel better if my tax money went to people that out getting shot at, wounded and dying for our country. Not to prisoners that are rapist, murders, child molesters, and druggies! Some body needs to pull there head out of there ass !!!

    June 2, 2014 at 10:17 pm | Reply
    • Josh

      Its not a cut back its a scale down. it needs to be done. I'm sure if it could logistically be done so we can have 5 hot meals a day for our troops with the number or troops we have there we could do it. but the fact is these people don't need to be there when we have MRE's which work just fine and a lot of the time better then Cafeteria meals. this is part of being in a war and ending a occupation.

      June 6, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Reply
  40. Skyler

    This is actually a huge crock of ****. We are still getting and always will get 4 meals a day. Now if the soldier chooses not to eat one or more of those meals, that's his decision. But shame on you CNN for spreading a blatent lie to the public.

    June 2, 2014 at 7:29 pm | Reply
  41. zerses

    Hey CNN are you all drunk?

    The military should NOT have "contractors" cooking food!



    May 22, 2014 at 8:36 pm | Reply
    • Jnp

      I completely agree!!! My dad was in the army and he always talks about how ridiculous it is that they hire contractors to cook when the army has cooks.

      May 25, 2014 at 2:23 am | Reply
      • Lance

        Bear in mind that there are a finite number of cooks in any branch of the military. Deploy them, and you'll have contractors (or more civilians) to fill the void. Either way, there is a void to flil, whether it is here or abroad. Given the drawdowns, they surely aren't going to bolster the active duty numbers to avoid contracting the work.

        May 26, 2014 at 9:20 am |
    • zerses

      Since contractors, MOST OF THEM, are paid FAR more than our troops, this is a travesty and the miltiary is LEAKING MONEY!

      May 26, 2014 at 11:38 am | Reply
    • John Sizemore

      I was an active duty cook told to retire because my services were no longer needed. I was in Afghanistan with in three weeks making twice my pay while in the military and getting a pension. Go figure.

      May 27, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Reply
    • mytbean

      I understand that some "contractors" aren't necessary. But – the military soldiers are intended to move on short notice. When 500 people are needed in one place, they take people from every where. Problem #1 – soldiers running your secure networks, Problem #2 soldiers trained to maintain the machines used for sensitive intel, Problem #3 soldiers who are doctors trained to treat post tramatic stress disorder and have formed relationships with their patients... These people – when they are treated like all other soldiers and they leave a station to run around in the desert then are returned to a random location to serve a completely different function – they are damaging the stability of the military. THIS is what contractors are for. They are for stations that are intended to be permanent. They are specially trained for their function and never leave. They are a body that cannot be thrown into the mix when the forces need one more person on the lines. There are skills that can be learned on the fly and if the trainee is rusty while in the learning phase then no real damage is done. A cook burns some toast? Who cares. But when random soldiers who are moved from one place to another every 2 years are regularly responsible for high level stuff – that can lead to serious problems.

      June 2, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Reply
      • mytbean

        And – BTW – I am not implying that soldiers are inept with regards to these functions. They are fully capable and highly intelligent! But – the military as a whole has to be fluid and often-times reactionary. It'd designed with the idea that all soldiers are cross trained to fill as many basic roles as possible. However, that personnel flexibility and fluidity can't apply to those people who design, maintain and manage systems that are essentially the disks in the spinal cord of the whole system. You can't move those people around. They have to stay put.

        June 2, 2014 at 7:45 pm |
  42. Roxanne Durfey

    To whom this may concern, My son has been serving in the U.S. Army and has been in Afghanistan f
    or just over 6 mos and has been moved from base to base in helping serve his Country. At only 1 or 2 places has he ever been served 3 meals a day and the rest of the bases he's been served 1 not 2 like they say was happening. This is very disheartening for me as he is out there in the hot deserts using big heavy equipment every day for hours on end .He needs to have food on board to be able to be safe and be able to concentrate on what he's doing and when he is (on the front line) can be very alert to help keep him and his company safe at all times. I feel that if we are getting ready to pull out of Afghanistan then we need to feed these hard working young men and woman til they come home not cut back while they are still there. I hope it one of your sons or daughters were over there fighting for their Country you would fight hard to get them the food they rightfully deserve.

    September 22, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Reply
    • zerses

      You bettter be sending these letters to your Senators and Congressperson!

      Our children are dying in Afghanistan, they don't need to be further abused as well.

      The military has the responsiblity to keep our children and spouses SAFE and they are NOT in any way, shape or form!

      May 26, 2014 at 11:40 am | Reply
  43. Petra Belcher

    That is not cutting meals..It is replacing hot meals for MRE and ALL veterans and military KNOW we all do that while on field duty. Sadly uneducated civilians dont know the difference

    September 20, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Reply
  44. Michael

    Napoleon famously and correctly said “An army marches on its stomach.” An army that is not fed cannot fight. this is dishearten the more to me simply because i talked to a close friend about this via FB and he called me a liar thinking i mad up all this stories, i felt a bit down for a while but remembered i read the soldiers creed

    August 14, 2013 at 1:13 am | Reply
  45. Julia

    Cutting back to two hot meals a day? For what? This upsets me to no end these men and women deserve the best care we can provide and cutting back to 2 hots a day isn't the best care. As for a General using MREs that's a crock of you know what he'll only do that if a camera is pointed his way! I know those guys they live very, very well and there always something on their fine china with their stars on it they like and it is prepared by military staff! The Generals are always taken care of much better than the rank and file.

    June 24, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Reply
  46. Michealangelo

    I don't think we should still be in Afghanistan however if our soldiers have to fight give them the four hot meals they are accustomed to. They never know if it is going to be there last meal...at least make it edible.

    June 24, 2013 at 9:24 am | Reply
    • AFGVET4_8YRS

      I honestly shake my head at alot these comments. I realize alot of people here their friends and relatives talk about life over in Afghanistan/Iraq and the idea of not getting four hot meals sounds horrible. Let me as someone currently in Afghanistan tell that this believe it or not is a good thing. Downsizing means contractors are leaving and it means a faster withdraw for military persons. You want to put more people on KP duty and work chow halls, fill generators, dispose of trash, clean latrines....etc by all means you tell soldier at outposts sometimes as small as 50 or less that after going on patrol for 18 hours they need to come back do KP (instead of resting) before going back out on mission. Missions that contrary to popular belief are still resulting in loss of life and limb. Warfighters both men and women understand the hardships of being a Warfighter something less than 1% of the population know or should know. Contractors have throughout this entire war aided and enabled the military. The job could not have been done in the time manner that both conflicts kicked off in without them. Voice your opinions all day and believe me its your right since we fight for that right . Listen to the warfighters who tell you they would eat 3 MREs a day if it meant less time in AFG. "Side Note" I thank god everyday I fight for a country that allows freedom of speach even when its full of individual agenda.

      June 24, 2013 at 9:37 am | Reply
      • jane

        Read your post. I want you to know that we thank God everyday for you and all the military that are keeping us all safe and have been for so long. My husband served 1965-1969 Air Force. Gods blessings be on you all and your families. Thank you for what you do everyday.

        August 27, 2013 at 3:27 am |
      • PO3 steve

        Did I hear someone say that this war has been done in a timely manner??????? I don't call a 14 year war taking care of this in a timely manner... now I like this idea instead.... instead of cutting the food for the battle ready, why not cut the meals that congress, senate, and the president get to eat and replace them with MRE... I would love to see how that goes down

        May 31, 2014 at 2:55 am |
  47. Roger

    I remember when I was in the service and we had C-Rations. Used to heat up my lima beans and ham on the manifold of a deuce and a half. Powdered Eggs Yuk!

