March 25th, 2010
11:18 AM ET

U.S. bases in Afghanistan say goodbye to Whoppers, DQ

Whoppers, Dairy Queen sundaes and the latest movies will soon disappear for U.S. military personnel serving in Afghanistan, according to a blog posting by Sgt. Maj. Michael T. Hall discussing changes to morale, welfare and recreation facilities on U.S. bases there.  

In an effort to put more focus on fighting the Taliban, the military is cutting back on "non-essentials" in Afghanistan, Hall announced on the International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan blog this week. Hall is the command sergeant major for ISAF.

On large U.S. facilities such as the Kandahar and Bagram air bases, that includes closing restaurants such as Burger King, Dairy Queen, Orange Julius and Pizza Hut, dropping first-run movies from base theaters and cutting the amount of canned and bottled goods imported from the States, Hall writes.

“This is a warzone – not an amusement park,” he writes.

“Supplying nonessential luxuries to big bases like Bagram and Kandahar makes it harder to get essential items to combat outposts and forward operating bases, where troops who are in the fight each day need resupplied with ammunition, food and water,” Hall says in the blog posting.

Hall says eliminating the restaurants and other facilities will free up space to accommodate more than 35,000 U.S.  and allied troops who will be arriving in Afghanistan in the coming months.

But troops shouldn’t feel neglected, Hall writes, as the military plans to increase fitness centers and Internet and telephone capabilities.

And they’ll still be able to get a good cup of coffee as the Green Beans Coffee outlets at bases across the country will remain open, Hall writes.

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Filed under: Troops
soundoff (1,607 Responses)
  1. MSG (P)

    Having served in Afghanistan as the NCOIC of the mental health clinic on Bagram AFB in 2003 to 2004, I can speak from experience when I say that this is a mistake. We listened to hundreds of Soldiers that appreciated the small comforts of home when they came in from the FOBs or any other mission. Taking Burger King, DQ, and first run movies away is making those Soldiers sacrifice more than they already have. My husband used to send Little Debbie Cakes by the boxes to me so I could keep our refrigerator stocked to share with the Soldiers that came in to talk to us and they appreciated that small gesture more than I can tell you. It amazes me the crazy decisions the powers that be make.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Michael

    Is everyone missing the irony here?
    These troops are there to protect American corporate interests and promote their ability to build Burger King, DQ and other restaurants all over the world.

    It won't be long and the troops will be able to go off base and eat at Burger King anywhere in the world.

    Its all about world wide corporate expansion.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kore troop

    OK, one more thing.....all the people stating that the troops in the backfield have it better than the front......THATS LIFE! Should all Americans give up their big homes, big TVs and two cars because most of the world doesnt even have food or clean water. I think I know the answer! Also, having a whopper and some fries doesnt even affect you when you are burning 5,000 calories a day.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dallas

    I was unaware that thees restaurants and such existed. The picture of the BK van getting put back in the carrier looked to me like a circus leaving town. This war is not a game, nor is it to be fun. Someone posted that "they had not been given the choice to go to war" tell me when was conscription? I can picture people going to combat and while out on mission, their only hope for the end of the day is to get back to camp for DQ, BK, and what other crap i don't know about. The end of the day hope should be turned to getting home, not back to camp. What happened to the day of mess halls, and uso shows. A revision on comfort of military living is a must. You cannot expect to go to war, live on a foreign home bass and feel like you are in basic training, with a mall type environment available. Show a damn war-face man!! Fight, eat, sleep and repeat. The world is getting soft, and that is what will end us. FOCUS FIGHT FLY HOME

    March 25, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. RUSerious?

    All of you do me a favor, scroll back up to post#5 and read. That's the bottom line, period.
    Semper Fi!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. albert gunther

    Leave the dammed hamburgers there & bring all our kid's home before they become hamburger. Gates is a crazy bastard that has no idea what the hell is happening nor does he care. What we have here is another NAM....rite people

    March 25, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bulldogma10

    With our troops coming home with post traumatic stress, now we remove some of the few ways for them to de-stress??? I think this was a horrible decision!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mac

    lol. What this guy is saying is that his troops are getting FAT so this is the only way to fix the problem,

    March 25, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Andrew

    First, we have volunteered to be in the military. Most of us want to be deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq to fight. If anybody joins the military these days thinking they will not deploy does not belong in the military.

