Nutritional experts have long lauded breakfast as the most important meal of the day, but reports that 17 military bases stopped serving hot breakfast have one congressman up in arms.
On January 17, Congressman Bruce Braley wrote to Secretary of the Army John McHugh to express his concern. According to Jeff Giertz, Communications Director for the United States Congressman’s office, he was prompted to do so after being contacted by the mother of one of his Iowa constituents who is serving abroad in Afghanistan.
“I am troubled that the Army would deny any deployed troops three meals per day, regardless of force size,” Braley wrote in the release.
“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.”
As of publication time, Braley had not heard back from the Army Secretary.
While Braley and the mother were concerned that the troops weren’t getting adequate nutrition, Army officials note that is simply not the case.
In a statement released by the Department of Defense, Jim Garamone of the American Forces Press Service said the reports surfaced “from a few forward operating bases in eastern Afghanistan’s Paktika province that are closing or being turned over to Afghan security forces.”
Colonel Joseph Wawro, the commander of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, said breakfast and the midnight meal are now MREs (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) at the affected bases, while lunch and dinner are still served hot. He also noted most dining facilities have take-away items like cereal, granola, energy bars, milk, juice, fruit, etc. for supplemental snacking.
“This has absolutely nothing to do with the national budget and everything to do with our responsible reduction of forces,” Wawro said.