    June 24, 2013 at 8:10 am | Reply
    • ssgmike

      Roger, at least you had the manifold of a deuce and a half, I heated with C-4.

      D Co 3/8th 4th Infantry Oct.68-Oct.69 USAR retired 2001

      June 24, 2013 at 9:12 am | Reply
  48. ron

    terrible...just make one less tank a yr,,,and feed the people that defend our country.....this is embarrasising to read this.

    June 24, 2013 at 5:59 am | Reply
    • DeDeDee

      You definitely don't get how this works. If they built one less X it wouldn't change the fact they are closing a base and contractors are the first to go.

      June 24, 2013 at 8:35 am | Reply
  49. cruz

    send the troops to war and just reduce there hot meals just twice a day makes me sick

    June 24, 2013 at 2:11 am | Reply
    • ssgmike

      wish all the above who have never served nor been in a combat zone nor been involved in a draw down who just stick to continued shopping at the mall

      June 24, 2013 at 9:14 am | Reply
  50. LT Fang

    Of all the things the military can rightfully complain, having 2 instead of 3 hot meals a day for a few months is not one of them.

    June 23, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Reply
  51. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    U.S. cutting back on hot chow for troops






    June 23, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Reply
  52. Jocho Johnson

    MRE's get the job done, one MRE and 2 hot meals is no problem I ate plenty

    June 22, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Reply
  53. Bobinms

    I recall pulling KP (Kitchen Patrol to the youngsters) at a 24 hour dining hall at Shepard AFB for 18 hours. New arrivals for the tech schools pulled KP for 2 weeks before classes started. People that flunked out of the tech schools became cooks. It worked but the food was pretty bad.

    June 22, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Reply
  54. steve c

    Why not get rid of the contractors? Each branch of the military has cooks; USE THEM! Duh! PROVE TO ME that civilian contractors are cheaper than an E-1 on KP....

    June 22, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Reply
    • Mark Belda

      Steve, because there are not enough cooks in the Army to man each company COP and the Battalion FOBs. The Army is not authorized that many and hasn't been since the eighties. It is a logistical nightmare to move all the Food and equipment needed to cook hot As three times a day. Even when we had enough Cooks for smaller outposts you weren't cooked three Hot As a day until we started using Civilian Contractors. There are kinds of factors that go into that but the number one reason is that preparing food takes hours before a meal and hours after. To do that for three meals and still give the Cooks some down time means you would have to double the number of cooks at each base. This is why contractors are hired. A short time fix for the problem that is only a problem for those deployed.

      June 22, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Reply
      • Vet

        Nonsense, the 'logistic nightmare' is just as big for contractors than for army-cooks. Just call it what it is: corruption. It's taxpayers money going to private businesses. Which, ofcourse, leads to Haliburton-like corruption.
        Check the amount of money that these contractors give to the repbulican party and you will see that... oh, no, wait... the republican Supreme Court prevented you from seeing how much these contractors spend on republican ads.

        June 23, 2013 at 1:11 am |
  55. Mark Belda

    I am a Senior NCO in the US Army who has just returned from Afghanistan. I am appalled at the stupidity of the comments on this page. As I left we too had just cut our meals down from Four hot meals served at the DFAC to two. We did this because to close down a base the slowest people to move out are the civilian contractors. Apparently most of you do not realize there are not enough Cooks in the Army to have three or more for every COP or FOB in Afghanistan. Well not and be able to allow some to go home. Civilian Contractors do 75% of the DFAC or Dining Facility work in Afghanistan. To be able to close these bases you have to get the contractors and there third party nationals off the bases. To do that due to the lack of cooks you have to cut down the number of Hot Meals served. Saving you the math of how that works I will just explain to you that that means you get two Hot "A" meals and one MRE. MREs are not the most tantalizing of meals but they are edible and one of them is over 2000 calories a day. Which is more calories than you need in a day. I know I went through Ranger School in the early 90s when that was how many MREs you got per day in the field during the Summer Classes. This about getting the contractors off the bases so they can close them so we can stop going back to that country as much. From someone who has been to Iraq three times and Afghanistan twice I would say not having to go back to Afghanistan as much is a very welcome respite. So before you start running your yap about Congress and Obamas trips take the time to actually find out what you are talking about!

    June 22, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Reply
    • Damia Savon

      Thank you! One thing I have found gratifying is how many active duty service members and contractors like yourself keep pointing out that this is normal and not some bid to save money, punish the troops, a product of mythical Obama hate or some other bizarre stupidity.

      June 22, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Reply
    • SatelliteSteve

      Just out of curosity: Who where the civilian food contractors? Which political group hired them?

      June 22, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Reply
      • SGT CC

        Political affiliation of those who hire the contractors is irrelevant....but if we really want to "assume" political parties are involved in the process then is fair to say that both major parties have hired/fired the contractors in the past (there was a republican in office when the conflict started and now there's a democrat in office as its ending. In the military contracting is handled by the military and DoD NOT politicians

        June 22, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
      • Damia Savon

        KBR provides food services and other support to the military. Until 2007 KBR was a division of Haliburton. KBR has been involved in a number of controversies and the recipients of some controversial no-bid contracts.

        June 22, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
      • Sigh

        Still regardless of WHO we hire shouldn't be the question. I don't care of KBR makes my eggs or Dennys (i prefer dennys tho of course) as long as im fed and the cook isn't a bad guy. Furthermore political affiliation still plays no part....KBR was employed when both presidents were in office

        June 22, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
      • mib8

        Right, it shouldn't be a question... but it IS now an important question.

        Yes, moving food, water, ammunition, arms, replacement uniforms, etc., is a "nightmare", but it has been improved from time to time. (I recall some of my colleagues cleaning up the rat's-nest data files and data-bases they used to use.)

        But why can't the privates cook? Would practice in sanitation and food prep improve their ability to do the job in the field or degrade that ability?

        June 23, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Pete

      @Mark,thanks so much for your military service and I for one not being in the military knew about this situation just because Cheneys Halliburton handled all logistics in food, fuel and so forth..Military always had military personnel doing cooking up to now just knowing from friends,relatives in Vietnam,Iraq,Afghanistan like yourself..This the big money maker over there in big fancy mess halls serving all night and you could pretty much order anything I was told...Cheneys Halliburton made billions over there at your,our tax payers expense..Just close them all down and get our kids safely home..Again Mark thanks ,maybe under Pres.Obama we'll never see boots on foriegn soil again unless its to help humanly in something other than wars!!

      June 22, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Reply
    • CommMoM

      Mark, thank you for your service and I agree with you entirely. This politicalization of everything that goes on in our military is just ridiculous. As the mother of deployed military member, I think this outrage everyone likes to vent, would be better served sending a Care Package. Our troops are not deprived of food and I have never seen a malnourished military member returning home. Some of you should take a look at what our parents and grandparents looked like coming home from WWII. Talk all you want about contractors, and I grant you they got rich off of it; but then they were rich to begin with; they got the job done. I wish America would wake up and support instead of worrying about the politics of it all.