    Second, these restaurants are making our troops fat. While this may slightly decrease troop morale, I'd rather have fit troops who can survive because they stay in shape than fat troops who cannot move. I have seen troops return from deployment, having gained about 100 pounds in a one year deployment. The removal of these restaurants is the first step reinforcing the standards.

    Those of us who serve may think that, sure, it sucks not having these luxuries, but it is not that big of a deal. It will make being home that much more enjoyable. Besides, those who continue to whine are probably the overweight troops that should be kicked out anyway.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Marty - Retired Marine

    I believe this was the right decision and should have been made a long time ago. I am veteran of OIF with three tours of duty. the mess facilities are sufficient and provide service members with more than enough food (quantity and quality) to meet nutrutional needs. I agree with the Sergeant Major, service members need to focus on combat operations, not luxuries. Too many service members forget where they are, where priorities should be placed, and focus on situtional awareness. There will be plenty of time to enjoy the finer things in life once the deployment is over. Garrison needs to remian state-side, not in the combat zone. I served 22 years in the Marine Corps participating on plenty of deployments overseas, especially Southwest Asia. One more thing...to all serivce members out there, thank you for your serivce!

    Semper Fidelis and stay safe!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mike

    As far as the volunterr/draft army, don't forget about the backdoor draft called stoploss. Some of these guys signed up for 8 years, did thier 8 years and then were told they couldn't get out. So, no, all of those over there are not violunteers but are hostages.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DP

    Has anyone supporting this move actually been over there?

    Many of the bases where these franchises are located are transportation hubs for GIs traveling to/from forward sites.

    The GIs I saw while waiting for airlift in Kuwait, Qatar and Afghanistan were quite happy to be able to grab something other than MREs or standard chow while waiting to go into combat.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kristian

    All of you who are lambasting this decision have no idea what you are talking about. The logistical nightmare of getting ALL supplies into Afghanistan is such that anything that is non-essential needs to be left behind. It is simply to expensive and to effort intensive to deliver non-essential items to a land locked country with virtually no system of roads for transportation, especially given the effort the enemy is putting into cutting off those roads. Cutting non-essential items will save lives. Less need for road clearence and convoys. This should be obvious to you. If it is not you are either a civilian or a pog. A year with out this bull will not hurt anyone. If it lowers your morale, get out of the military. Guys living in the combat outposts dont get any of this garbage and they are doing fine. Your pog butt can suck it up.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. utjoey

    That decision is horrible!! Yes that are in a war zone, which is precisely the reason they should be able to all the luxuries that we can afford to give them. And since when was Pizza Hut or a Whopper a luxury? They need a break from all the violence, a good movie and some DQ ice cream may be just what they need to get away for a moment.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dale

    It BK wants to run a resturant there, let them. If the military was funding it and wants to stop, I understand.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  16. skr

    If we can fly Nancy P to California every week and back, I am all for giving our guys any perk they want.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  17. John

    Some of the comments here are unbelievable. I served 6 years and half of them on a remote base without luxuries. I believe that we should provide any small luxury we can if it brings our troops even a few minutes of joy or satisfaction and relief from the daily grind that they endure for our benefit. For someone to come on here and I would guess most without first hand experience in the military and say something as stupid as "They dont need the junk food its bad for their health etc..is just a testimony to how clueless the average person is in this country. Im sure the average soldier isnt real concerned about clogged arteries at age 65 when they have roadside and suicide bombers to deal with at age 22. Bless our troops and the fools who just dont know any better.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  18. USMC 4 Life

    As a Marine, we only had those luxuries when we were in garrison, not in a hot zone or fwd operating base. I am sure they can still find a good burger at the USO or something, may a its time to break out the BBQ Grill if they want a little taste of home. Hey did you notice the combat outfitted Burger King trailer. Dang, even the King is dress for war.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  19. adamalberts@email.com

    As a soldier I wouldn't want to be caught in a photo standing in line for a BK anyway in a war zone. They take photos of everything over there and I wouldn't want the lasting image of soldier Adam to be in BDU's in line for fast food.

    For those who are talking about depriving a taste of home, you are either ignoring/forgetting/or not aware of the fact that the military employs its own chefs, who cook very good, American food. Just like your little soldier Bobby or Susie is in the infantry, field artillery, or personnel administration, there is also people there as trained cooks just the same, and their food tastes just as good if not better than the fast food joints, PLUS its free.

    One good thing about being deployed is the money you save on things you could normally spend it on while stateside.

