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Marines in Afghanistan get MRE instead of hot meal due to cuts

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Marines and their families are up in arms all over social media sites due to the loss of a meal at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan. One of the daily hot meals is being discontinued due to troop drawdown in the area and resulting cost cuts, according to an NBC News report.

Considered a key meal for the day, the midnight ration service – or “midrats” – provides breakfast for those on the midnight-to-noon shift, and a hot dinner for those ending the noon-to-midnight shift.

In addition to the loss of the hot meal, it also puts a damper on the only meal of the day where all the Marines gather in one place to eat, providing social activity and morale-boosting camaraderie for the troops.

None of the Marines at Camp Leatherneck agreed to speak to NBC on the record, but many are privately angry about the change.

“This boils my skin. 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,” one Leatherneck-based Marine wrote in an email to his wife who shared it with NBC News. “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.”

Until Saturday, the Marines have received four meals a day, but effective June 1, one hot meal will be replaced with an “MRE” or meals ready to eat. While the meals are nutritious and will not contribute to a shortage of calories, military families say that the food is not healthy, and a better alternative should be found.

Breakfast for Bagram
Photo credit: Breakfast for Bagram Facebook page

“MREs are an alternative for when you can’t get to healthy food. They’re supposed to be for desperation,” said Babette Maxwell, founder and executive director of Military Spouse Magazine, told NBC News. “These guys have six to nine months left on their deployment. These are highly athletic and highly physical people, toting guns, not working any less now than before — and not working out any less either. Now, they’re short a meal and they don’t have any healthy alternatives.”

A Facebook page, “Breakfast for Bagram”, as been launched by a group of U.S.-based military advocates and military-family members to promote food donations to be mailed to troops all around Afghanistan.

In an attempt to make the MREs seem not so bad, NBC News has posted the following video touting their flavor.

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