      June 23, 2013 at 6:58 am | Reply
      • Pete

        @CommMoM,I agree with some of your logic but argue with you on most..This is the first military conflict ever using private vendors over there in food ,fuel as Halliburton was handling all logistics..Cheney via Bushs approval handed his Halliburton the first open ended no bid contract EVER in military contracts profitting billions..All previous wars had military personnel as cooks like on ships in the Navy and soldiers were very well fed mostly by these outside vendors..Ask Halliburton while you're at it about the 20 or so soldiers electrocuted while showering in shower stalls supplied by Halliburton on most bases and after investigating found the vendor using Chinese made electric pumps to supply water to showers that weren't properly grounded causing electrical shocks or death in quite a few cases as stated..Families couldn't sue because that part of the corporation in Halliburton wasn't stateside so lawsuits were fruitless,nice ha how your tax payers monies do overseas in wars created by lies!!

        June 23, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • bob

      Very well stated, however, they won't listen. People who comment but have never been in combat don't and will never understand what it takes to shutdown a FOB.

      June 24, 2013 at 7:28 am | Reply
    • James

      Thank you and why was this article even written? This must be the most bored journalist in all the world!

      June 24, 2013 at 9:20 am | Reply
      • ssgmike

        I keep reading 4 meals a day, since when does a service member need 4 meals a day? You don't even get 4 meals a day at home.

        June 24, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Kathy

      Mark, thanks so much for your service, God bless you. Thanks also, for addressing this matter and giving real insight from one who has been there. Blessings to you and your family.

      July 23, 2013 at 10:57 am | Reply
  56. Bev

    Now onto the topic. Our military deserve hot meals. Period. Cutbacks like this are detrimental to the morale of the soldiers.

    June 22, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Reply
    • Damia Savon

      Drawing down forces means cutting back somewhere. Contractors are the first to go. Yes it sucks that troops have to eat the MREs they would have to eat out in the field but that is how it goes during a draw down.

      Exactly what would you prefer the military remove?

      June 22, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Reply
      • Bev

        One meal cancelled instead of two, or bulky contractor contracts, how about keeping some soldiers there instead of contractors for KP duties. These companies make more money than it would be to assign soldiers to KP duty. Just a few ideas...

        June 22, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Sigh

      draw downs are like ramp ups....things stink you live with it...fobs are mini cities so when pulling out u have to cut down...i promise you a lot of soldiers wont be heartbroken

      June 22, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Reply
  57. Sickening!

    Do the Obamas have no shame? Cuts everywhere to U.S. citizens, and the Obamas spend $60-100 million on a vacation? I don't care if they pay for their own food or clothes (which is also debatable), there's still a LOT of that travel cost WE have to shoulder. When Bush and Reagan vacationed at their respective ranches, there was NO aircraft carrier set up entirely for their benefit as an urgent care center, there were NO 14 limos or dozens of aircraft and cars deployed. NO comparison whatsoever to the millions that the Obamas continue to spend on their own, personal pleasure. Makes me sick – shame on them!

    June 22, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Reply
    • Damia Savon

      It is a STATE visit. It is OFFICIAL travel. It is NOT A VACATION. I know it is hard for crackpots to read but you might want to try it. I suggest the original Post story and not the wild lies other idiots are posting. The cost of the STATE visit is in-line with previous STATE visits to Africa. Those would be the two trips Bush II took to Africa.

      Stop comparing a STATE visit to a vacation. Sorry but I prefer that the President's security is handled by our personnel and that any medical care the President needs is handled by our people.

      Try totaling up the amount of money the taxpayers spent for all of Bush II's vacations. It is far from cheap even if he spent time at his Ranch. The cost of Air Force 1 for all those 77 round trips really adds up.

      June 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Reply
    • Bev

      Bush, Clinton and Reagan all made the same trip to Africa during their Presidencies. Not a vacation. Obama is not even going to Kenya on this trip.

      June 22, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Reply
      • ssgmike

        Bev you ever serve in the military ?

        June 22, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
  58. Bev

    The President is not going to Kenya!

    "The itinerary for President Barack Obama's upcoming trip to Africa is coming under fire for one country not on it: Kenya, the birthplace of his father.

    In a conference call on Friday, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes told reporters that the president still has a "deep, personal, familial connection to Kenya," but "it just wasn't the best time for the president to travel to Kenya." Part of that bad timing is likely due to the March election of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta who happens to face crimes against humanity charges at the International Criminal Court, a process the the U.S. supports."


    June 22, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Reply
    • ssgmike

      Bev so his father was born in Kenya what is the big deal, I know of people whose father / mother were born in another country and they here in the states .

      June 22, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Reply
      • Bev

        I have not personally served. I have my husband, father, uncles, brother, sister, nephews, and son-in-law all serving (or have served). I personally feel taking away hot meals from soldiers on a draw down is pitiful, they deserve at least 3 hot meals a day if they are on station (not in the field of course) provided til the last day.

        As far as Obama, I am sick and tired of all the comments condemning him for a trip several Presidents before him made just because his family roots are in Kenya and blustering about a vacation, when it is not. Do I personally like his politics – no, but ignorant criticism does not do any good either.

        ssgmike, thank you for your service and your family's service as well.

        June 22, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
      • ssgmike

        Bev I see from what you say you come from a long line of military family, thank them all for their service. A hot meal in the military is not the norm unless yes your on a base which supports the troops in the field, that's a kicker there, they should eat what the field troops eat. In NAM if I wanted a hot meal I would take some c-4 explosive, a little piece and heat up my c-rats. Soldiers are trained to survive on what they have. We are drawing down in Afghan, should never have gone there, another story, so things are cut back, I am sure that not one of them is starving from lack of eating.

        June 22, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
      • ssgmike

        Sorry forgot your last part. We have a lot of hate and racism in our country because we the people elected a President of a black father and a white mother called a mulatto. I don't pay them no mind because of their hate which is a bad thing for our country, it divides. Sure he has not done everything right, how could he, he gets fought every step of the way, but we are moving forward even at a slow base it surely is better then going backward.

        June 22, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
  59. Jeffrey Henneman

    I love the idea that Obama can spend hundreds of millions of dollars on his trips to tour the world with his family, but cant even buy food for the Soldier's protecting his way of life. He has continuously taken money from Soldier's and Veterans. First he took money from the G.I. Bill, then he took money from the yearly cost of living adjustment for Soldier's basic pay, then he signed a bill to decrease the amount of Soldiers who get approved for disability, and now he literally is taking food out of their mouths. This is an atrocity. IMPEACH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 22, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Reply
    • Damia Savon

      Congress took money from the G.I. Bill. Obama did not unilaterally decide to make cutbacks. Not every service member gets COLA, just those living in high cost areas. Who receives it can change from year to year. How much you receive varies depending on where the service person is stationed. I cannot find a bill reducing the number of service members that qualify for disability. However if it is a bill, then it passed Congress. So why is only Obama held accountable?

      Do you give Obama credit for signing the "VOW to Hire Heros Act"? How do you feel about the Returning Heros and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits? I guess that doesn't fit into your "Obama hates the military" mindset.

      If you could read, you would actually know that no one is taking food away from the troops. For two meals they will not get cooked food. Instead there will be cold food or MREs. Troops have to eat MREs out in the field. This is also part of the draw down of troops. It has happened with every other draw down, most recently in Iraq. Were you screaming then or did you not even know it was happening? I'm guessing the latter.

      June 22, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Reply
      • Bo Gereben

        Obama, Congress who gives a hoot. We are the United States of America, supposedly the richest, most generous, and compassionate country in the world and we can't give our troops hot meals. Our leaders, civilian and military alike, along with us citizens should be ashamed of ourselves!

        June 22, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
      • Damia Savon

        @Bo. To move troops out, you have to close bases. To close bases you need to get rid of the people at the base. Most of those people are contractors. So you have to remove the contractors first (unless you think it is smart to remove the combat troops before the contractors). Quite a number of those contractors cook the food, do the laundry and other basic tasks so the troops can focus on their jobs and not on menial duties.