    I never considered BK to be a "taste of America", it was always more of a taste of chemically laced junk, anyway. Enjoy the military cooking and dining facilities! Its free and makes just as good burgers, fries, pizza or whatever else your heart can desire!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Tony Tex

    Isn't the military providing them three square meals? Darn, no wonder we are not making any headway in Afghanistan. We are more concerned with junk food that zeroing on the mission–seek and destroy the enemy. I am sure the infantry folks have been doing without the crap these food joints peddle for months at a time. My hats off to all those who risk their lives on behalf of the rest of the people in America.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  21. jlee

    I rather have my taxes paying for these troops to be feed whoppers and ice cream, then paying for some odd project here in the states. Where can I donate money to get these trooops some whoppers and ice cream?

    March 25, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Scott

    I worked as a contractor in Iraq. One of the very few times you could see the dirty, exhausted, soldiers smile was grabbing a pizza or a burger at these makeshift trailer fast food stands with squadmates. I have to admit, it was a nice break from the dfac for me as well. The soldiers already have no options in terms of what, when, and how they do most basic activities. Taking away an options in regards to what someone eats is comparably prison-like. This is a tough decision for the upper echelon. This WILL hurt morale, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
    From a command perspective, I understand that flying from staging areas into Afghanistan, already took a very long time. Since we cannot stage closer with suitable airbases, this decision had to be made. This is war....If forced to make a choice in between adequate reinforcements/supplies, and whoppers, no soldiers would choose the latter.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Raybrag

    If the command structure in Afghanistan is making combat decisions using logic like this, we're in for one helluva bad time. I'm retired military, and a Viet Nam vet. During my time in service, MORALE was one of the first things the commanders thought about. This decision is surely about morale . . . how best to destroy it.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Dave

    As the Sargent stated in the article, "this is a war", and the support troops need to focus on supplying the outlying areas. Focus on getting the job done, the fight over and come home safe.
    Ex 12B from the 70's and 80's.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Been there done that

    To dispel the beliefs that some people have about serving overseas in a war zone. I have done 4 tours in Iraq and 2 in Afghanistan plus going back again next month. As for the supplies coming into Kandahar for those shops, they come in by Haji trucks through the mountains from Pakistan and not by military airlift or convoy. So no military personnel are missing out on any food, water etc because of these shops. They face the same logisitics as everyone else, have seen Burger King on offer fries, soda and apple pies for weeks because they were out of everything else. The same goes for all the others. As for the one lady that said it is bad food and would reduce heart attacks in the military. Well I welcome you to come over for several months and eat there, the chow halls are 1 American, 1 British, 1 European, 1 Asian, that sounds allot nicer then they are. I remember a period of 2-3 weeks where every meal we ate pork and nothing else for main meat, now let me tell you how many ways they cooked that pork. Now down to the meat of this, these shops provided a well needed retreat for the men and women out in the FOBs and field, yes the Marines that came into Kandahar enjoy them too unlike a few believers think. To do away with these services will impact moral seriously so they better beware of the temperment of everyone over there, the BX over there are always out of supplies so to take this away will have a major impact on moral. Why doesn't the General stay in the tents in South Park and use the shower tents (that are consistently being crapped in by other service personnel), nothing is better to come into the shower tent in the middle of the night after a long day and see a turd on the shower floor. I am sure the higher ranking service members aren't expeiencing this.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  26. John

    Maybe the best use for the "fast food" would be to sell it to the enemy and maybe they will become too fat to fight.
    It's a shame that even "war" has become a venue for commercialism and big business.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  27. wow

    they are over there fighting and and risking there lives for the better good. im not a vet or a republican...this is a treat for them, now what will they look forward too? im sorry guys...US is CHEAP!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Cricket

    As a vet I have completed 3 deployments (Iraq) since this war started. After a long convoy and going to a fob that doesn't have 24 hours DFAC service BK & Pizza Hut is a godsend. They need to scale down to one but don't take all of them. This is 2003 all over again. Next, water will be ration and shower will go back to 1 a day. WHAT'S GOING ON, LATELY YOU HAVE SOME GENERAL AND SENIOR NCO WANT TO BE DRASTIC CHANGES?

    March 25, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  29. JIE

    I personally think that the decision is asserted. The logistics and money necessary to operate these facilities are enormous. You need security for the convoys that transport supplies for these mobile restaurants (Convoys that get hit by IEDs and small fire, which kills our troops). Also the service members know that they are paying for food provided by the government (it is their choice if they eat it or not but the deduction is there). The government feeds the troops so why have another food source and pay twice! On the other hand I have seen how some service members have forgotten the term fit for battle, and being honest, these fast food establishments only add pounds to the battle not health and readiness.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  30. HooahArmyWife

    I'm sure there is some good reason behind this, or at least I would like to think there is, but at first glance it seems nearly cruel. I know how much my husband enjoyed those very rare trips to Burger King when he was deployed for 15 months (twice).

    I agree with Dano about providing so much junk food, but that problem is in the chow halls. Only someone who hasn't been there would think they could get some of those foods to them without an enormous additional expense. They are not in locations where it is easy to provide fresh vegetables, and you can often forget about fresh fruit.

    I think civilians might have the wrong idea here. At least where my husband has been, they are not hitting the BK for a whopper every night. That is something he got to do maybe once a month. There is, however, a lot of variation in living conditions. The grunts may never see a BK and the fobbits could be at one frequently.

    If this is really to help improve something more vital, then so be it. I guess I'm just not convinced that it is.

    I live right next door to the million dollar water-front home just constructed on MacDill AFB for General Petreus (not him specifically, but whomever is in his position). The size and luxury of that home, as well as the other general's quarters constructed around it, is absoultey amazing. How about we stop doing crap like that if money is an issue? The home he was living in was nicer than, I would estimate, 85% of Americans have.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Kore troop

    I cant believe this! I couldnt agree more with the posts stating this is a mistake. I am an AF Vet of 8 years with time in as an SP stationed around the world in, sometimes, extreme conditions. One of the few things I would look forward to was a BK Whopper and maybe a movie at the base after my shift. We didnt have much and this was one of the few things I thought my leadership was doing to make our duties more palatable. I am now an AF Civ and cant even begin to tell you the amount of waste I see every day. Hell if we gave to the "real" troops half of what we waste, they would all be sitting pretty good. In summary, this should NOT be happening!!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  32. SED

    THIS MOVE WILL NOT MOTIVATE THE TROOPS, BUT ONLY MAKE THEIR LIVES LESS COMFROTABLE. HAVING SOME AMERICAN FOOD AFTER A HARD WEEK OF BEING OUT IN THE FIELD IS A REWARD, BUT THIS IS CALLED MILITARY INTELLEGENCE.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Shockvolt

    God, Family, DQ, Corps, Country? Something doesn't look right here. Let's get the supplies to the front. I agree with this decision 100%.

    I remember getting letters a month after they were sent and waiting in long lines to use phone booths. Now they have internet and cell phones. Quit whining!!!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  34. vanessa

    “This is a warzone – not an amusement park,” he writes.

    They're working very hard. They're fighting for a best USA , obviously isn't a amusement park but they deserve to have something that feels like home.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  35. 19yrolde-5

    You poor poor little spoiled boys and girls. Were hamburgers and ice cream on your contract? Shut up and do what you are paid to do.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  36. OEF Kurt

    I was at Bagram, and although it was nice to have BK and Pizza Hut, they weren't really all that good, anyway. The command decision to remove them is not for punishment or because such places are not the most healthy places to eat. Here's the reality: Afghanistan is a land-locked country, and the nearest sea port is in Pakistan. All goods that go to the troops have to travel over two highways that are subject to disruption at any time, from insurgent activity to acts of nature. With the coming build-up, we need to focus on getting priority goods (armored vehicles, ammunition) to the guys directly facing the miscreants (bad guys). Some supplies can come in from the north, subject to the whims of every country along the way; Russia, and several former Soviet countries. Flying supplies into country is aircraft, crew, and time intensive. And an insurgent outside of Bagram or Kandahar with an anti-aircraft missile can screw up someone's day with a quickness. And keep in mind that aircraft require overflight permission from every country along the way, too. I personally admire the way the sustainment community is pushing necessary goods into the country given all of the potential blockages. BK and DQ are nice, but I'd rather have the guy in mountains chasing insurgents have good boots and plenty of water.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  37. LesinMN

    Look at the picture at the start of this article. A semi load of Burger King supplies taking up a whole lotta space in a USAF C-17. That's the problem the CSM is addressing. Would you rather a load of whoppers or a load of flak vests and 5.56 nato ammo be on that aircraft? Burger King and the other vendors are more than welcome to open up off post and transport their own goods to serve the troops. Also, Don't jump to the conclusion that these places closing are the only options to the troops at these locations. they aren't. they're just the ones on post.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Kelly