        So if you want the troops out of Afghanistan then you need to reduce the contractors first. Of course the Pentagon could keep all the cooks and just send home all the ones in maintenance. Somehow I think the troops would prefer working vehicles over a hot meal.

        June 22, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • ssgmike

      I see stupidity post here also taking the topic which they have no idea about, our poor troops loosing a hot meal. The only one complaining is you. Try spending weeks in the jungles of NAM with only c-rats for a meal 3 times a day.

      June 22, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Reply
    • Pete

      @Jeffrey,where were you bud when Bushs took over 450 days off in his first two years of his presidency while our boys were fighting over in Iraq,no rants from you ignorents about your hero here I bet!!Hey that bill you say had monies taken away you're wrong about that too bud it was McCains insistence to cut Tricare and you better check before ranting unfactual crap...And don't tell me anything about Pres.Obama because as usual they can be easily be refuted just like the ignorent one you came up with now,typical bigotted,racist republican that's just hateful because you know your party is the party of NO nothings!!

      June 23, 2013 at 9:56 am | Reply
      • ssgmike

        it's amazing how a small irrelevant issue like a hot meal brings out all the President haters, this is what the major problem is within our country. The hate passed on from parent to child

        June 23, 2013 at 10:45 am |
      • Changing peoples hearts and minds

        Dear Pete and to everyone else, I just wanted to let you know the democrats are just as wrong as the republicans. To say one side does nothing wrong and the other is so amazing and great is utter stupidity. I just wish people could really open there eyes and really see that were all being screwed financially by every politician, lawyer, and big business man connected to politics. Just look at all the facts, there all out there in plain sight. People just need to open there eyes and come together instead of hating on one another because their political opinion is slightly different.

        January 4, 2014 at 3:23 am |
      • michael

        cutting back on hot meals is part of the draw back of troops besides as a Vietnam combat wounded Veteran if we had one hot meal a week brought out to us in the field that was a lot. Give them C-rats and let them their meals with c4 if they want hot meals. Seriously people especially those who never served are these mama's boys who can not make it thru the day without their hot milk or soldiers

        January 4, 2014 at 10:12 am |
  60. SFC Foster

    You folks need to pull yer heads out of....you know where. The cutbacks are needed so we can save money somewhere seeing as how congress won't let us not take a bunch of M1A Abrams and other stuff we don't need because that makes them look bad when re-election time rolls around. You want this stuff fixed? support your soldiers by VOTING out these same tired bunch of jackwagons you all keep re-electing.

    June 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Reply
  61. Jean

    This is shameful. It all boils down to saving money. Obama and his wife can spend millions/billions on their entertainment and travels. Cut back his wastefulness and there will be funds. We're talking 17 months yet to go. Way to early to cut chow halls. Troops need their four hot meals. They don't all work days they work 24/7 and should have food now MRE's available. Bring everyone home now and save lots of money and lives....

    June 22, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Reply
    • tpot

      In Vietnam (infantry) we were lucky to get one or more "hot" meals a day. We lived on C rations for the most part. We were creative on how we mixed in ingredients to make them taste better and frankly were safer than helicoptering in "hot" chow. I think if you were to poll front line troops you'd find things are very similar today. "Barracks Bobs" getting fewer hot chow calls doesn't upset me frankly.

      June 22, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Reply
      • ilya

        FOBbits, or Barrack Bobs arent exactly what they used to be. With increased mobility many combat arms troops are in and out of the base/camp frequently.

        I don't think that it's quite like what I assume it was–infantry and other combat arms troops staying in the field for days and weeks inbetween base stays.

        June 22, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
      • ColdWarVet75

        How right you are. We were down right creative. We would sometimes go out for weeks. As far as that one reply who talk to relatives saying they were bored all the time, they were probably REMF's (go ask them what that stands for), but for us grunts we ate using heat tabs or on ambush we ate them cold as we didn't want cooking smells giving us away.

        June 22, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • Damia Savon

      You and so many other clueless crackpots keep assuming the cutbacks are due to lack of funds. They are not. This has been stated over and over again. It is because we are pulling out. The contractors that do all the cooking, cleaning and other tasks are being sent home or terminated so bases can close which in turn reduces the number of troops needed so they can be sent home. It is nothing new. It happened when we pulled out of Iraq.

      June 22, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Reply
      • Kevin

        I understand what you're saying about contracts and bases closing, but Bagram, KAF and Bastion will remain open, so cancelling 2 hot meals on all bases makes no sense. As a base is closing, remove the DFAC contractors, but the DoD should try to minimize the effect on the troops. There are many ways to make spending cuts (Home and abroad), but feeding the troops should be at the bottom of the list.

        June 23, 2013 at 2:35 am |
    • ssgmike

      Jean you ever serve or just like hot meals

      June 22, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Reply
    • ssgmike

      why do troops need 4 hot meals a day ? They trained to survive on bare minimum.

      June 23, 2013 at 10:47 am | Reply
  62. ColdWarVet75

    I would love to see both houses say to support our troops they support shutting down their free gym, subsidized barbershop and eating establishment. Also I live next to several house holds who both spouses are Federal employees. Both make well into six figures and the get free, non-taxed subsidies that pay for their public transportation up to $225 a month. Now there is nothing wrong with an employer using pre-tax for this but free? These families make nearly $300K a year and people making $40K a year pay full price then pay taxes for Federal workers to get a free ride.

    June 22, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Reply
  63. b.s.

    Our president should stop this insane change!!! feed our troops!!! cut back on the BILLIONS OF WELFARE HANDOUTS to AFGHANS! didn't kerry just handed out hundreds of millions of taxpayers dollars to afghan?? feed our troops!!! feed our troops!!! our current president...oh first lady and their kids are living such an AMAZING LIFESTYLE TRAVELING ALL OVER THE WORLD. EVEN GETTING FIRST-RATED SHOWS FROM CELEBRITIES!! who's paying for these private shows and dinners? i wonder what it would be like if we all CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS, THEIR FAMILIES, THE PRESIDENT, FIRST LADY AND HER 2 KIDS, and all governmental aides were placed on a STRICT 2 MEALS PER DAY PLAN. shut down the cafeteria and fire all of the private butlers. i would be happy seeing tax dollars spent on good meals and HIGH QUALITY gears for troops. THAT'S MONEY WELL SPENT!

    June 22, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Reply
    • Damia Savon

      Learn to read. Two meals are going to be cold food or MREs. The troops are used to eating MREs. They are the standard field rations. The troops are not being denied food, starved or anything even close.

      June 22, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  64. Just Sayin'

    Here's an idea, let's cut back on the war so the boys can have their eggs 'n bacy!

    June 22, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Reply
    • Tom

      Now that's a very good idea, Just Sayin'. Thank you for posting it here.

      June 22, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Reply
  65. Mordac

    Nothin' too good for our boys!

    June 22, 2013 at 11:54 am | Reply
    • Tom

      Is that right, Mordac? Was anything ever too good for the German troops during WW2 when they occupied France? Like ours, they were merely doing their military duties there, so let's not blame them either for being there!

      June 22, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Reply
  66. Andrew Goetsch

    I think a whole bunch of paper pushing officers need to eat MREs for a year.

    June 22, 2013 at 11:45 am | Reply
    • drperry


      June 22, 2013 at 11:57 am | Reply
  67. Nicholas Smith

    Pure BS. If the troops aren't good enough to feed four hot meals a day, then they are not good enough to fight for the US and must be returned home.