    How can we expect our men in uniform to be at their fighting best if they were eating crap? The best thing about the removal of these unhealthy establishments that claim to offer "food" is that our guys and gals over there will maybe eat real food instead!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Karl Lewis

    One thing I forgot to mention and I realized this after reading a few comments from fellow Marines is this. The Air Force have all of the luxuries that one can think of. The Marines get by and make do. I have had to ration MRE's and bottles of water in the past. I have gone for weeks without a shower. One time we got to an Air Force base to pick up some supplies and decided to hit the showers while we waited. Lo and behold a fat Air force whatever you call them came in and started complaining because we were making the showers muddy! some of these folks over there are so spoiled that they do forget that there is a war on. You have Marines and soldiers over there dying and rationing food and water, when the air force is in the rear with the gear, out of harms way and enjoying clubs, movies, fast food, swimming pools, air conditioning etc etc and then they come home and act like they are some kind of hero. This takes away from what the Marines and Soldiers have sacrificed. Check the stats, how many deaths have there been from the Air Force in comparison to the Army and the Marines? Why should they Air Force get everything handed to them on a silver platter, when we are the ones footing the bill and going without. When I say footing the bill I am talking about the price of Freedom and that my friend is blood.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Toddman

    We need to cut back on these luxuries..this is a war time. We have already spent over three times and still climbing everyday of what this new healthcare bill will cost us...and we have spent it in half the time. People don't realize how expensive this war is and it's being funded by loans from China that started with Bush. Make sure these men and women have the most safe and best equipment they can have first. Give them communications to family and friends...they don't need DQ and Burger King..they have a mess hall...and they are quite good these days with actual chefs....it's not like Vietnam where they put any 18 year old they could find in front of the stoves.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  41. RM Bates

    I must say that from a mental health standpoint, these facilities are a plus for troop moral and their optimum mental health. They can and are sometimes utilized to keep a service member in the fight and not returned to CONUS. ( Back to the U.S. ) We a;ready have the facilities to do what we need to do as far as supply and logistics for forward deployed troops. MEDCOM is doing their best to take care of the servicemembers as best as possible. There needs to be a balance of MWR stuff to ensure that the servicemember is provided with services in the off time to ensure optimum mental health. Deployments are stressful and tough on men and women of the armed forces. The US Transportation command (TRANSCOM) is doing their best to get them what they need as soon as possible. However, There are also some logistical issues unique to Afganisthan. Very unique. We need to do what we can to ensure the overal mental health of our young eman and women so that we can hopefully maintain their optimum health and mental health. This action creates more mental health issues for DOD Medical to have to deal with and for the VA to Attempt to deal with

    March 25, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Marcos Fregoso

    i think that you guys could use this as an advatage to get weapons into afghanistan and other places world wide by moving in food and ammunition behind the trucks so the soldiers could have good meals and still have bullets left to fight

    March 25, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Former Sailor

    Alright folks, let's get down to the real truth...Take away a man or woman's creture comforts and what you end up with is a cranky, angery, more violent person. So if the intent is to make the troops more agressive, then Bravo! You have succeded! However, please realize that we will see a great increase in soldier suicides, brutality, and mischief. Hope the "leaders" are actually ready for the fall-out of denying these hard working folks a little taste of home.

    Where can I send MY DVDs? Even though the MWR doesn't support you guys and gals, I DO!!! God Bless, and come home safe. We'll be saving the best eats for ya!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  44. RatDaddy

    This is tragic. I understand everyones comment about luxeries, supporting the grunts, not having this in previous wars etc. But, this War is not like previous wars. The Rules of Engagement is such that there is a LOT of down time. There are not massive battles raging everyday. Sure, remove these items and just unload on that country with everything we have, Air, Land, and Sea and within a few months come home. I will be the first to hook up the BK trailer and pull it out of there. But that is not the plan at all. This is a long drawn out affair that has continued for 9 years and will probably continue for 9 more. You take a 19-25 yr old kid and tell them no sex, no booze, no magazines, no hint of food items from home and have then serve for a year in a place where the decision to shoot or not shoot is made at the highest levels and then expect them to be happy about it...oh by the way, tell them to do this 2-3 times. I've been there! Unless YOU have, you don't know what you are talking about.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Fred

    Seems to me that, if we weren't paying billions to KBR, Haliburton and Bush Crime fanillie's cronies, we would be able to finance this war... It's always the money. Just a thought.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  46. JusTpuTinGiTouTtheRe