    June 22, 2013 at 11:31 am | Reply
    • jumpjet

      Strongly agree. This is the LAST place to cut. If we can't afford to feed them (!) then we should bring them home! What a disgrace.

      June 22, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Reply
      • Damia Savon

        It is not a matter about being unable to feed them. They are being fed. MREs are the standard field ration. Very few personnel received 4 hot meals a day. Do you think contractors walked hot meals out into the mountains to troops out on patrol? Do you think the troops called a time out in a firefight to travel back to base to get a meal and then go back?

        Bringing the troops home means shutting down bases, outposts, etc. To do that you have to get people to leave. The majority of those people are contractors. When you remove the contractors who cook the meals, then you have to cut back on the meals that need cooked.

        It is not rocket science folks.

        June 22, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
  68. Skipper Sam

    So the last 10 guys in Country get to starve to death ?

    June 22, 2013 at 11:23 am | Reply
  69. jonp

    When I was in the Marines, the only truly edible meal at the chow hall was breakfast. It's going to be a sad, sad day in my beloved corps.

    June 22, 2013 at 10:47 am | Reply
    • ColdWarVet75

      Semper Fi Bro. Something must be wrong with me. In the early 70's I carried a bottle of tobasco for the Canned Ham & Eggs. But I agree with breakfast. I also loved the SOS. But mid rats were for people who worked night shifts.

      June 22, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Reply
  70. edward_s

    On a frigate, mid-rats was left-overs from dinner plus a random item. Don't see how they say 4 meals when the night shift wasn't awake during the day. You ended up swapping lunch for mid-rats with supper being your breakfast and vice versa. USS-Ingraham. Maybe cellblock 61 is different

    June 22, 2013 at 10:43 am | Reply
    • mc

      They did not say people eat 4 meals a day, they say the military serves 4 meals a day.

      June 22, 2013 at 11:02 am | Reply
  71. kit8

    "We will significantly reduce contractor and supply chain requirements,"
    Did Dick and Rummy approve this? The companies they invest in and stand to loose a lot from the reduction
    in use of contractors will take a big hit.

    June 22, 2013 at 10:42 am | Reply
    • mc

      Those guys already made their millions. They are in retirement mode.

      June 22, 2013 at 11:03 am | Reply
    • ColdWarVet75

      In case you sober up, O'Bummer has been in office since 2009. Your lines are getting rather tiresome.

      June 22, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Reply
  72. Reggie

    Last time I checked, congress actually pays for the meals. Specifically the House of Representatives. I am a democrat and I think we should be angry at both of them. Tired of tying everything to something the President is doing.

    June 22, 2013 at 10:36 am | Reply
    • drperry

      Right on!

      June 22, 2013 at 11:54 am | Reply
    • Mordac

      Ya want some TEA with that?

      June 22, 2013 at 11:55 am | Reply
    • James PDX

      Sorry, the conservatives have dubbed Obama as all-knowing and all-powerful. And they say the liberals worship him.

      June 22, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Reply
    • Damia Savon

      While I agree that the President gets all of the blame and often totally misplaced blame but in this case there is no "blame" It is just the normal part of winding down military operations. It is nothing more or less. It is not about Obama hating the troops. It is not about a lack of funding. It is not because House Republicans are holding purse strings. It is a political non-issue.

      June 22, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Reply
    • ColdWarVet75

      They pay but they are SUBSIDIZED. Please read an entire post before commenting.

      June 22, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Reply
  73. ssgmike

    If you want hot meal and you join the military then join the air force or marines. Back in the day in NAM a hot meal was a treat once or twice a month while we spend days, weeks, months out in the jungle, not a base camp every night. Suck it up.

    June 22, 2013 at 10:28 am | Reply
    • Ilya

      Surely you meant the NAVY, not the Marines.

      June 22, 2013 at 10:53 am | Reply
    • mc

      Well, Sgt. Slaughter, I was not in the military and the closest I have been to Vietnam was watching Platoon with the lights out, but I know a lot of people including family who were in Vietnam and they all agree on one thing. It was mostly boring. Sitting around.

      June 22, 2013 at 11:07 am | Reply
      • ilya

        What branch(es) and what military occupations? That makes quite a bit a difference, as some of the military professions are quite civilian-like in nature, while others do not get to sit a round bored much.

        June 22, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
      • ColdWarVet75

        MC go ask your relatives what they did. They were probably REMF's (go ask them what that stands for). We often were in the bush for weeks. Drinking warm water, eating C rats often cold because you were on an ambush and didn't want cooking smells giving your pos a away. We were out so much that our clothes often rotted off from the humidity. So go play your video game and wish you served if you would have had the stones to.

        June 22, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
  74. Bill Smith

    This a real disgrace. Our troops deserve excellent treatment for the service they provide to this country.
    My son, a U. S. Marine, was on a training exercise on the West Coast last summer. When he got home and received his pay check, he noticed that the military deducted the cost of his meals from his pay check. I was so enraged at this, I paid my son the amount that was deducted from his check. When he returns from his training exercise next week, I am waiting to see whether the same deduction is taken from his pay. This time if this deduction is taken from his check, I will send a certified letter to my congressman ,senator and the WH to make sure that this practice is halted.
    We can waste money all over the world, and we can't feed our troops??? Who the hell is running this country??

    June 22, 2013 at 10:23 am | Reply
    • Pete

      @Bill Smith,I salute your son and his military service but I wouldn't wait,write now !!It's not Pres.Obamas fault ,its the MIC and their logistical company probibly still Cheneys Halliburton with their open ended contracts over there..Halliburton is trying to make as much as they can before we pull out in 2014 and they'll be out of luck then because they don't have the clout they had with Bushs,Cheney giving away contracts to their favorites with no bids contracts involved,that was a first in military logistics going to private vendors instead of handling food themselves!!Just a disgrace to our fighting men,women fighting in wars created by Bushs,Cheneys lies!!

      June 22, 2013 at 10:47 am | Reply
      • ColdWarVet75

        God will you morons get of of Bush Cheney.......They have been gone since January 2009. The reason the person probably had their meals deducted is because they were living off base and drawing per-diem. So if the government pays you to eat off base then you train 24×7, you are double dipping. All officers fall under this and all married personnel. I can say this because I served as a Marine from 1971 to 1978. This is nothing new, so I guess you need to find somewhere else to spew you misguided hatred. Maybe you should ask about Obama buying real estate from convicted fraudster Tony Retzko and paying well under fair market price?

        June 22, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • artstnmtn1

      calm down. the basic allowance for subsistence(bas) is paid to all military personnel while in a garrison environment. while you are in field exercises and combat, bas is taken away because the military provides all the meals during those conditions. they are not going to pay you for meals and feed you for free at the same time. when they return from the field/combat duty the bas will be returned. btw, do your son a favor as he is a big boy now and doesn't need the embarrassment of being a , "mama/daddy" boy. master sgt, us army, retired

      June 22, 2013 at 11:02 am | Reply
      • Phill

        To the retired MSG, I got both rations and BAS when I deployed. What about your deployments?

        June 22, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Posit

      Calm yourself, Bill. The military either pays troops to feed themselves (separate rations) or opts to feed the troop. In this case, the military fed your son during the training exercise, so deducted the appropriate amount from the funds they allocate him to feed himself. You, on the other hand, very graciously gave him money for meals which he was provided at no cost.

      Stop by my place anytime....

      June 22, 2013 at 11:16 am | Reply
    • Dave

      When I was in the Army that decision always rested on the Battalion Commander, but they never took our rats away while training or deployed. It is a legal option though but has nothing to do with contractors or politicians. It's regulations and its the CO's call.