    I can't believe a decision like this was made. He should've ran a survey for the Soldiers WHO ARE THERE to make this kind of decision and weed out what goes and if they could have one "luxury" what would it be. IMO nix the fast food and leave the movies alone. Just having a little luxury will boost a Soldiers morale. Upside to a decision like this will give the Chaplain alot more Soldiers to tend to now. What an idiotic move for the CSM.
    Also, for all the ppl who served in Vietnam, I respect you serving but if its out there, why not use it right? Some of you guys relied on weed and alcohol for morale (which we all know what that led too), whereas we rely on something that doesn't impair our judgement for morale but to something to keep our mind at ease.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  47. American

    Please understand that EVERY person in the United States Military made a choice to enlist. We have a100% volunteer military. They are trained and paid for combat. If they don't like Burger King being removed from the base, they could have stayed home and worked for them.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Tom S

    I love how the Marine's have to defend their "hardness"...Last time I checked Al Asad had a nice little fast food court and it's 90% Marines..

    And AAFES doesn't care whether BK or KFC go, profits go towards MWR.

    These restaurants weren't hindering our troops in the fight, its just some Sergeant Major that feels the need to make them a scapegoat.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Carolae

    I believe I'm repeating what has been said above; but if these little luxuries can bring some relief to the already stressful duties that our men and women are facing over there, then they should be kept. People who are serving not only over in Afganistan but in other areas, must be suffering from extreme high blood pressure which they never had before. They find themselves now having to take meds to lower their BP. However, if having a DQ sundae, or BBK or a slice of pizza can brighten up their spirits for a short time, why not.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  50. R DOWNS

    MY SON SERVED OVER THERE AND I REMEMBER HIM TELLING MY WHEN HE ARRIVED AT THAT BASE HOW HAPPY HE WAS TO SEE A BURGER KING AND DQ, AFTER BEING AWAY FROM AMERICAN FOOD FOR SO LONG . HOW CAN THEY TAKE THAT AWAY FROM OUR SOLIDERS . THEY HAVE EARNED THE RIGHT TO WATCH A MOVIE EAT A HAMBURGER AND ENJOY ICE CREAM. IT IS SICKNING TO ME.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Michele

    What idiot thought this idea up? Seriously? Troops need to have SOMETHING to look forward to. This is common sense. Even a simple burger or slice of pizza can make a person happier. After all that our troops do for us, we can't even supply them with food options? Send morale back down range where it needs to be and this time, make yourself look smarter, send something healthier and more delicious for our men and women to eat!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  52. J. Fenico

    This is bad for moral. I know tthat soldiers in the past did not have the "luxuries" that some modern soldiers have, but that does not mean today's soldiers should be deprived. There has to be a way of providing all necessary supplies and these so called"luxuries". We are the most economically and technologically advanced nation on the face of the planet. There has to be a way to provide both items. These soldiers are risking their lives for us everyday, and you take the smallest piece of home from them??? I guess command believes this will inspire the troops to work even harder to complete their objective. It is a slap in the face to all uniformed personnel.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  53. TinkerTeller

    People, stop harping on the calories. When I was in the service, we were told that in wartime, a soldier might need up to 10000 calories to get by because they burn so many in combat. It's not like the guys are eating BK 24/7/365. It is a real treat to them in a war zone.

    It isn't the franchises pulling out because AAFES holds theirs franchise licenses and they certainly don't want to leave the guys with no support.

    All those old-timers whining they didn't have a BK forget that there weren't any fast food places on military installations until the 1980s. But all of you got to wander into town and go to the local shops and restaurants. Our current troops can't do that because of the IEDs and suicide bombers waiting to hurt them.

    Dano, in the middle of a war zone, even a Whopper is a luxury. How do you feel about the Girl Scouts sending cookies to the troops in war zones?

    March 25, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Zimm

    If this is the best reason they can come up with for not accomplishing the goal of getting Bin Laden (Remember him?), defeating the taliban, and winning the hearts and minds of Afghan people, well then we have bigger problems than just BK,DQ, etc...We leadership issues at the very top.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  55. jane

    This is RIDICULOUS !!! Food is a huge part of moral and taking this away will undermine the soldier's mental health. These kids need this food in order to remind them of home and keep them on track. It is stupid to take the only things that taste good and keep it from the people giving up their lives for us–THIS IS STUPID!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Airforce Wife

    *heads*

    March 25, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Michael

    I just wonder since when these junk food establishments became part of a war zone. One only need to look at the waist sizes and note the harm it doing to these troops. Besides, why should taxpayers be subsidizing these AAFES enterprises. These operations should never have been allowed to start in the first place. Finally, a military leader with some b–ll- .