      June 22, 2013 at 11:54 am | Reply
    • Stan

      I agree that this is a poor decision, but as for your son, every military member who lives on base gets money taken out of their pay because they can eat at the galley on base. If he wanted to get paid to eat he would have to switch to being kosher, and provide many receipts to prove it along with many other things. It is a long process that isn't worth it. Being vegan, or a vegetarian wouldn't even cut it because they have those options in the galley too. It is his choice to eat at the galley, or go to a fast food place on, or off base. Eating at the galley will save him a ton of money, not eating at the galley for 2 weeks will deduct at the least 150 dollars from his pockets; eating out gets expensive, and you should tell him that. I remember calling my mother about my pay when I first enlisted, and was told "you better stop wasting money eating out, and eat what you pay for no matter if you eat it, or not". That made a lot of sense once I saw how much money I had left at the end of the pay cycle.

      June 22, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Reply
    • ColdWarVet75

      Was your son drawing per diem for living off base or an officer? If so, this was correct as he shouldn't be drawing per-diem and getting free food. That is double sipping.
      Former Marine SSgt. 1971-78

      June 22, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Reply
  75. Jim

    How about we cut obama & family back to one vacation a year?

    June 22, 2013 at 10:22 am | Reply
    • Airborne Infantry

      Agreed. The 'Commander and Chief' would last a day in the sandbox without his creature comforts.

      June 22, 2013 at 10:35 am | Reply
      • artstnmtn1

        you mean like the former president who, during the viet nam war used his family influence to join a guard/reserve unit? unlike today, those type units had a zero chance of being deployed to war and were open only to the wealthy, connected and, quite honestly, cowards. then, he still was mostly a no show at that texas post while his fellow americans were being wounded and killed daily. msg, usa, ret

        June 22, 2013 at 11:18 am |
      • David J. Spencer

        artstnmtn1: President Bush flew the F-102 jet fighter aircraft for the Air National Guard.. As somebody who served as an Army paratrooper (101st Airborne Division when it was a Parachute Division) I really can't think of anything much more dangerous than flying a F-102, and I applaud President Bush for going through USAF flight school, which is excruciatingly tough, to learn to fly the F-102.

        June 22, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • 1zb1

      The real question is were you born stupid or did someone cut off the oxygen to your brain for you to make that idiotic of a remark.

      June 22, 2013 at 10:46 am | Reply
    • Mordac

      Maybe someone should have taken away Dubyah's barstool that he was 'flying' during his illustrious military career. Or Cheney...oh wait, chickenhawk Dick didn't serve, did he? But he has no problem sending plenty of poor men's children to fight and die so he and his contractor buddies can reap billions?

      June 22, 2013 at 11:58 am | Reply
      • Damia Savon

        It is funny and sad that those who agitate for war and proclaim their patriotism are the ones who worked hard to avoid serving their country and put themselves at risk. They castigate, berated and insult those who did serve and have a better understanding of war and its aftermath than their armchair fantasies.

        June 22, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
  76. US Puppet State

    Why not ask the bankers and corporations that they fought for to kick in a few bucks of the bonanza they made off these chumps.

    June 22, 2013 at 10:16 am | Reply
    • Al

      Who do you think pays a huge chunk of the taxes that funds our military?

      June 22, 2013 at 10:58 am | Reply
      • artstnmtn1

        bring back the draft then we would not have to spend all this money trying to recruit. the wealthy would squeal like stuck pigs and the suck-up politicians let them cry on their shoulders

        June 22, 2013 at 11:25 am |
      • Damia Savon

        Not them. They just get the contracts.

        June 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
  77. calvin

    I think the Pentagon leadership should be forced to eat at least one MRE a day. I can see the morale starting to disintegrate.

    June 22, 2013 at 10:00 am | Reply
    • Jomama

      Have them compare a C rat to an MRE. C rat wins. You can do things to C rats. MRE, oh the beans and tomato sauce is the most disgusting thing. I rather drink a glass of old cold hotdog water.

      June 22, 2013 at 10:10 am | Reply
      • Jomama

        I told this earlier we had a dog in the Gulf war, he had 3 legs and we named him Tripod and it was half starved. We gave him a ham out of an MRE. He sniffed and walked away. One of my Buddies said "If Tripod wont eat it Im not either." From then on Ham was thrown out.

        June 22, 2013 at 10:24 am |
      • Pete

        @jomama,Halliburton never served mres over there ,they had classy mess halls serving three hots a day,open all night..Cheneys Halliburton remember can't make money serving mres to soldiers and you know that..And as long as logistics is needed in Iraq, Afghanistan Halliburton with their open ended contract with be there too!!

        June 22, 2013 at 10:38 am |
      • independent Jim

        when I served 1961-1965 we never had Private contractors serving our meals we pulled KP and Mess hall duty we had 2 cooks and a mess supply Sgt the only time we got a hot meal in the field was in winter and we didn't get one every day Cheney and Haliburton crowd sure changed things all for the $$$$$$$$$$$

        June 22, 2013 at 10:59 am |
      • Jomama

        Your wrong Pete . I was there a long time before the war started. I was on world wide commitment . Mre `s was the staple .I really cant comment on what I did there. Gulf war Dude.Not afganistan. What I did there Im proud of to say the least.

        June 22, 2013 at 11:38 am |
      • Jomama

        Pete I cant say what I did I would love to don't get me wrong. But the dog story is true heheheh.

        June 22, 2013 at 11:41 am |
      • Jomama

        I will say this Im proud I served and I helped every ground pounder out there Marines and Army. I will not say no more Pete. I wish I could.

        June 22, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
      • Jomama

        One question Pete could you make a cup of coffee to last 4 hours.

        June 22, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
      • Jomama

        Yo Pete serious have you ever been in a war?

        June 22, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
      • Pete

        @jomama,no never was in any conflicts,wars or wanted too..Most of my buds back in the day were either going to jail or going over seas to basicly serve sentences there,nice ha.One son served and my brother,father were in wars as well in Vietnam,WWII.I appreciate your service jomama but I'll ask a serious question for all of you that served in Vietnam or elsewhere why did you go and what did you get back out of it besides almost getting killed or injured or permanently disabled like most kids today..Those wars were lies,were senseless and many a vet including my brother a vet that was a tunnel rat in Nam was ashamed of saying he fought overthere and never wanted to speak about it ever again as most being called a baby killer when he returned home in San Diego from overseas!!!Please what did you fight for not our democracy or our freedoms and those villagers in Nam didn't give a crap much like those now that just wished Americans would go home and basicly leave them and their country alone.You know I'm right and you can thank those war mongering republicans with the MIC for sticking your ass over there because I knew it wasn't for me,plain and simple and I'm a proud American but I won't fight wars because of falsehoods like those wars were!!!Again I applaud your service but a lot a vets that are older knew their wars were a mistake but between the draft,some sentenced serving time over there or few enlisting like in Nam they had no choice ,today they do and its a waste of precious lives to fight these wars today that were created with lies to benefit politicians and the MIC,enough said....

        June 24, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
      • Pete

        @jomama,that's what I meant that after the war broke out Halliburton got an open ended no bid contract in logistics sending thousands of vendors over to Iraq and yes no MREs were served again as I stated before..If you were there before the war yes you had the military staple of MREs right because again Halliburton hadn't arrived yet!!

        June 25, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  78. Edd0

    What's wrong with MRE's? Those have heaters inside them. They aren't getting less hot food.