    March 25, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Richard

    Welcome to War....

    March 25, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Dan

    if they think this will war this police action ,I may have some swamp land for sale.Until you have been out on patrol wth just your canteen for 8 or 10 hours with the temp about 100 degrees or cold as 20 degrees,you just don't know how good a burger or a sundae tastes.Our government must really be wanting to get all they can get out of the guys.I guess they need to send more money to mid east governments.Sad state of afairs.There's not a lot to look forward to but bunk time.Hope they don't take that away too.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Carol

    I believe taking away what little amusement the troops have will add to the total number of depressed and suicidal combat military over there. Maybe the fast food, but movies???

    March 25, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Retired Airborne

    Quote:
    " Burger King, DQ and Pizza Hut are luxuries? More like bad food. Time to get weaned from that crap and enjoy real food. What better place to do that than far, far away from them.
    How about getting them nice fresh veggies, good cuts of meat, good bread, and other real food instead of that junk?"

    Idiots that post this crap need some wall to wall counseling. Our soldiers are not eating fast food daily, it's just a treat once in awhile and if you exercise like they do, some fast food wont hurt you.

    Why don't you take a plane there and bring them some freshie veggies or aged top sirloin? You can even start a 5-star restaurant for the senior officers. You lilly-livered couch potatoes need to stop pushing your agendas on the soldiers. The restaurants there are the ones that the GI's want, not you.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  62. meathead

    As a former sailor stationed overseas, I have to say this is a very bad idea. For some of us these foods are what we grew up on and help to remind us of home. I know most of us always looked forward to a whopper or some good old Pizza Hut. This is our comfort food. How is a fitness center, internet access and a good cup of coffee even equivalent? Is this suppose to be an acceptable replacement?

    March 25, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  63. herny

    What I find so funny about this, is that they are getting rid of the DQ,BK, etc at a fast pase, but it took the higher ups 5 years to admit that the acu's don't work in the desert and to field a replacment uniform. But the soliders on the ground knew from jump that the acu's were crap but the solider's complants were ingored. So much for the higher ups lisening to the soliders.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Businessman

    Notice the heifer in the foreground as the BK trailer is unloaded out of a GOVERNENT aircraft, by a GOVERNMENT tractor, by GOVERNMENT employees.. If they want to keep BK, Pizza Hut, and the like then do what happens in Iraq... Make the companies get their OWN FOOD into the base. Don't rely on military assistance to make a profit.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Combat Veteran

    This must be the "New Army." In Vietnam we got free beer, smokes and condoms. Soldiers who do not know whether they will be alive tomarrow, should be able to enjoy the comforts in a battle zone, just like the paper pushers, cell phone idiots, and politicians, out of the war zone. The SM must have forgotten, that's if he was even in Nam; what it was like! Your basic load consisted of ammo, ammo, ammo, beer, smokes and sanity napkins(for those new soldiers, great as a battle dressing.)

    March 25, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  66. lucy

    As part of the armed sevices I can say THANK GOD we are getting ride of the junk food for what ever the reason is! The movie theater going is ridiculous we don't have much over there so some constructive off time lesuires is nice.
    The food is a whole other story the military is kicking out over weight troops left and right, on top of that military personel are supposed to be in good shape, so why on every U.S. base, camp, post etc across the globe do we have all these fast food joints? Our DFACS (dining facilities) are not much better...Your optinions, Fried, burnt, corn syrup, and the worlds smallest wilted salad bar, even the fish is baked in 8lbs of butter! What kind of message does this send as Americans? That the strongest military on earth is becoming the fattest, NOBODY should really be putting that junk thats passed off as food in your body!
    Bottom line build off time MWR facilities in place of the fast food, and improve our DFACS.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Jeoffrey Bristow

    DQ is about as AMERICAN as you can get. Were gonna lose this so called WAR. I love America. But if i could leave it I would>

    March 25, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Dia

    If they are having trouble getting supplies to our troops then bring all of the troops home! Let the Iraq and Afghanistan people fend for themselves. We shouldn't have been over there in the first place. I see this as a HOLE we will never get out of.