    June 22, 2013 at 9:52 am | Reply
    • ramjet75

      You have obviously never had to eat one.
      As one who served an enlisted career in the Military I can assure you,
      there is a reason the troops call them"meals rejected by the enemy".
      Think about who that is for a minute and what they live on.
      I usually went hungry before I would eat a MRE.
      C Rats were FAR better. K Rats were better. That says something doesn't it?

      June 22, 2013 at 10:42 am | Reply
      • Mark Belda

        Ramjet, I have been in the Army for twenty four years and I have never heard of them referred to as Meals Rejected by the Enemy. Even after three trips to Iraq and two to Afghanistan I have never heard that. I can though tell you why many won't eat them now. The meals are made with pork products except for the ones that are specifically made to be halal. This is now known throughout the Middle East after us being there for so long. Are they tantalizing, not really. But they are edible.

        June 22, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
      • Damia Savon

        People who ate K and C-rats would disagree with you. However it really depends on the person. Some people like MREs and others totally detest them. Others make due. Most realize that the military continues to try to do its best to provide good, nutritious food for those serving.

        June 22, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
  79. tet1953

    lol I remember our C rations in Viet Nam actually had little 4-packs of cigarettes

    June 22, 2013 at 9:51 am | Reply
  80. dgiz

    This is such crap! The president can spend 100 million on a trip to Africa when there is a sequester going on and yet cannot feed the troops hot meals. This is an outrage.

    June 22, 2013 at 9:42 am | Reply
    • Airborne Infantry

      Amen. We tighten our belts while he and his family have to loosen theirs. Funny that.

      June 22, 2013 at 10:38 am | Reply
    • independent Jim

      Blame Obama for getting us into this war.. Id put my money on Obama surviveing much tougher conditions than the TeaParty Nuts that blame him for everything from the killing of Able to the Black plague to WWII and the Holocaust hatred never wins and teabaggers will find that out someday

      June 22, 2013 at 11:06 am | Reply
    • artstnmtn1

      at least Obama saw fit to get our troops out of these wars, one of which was made up in texas. can't believe these troops are such whiners..................about food. especially the army folks who are the fattest ever,

      June 22, 2013 at 11:34 am | Reply
    • Damia Savon

      Amazing how crackpot conservatives twist information to suit themselves. The original Post story stated that the cost of the state visit to Africa, the first state visit of Obama's Presidency, is *estimated* to cost between 60-100 million dollars. It also points out that the cost is in-line with previous *state* visits. Who made the previous state visits? Bush II in 2003 and 2008.

      You really have to wonder how a state visit became a "vacation".

      June 22, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Reply
  81. Alan

    I spent 21 years in the military, and I ate a lot of MRE's. I also saw a lot of Major's, Colonel's, and Brig Gen's eat their fair share. There's a lot of equality in the military when it comes down to conditions like that. Trust me, no one will go hungry and this is common practice.

    June 22, 2013 at 9:39 am | Reply
    • Phunnie boy

      What a relief, Alan. I thought that they were only getting two meals a day. He^^ or high water, these here troops have gotta be fed! How else are we gonna fight these wars of ours!

      June 22, 2013 at 9:50 am | Reply
    • artstnmtn1

      alan, got to believe some whiners here have never served or maybe a few chapter cases. as you stated, no one in uniform is starving anywhere. this is evident by the military seeking to tighten weight standards to the point of kicking people out.

      June 22, 2013 at 11:44 am | Reply
  82. jas495

    Just another way to kick or soldiers in the ass! Take away the all the kickbacks McCain gets from all those Gambling Boats!.

    June 22, 2013 at 9:32 am | Reply
  83. The Truth

    General Dunford won't be eating MREs with his troops...he has his own personal cook that is at his beck and call.

    June 22, 2013 at 9:25 am | Reply
    • artstnmtn1

      do you know any ceo eating in the company cafeteria? generals have all been there, done that! ever hear of 2lt?

      June 22, 2013 at 11:54 am | Reply
  84. JOdy

    I get they are trying to get independent contractors out of there....but why the hell are they there in the first place? What happened to the military cooks? oh yeah, no profit in that. Get huge kick backs for hiring independent companies to do the work. I understand the need for a strong military, but lets put that money back into the actual people who do the fighting. Stop the private contracting for the entire military.

    June 22, 2013 at 9:19 am | Reply
    • JON

      You have no clue what is going on. The contractors do all support missions; from food service, laundry, to maintenance for vehicles. The military couldn't sustain without private contractors.

      June 22, 2013 at 9:51 am | Reply
    • jim545

      the military buys contractors for specific wars/conflicts, as it is cheaper to buy a cook for 5 years than to train a cook, pay him 20 years and then have him retire and pay him retirement and lifetime benefits. The army uses contractors for all kinds of things, mechanics (mostly aircraft) food, electronic warfare etc.... those contracts you think are so bad for the budget actually save money. Also the few cooks we do have actually oversee our DFAC (dinning facility) operations to ensure health and food quality.

      June 22, 2013 at 10:05 am | Reply
      • bobc4d

        the difference between contractor and military cooks is if it hits the fan, the military cook can grab a weapon and help fight, the contractor gets taken out of the area.

        June 22, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • ramjet75

      Having contractors allows those in the Military trained on the Combat assignment to do that highly trained skill.
      This makes the military more efficient because they are not doing some slack job that only needs low cost skills.

      We do need to eliminate the kickback mentality. Let the Military do the contracting, not the government. They are the ones who know what they need and what it is worth. And they are not interested in Kickbacks, they are interested in winning the fight and going home.

      June 22, 2013 at 10:49 am | Reply
      • artstnmtn1

        good luck with that. recently, the army said they had enough tanks and the politicians(what do they know) said no, keep ordering, especially, if the work plants are in their districts

        June 22, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
      • Damia Savon

        There are 108,000 contractors vs. 65,700 soldiers, or 1.6 contractors per solider. Reports from the Congressional Research Service and General Accounting Office both state that Pentagon lacks the oversight to know what these contractors are actually doing. About 160 billion was spent on contractors for Afghanistan and Iraq from 2007-2012. The GAO stated that in 2010 the Pentagon spent 195 billion on contractor services. This dropped to 174 billion in 2012.

        June 22, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
  85. USMC

    What else is new, and why is this "news"? As a deployed Serviceman/Servicewoman, you eat when you can, what you can. ESPECIALLY in foreign countries without long-standing military bases. You are essentially in a hostile zone, this is why MRE's were designed.

    June 22, 2013 at 9:16 am | Reply
    • Airborne Infantry

      Yeah, I actually agree in part with this. Grunts eat what they can when they can. I PERSONALLY have no issue with MREs. Our mid-rats in country was loaves of bread, cold cuts and condiment packs. Most of us PREFERRED the MRE option. Not sure Im on board with eliminating breakfast though. POGs need their breakfast...

      June 22, 2013 at 10:44 am | Reply
  86. Chuck Anaheim,Ca

    Yet the fools in Washington come up with a scheme to supply the military industrial complex with 30 Billion dollars of pork to add 20,000 more border patrol agents and 700 miles worth of fence on our brown border. It's only about corporations folks.

    June 22, 2013 at 9:15 am | Reply
  87. Marie

    This is just sad. Politicians get plush salaries, enormous pensions, health care for life and what happens to the men and women who risk their lives..................................they're put on a new military style diet. What is wrong with this picture? government?

    June 22, 2013 at 9:10 am | Reply
    • Damia Savon

      The point is that nothing is wrong with it. Anytime you draw down forces and close bases this goes on.

      June 22, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Reply
  88. iceload9

    Any chance of canceling one jet? Or would that inflame or corporate overlords? Whatever happened to, what's good for the men and woman?

    June 22, 2013 at 9:08 am | Reply
    • ramjet75

      The Pentagon asked for no more tanks last year in the budget, they have many just parked, not needed. Congress over-ruled them and we are getting hundreds of new ones to keep the folks building them in business.
      Government is indeed the exact problem.

      June 22, 2013 at 11:30 am | Reply
    • DeDeDee

      They don't need to cancel jets. This is normal as part of a draw down. You need to move out the unessential personnel. That means contractors serving meals are early on the list. Closing a base is hard and takes time. If an individual is not mission essential they leave. These contractors are not. I've eaten many an MRE and most are not that bad. I'd rather eat MREs for a month than cancel a jet we dearly need to replace our 70s-80s era aircraft.

      June 22, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  89. Task Force

    How many people reading this article that have been to Kandahar believe that garbage about "Breakfast is a low attendance event"? That is total horse sh!t!!!! Breakfast on Kandahar Airfield is the ONLY meal that is worth going to. Lunch and dinner meals at the Niagara DFAC are horrible. You can get better food at a soup kitchen for the homeless. Midnight chow at Niagara is leftovers from dinner and there is a sandwich bar. I have spent many years as a contractor deploying to Kandahar. They should eliminate breakfast, lunch and dinner and just have the sandwich lines open 24/7.

    Here's an idea for the United States to save money in Afghanistan. Get rid of the Third Country Nationals (TCN) from Nepal, Bangladesh, and every other POS country that are sweeping streets and picking up trash on Kandahar Airfield. REALLY? SWEEPING THE STREETS? They actually do that for those of you that have never been to Kandahar. THAT IS A TOTAL WASTE!!!

    June 22, 2013 at 9:07 am | Reply
    • Gary

      Was there in `10 as a civilian contractor. Stayed at the Kandahar Hotel. USAID contract didn't qualify for CAC card so we were pretty much limited to the local DFAC and the Boardwalk. Food wasn't the greatest compared to some of the DFACs in Kuwait or at Victory, Taji or the Green Zone but I wasn't going out over the wire either. Having been in the US Army I can speak from experience--–you'll have a major revolt if you get rid of the TCNs and put the GI's on KP and crap details like sweeping sand in a sand storm. Play safe.

      June 22, 2013 at 9:28 am | Reply
    • JON

      TCNs make $600-$1000 a month, what do they have to do with the topic?

      June 22, 2013 at 9:59 am | Reply
      • Lin

        Who do you think does all the work, TCN's, not the contract holder. Yes I was there.

        June 22, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  90. Donna Tillotson-Riggs

    ya so we can spend more money on spying on americans POS Government

    June 22, 2013 at 9:06 am | Reply
  91. Diogenese

    Meanwhile Obama takes million dollar vacations to Kenya. Any bets that he eats more than 2 meals a day?

    June 22, 2013 at 8:59 am | Reply
    • Task Force

      No he doesn't... His family trip to Africa is going to cost approximately $100 million.

      June 22, 2013 at 9:09 am | Reply
      • Damia Savon

        It is an official state visit and not a family vacation. Sheesh.

        June 22, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • Joe

      Don't be such a fool, this is Haliburton squeezing the last bit of money out of our govt before the gravy train end !!!

      June 22, 2013 at 9:09 am | Reply
      • JON

        Haliburton has been out of the picture for years.

        June 22, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • dzerres

      stop. It's not a vacation. The hate in your souls is amazing. I believe Paula Deen is not a racist but you people really are. As for the meals when I was in the military and we cut back a deployment some parts of the mess hall operation did have to close early. As the pullout timeline narrows there might be a few weeks were all meals will be MRE's. Be thankful the troops are coming home – if McCain had won in 2008 he said he would continue this fiasco indefinately.

      June 22, 2013 at 9:19 am | Reply
    • monte

      Million dollar vacation ... The hotel rooms for him and 200 strap hangers will be more than that

      June 22, 2013 at 9:21 am | Reply
    • Pete

      @Diogenese,quit your crap about Pres.Obamas vacations and now much they cost..You ignorents all of you sound like Michelle Bachmann that clown and her irrelevant rants about his trips as well and where's she now,nowheres ville,right...Remember your Bush took over 450 days off in his first term alone vacationing on our dime and where were your complaints then,total hypocrites that rant about everything because you like Issa can't hang anything on this president and you know it!!

      June 22, 2013 at 10:29 am | Reply
    • mc

      President Bush spent 32% of his presidency on vacation.

      Bush passed Reagan in total vacation days in 2005 with three and a half years left in his presidency. Reagan spent all or part of 335 days in Santa Barbara over his 8 year presidency. Bush spent 487 days at Camp David during his presidency and 490 days at his Crawford, Texas ranch, a total of 977 days.

      June 22, 2013 at 11:09 am | Reply
      • ramjet75

        True, but those Vacations cost very little in comparison to the Trip the current occupant takes all over the world. Look at the actual dollars spent. Current resident has spent more than the last ten combined.
        Also, Camp David "vacations" were often working vacations, he continued to do his usual daily duties there.

        June 22, 2013 at 11:35 am |
      • Bucy

        The vacations that Bus and Reagan took were working vacations their compounds were set up as mini white houses No need to spend additional money on security planning for trips all the time since those were fixed positions and the assets were already planned out. Now these overseas trips and golf outing cost more than having a summer White house is due to the expense incurred in planning and providing additional security arrangements not to mention all the side trips the First lady takes when POTUS is overseas. Sorry can't justify all these expensive trips in this age when You can have a teleconference.If you want to unwind there is Camp David, and he can hang out in Chicago. If other world leaders want a face to face, then they should foot the bill and travel here. They talk big about cutting the deficit, but its all spend spend spend on "goodwill" rips. Frak that.

        June 22, 2013 at 11:44 am |
      • Damia Savon

        You cannot reason with these people. They come up with all sorts of bizarre comparisons and conveniently ignore the costs they don't like.

        Trying to say that Bush's vacations were all working vacations is a joke. All Presidents do some work on vacation. The country does not stop running. You take a vacation to relax and Bush II relaxed a third of his Presidency.

        June 22, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
      • ColdWarVet75

        Bull! Bush did working weekends at Camp David. Democrats counted these as vacations. In fact whenever he left fee WH Dem's count this as vacation. O'Bummer took two trips to Hawaii at our expense. Then he and Moochelle take separate vacations. He goes to Chicago gets in a fundraiser and this is not counted as vacation. Double standard

        June 22, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
  92. Paul

    CNN is slow off the mark on this one. I've been hearing about this for two months. Who knows how long its been going on. This is probably the stupidest thing ever. It smacks of a bureaucracy and not 24/7 military operations. It not about how many go or skip meals, but availability. A lot of times in a combat zone, it's the things like being able to go to the chowhall for a hot, cooked meal and socializing. It's not only good for the body, but sometimes the soul get a little nourishment too.

    It would also seem that the media has moved on. Had there been continuously embedded reporting, we'd hear about these things when they happen. Wonder what other low level things are going on that are not getting out there?

    June 22, 2013 at 8:52 am | Reply
    • Damia Savon

      It started back in January actually. Conservatives were trying to create controversy by blaming it on the sequester. They shut up after that didn't fly.

      June 22, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Reply
  93. T Nolan

    Please of cash for BO (aka Bend Over) to vacation over in his homeland, but not for Americans who have real value.

    June 22, 2013 at 8:32 am | Reply
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