    These young men and women are fighting a battle. I say let them have their burgers and ice cream. It will keep morale up.

    Decision made by someone in Washington that sits in a nice air conditioned room and sips on coffee all day. He/she prob hasn't seen a day on the ground in this war! Bring them home!!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  69. StopNonsense

    Will people stop calling the military soft? If they are going soft, it's because the DADT policy is changed from a politician despite the people in the military (according to Military Times) of 70% Not in favor of changing it. Besides that point, I find it funny they have room for coffee. I guess they want the caffeine hyped soldiers carrying deadly weapons to wander around in the countryside. As far as the command sergeant major, he doesn't make policy but I don't quite understand his reference to fast food as an amusement park. I guess he eats fast food differently than I do.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Pete Wagner

    Kudos to Sgt. Maj. Hall, he must be a fan of the movie Patton, where in a scene it's namesake tore down a racy poster from a barracks wall, and barked to the lackadaisical soldiers inside, "This is a barracks, not a bordello."

    March 25, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Kerry M. Berger

    I'm sorry, but when taxpayers are footing the bill for this war, let the soldiers eat K Rations. They shouldn't be served junk foods like Burger King, etc anyway. Everyone else is tightening their belts, it is time US forces get in line with other national military forces. Either that, or we chop the military budget in half.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  72. max

    Stupid idea. First, what's wrong with the kids getting a pizza now and then? Let's completely destroy morale! We should bring our troops home and leave that sorry part of the world.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  73. RET 1SG

    Good for you CSM...when loads are being used to suppy REMFs and not fully supporting the front lines shame on the system!

    March 25, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Nunya

    More incentive to get the job done and get out.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  75. didmytimeatbagram09

    You can get all of the food items mentioned in this article FREE at the DFAC's(chow halls) around the bases. I think most of those that are/would complain would be the overpaid fat contractors on Bagram/Kandahar that barely do their job as is.

    As for needed space for 35k more people...they better make those TCN contractors work faster if they want those double wides stacked quicker anytime soon.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  76. Cathy H.

    My son is currently serving in Afghanistan. We definitely need to get supplies to our outposts faster (he is at an outpost), but our troops need and deserve any "luxury" we can provide to them. Occasional missions take my son through Baghram and enjoys the "luxuries" that are there that are not at the outposts. But what our troops REALLY NEED is personal internet service available at the outposts (my son's outpost doesn't have it yet) so they can occasionally stay in touch with loved ones back home. Phone calls are $4.00 a minute and our soldiers cannot afford that and text messaging is also very expensive. The only way I've heard from my son in the past four months is through rare Facebook communication. Our soliders need the love and support of their families while they are risking their lives for our country!!!

    March 25, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Herd NamVet

    The schism between "grunts" and "REMF's" is bad enough. Folks in the rear are there to support those in the boonies. We didn't have the glitzy stuff in the '60's but rather a MWR "Steak House" and monthly allotment for beer (which I know you can't have alcohol in Muslim countries). Those perks did me rather well plus a chow hall (not DFAC), and hot showers on those rare occasions in the rear. That "fast food" isn't good for one's body anyway.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  78. D.D. North Carolina

    This is a stupid decision made by out-of-touch and out-of-tune Army lifers. I spent 6 months in Kuwait after Gulf War I, 6 months in Iraq and 6 months in Afghanistan. As many people implied, a cheeseburger or slice of pizza is not going to hurt anyone. If the truth was really known, I would almost bet that it has a heck of a lot more to do with some CONTRACTOR who operated the chow halls bitching about all the money they lose when people don't use the chow hall. You see...........the contractors get paid based on how many ID Cards are scanned at meal times. If a Marine/Soldier decides they are going to eat a slice of pizza, then the contractors lose about 30 bucks a pop. Don't feed us the BS about it being all about readiness. Morale is part of readiness as well. General / Sgt Maj – THIS DECISION SUCKS AIR.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  79. Dartwick

    I dont think some of you complaining realize that most of the front line troops dont get to regularly use these features that are being eliminated in Afghanistan.

    Command doesnt want so many amenities at the HQ.
    They want everyone focused on what the guys in the field are doing.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  80. E

    Did any person who decided to make this cut realize that some of the soldiers rely on BK or a movie or something just to maintain a bit of sanity? It's rough out there being without your family, your TV, your pets, etc. It's a rough life. It really is and for someone to take that away from them, that could be their last little bit of sanity. Perhaps people should learn from Vietnam. Look what happened to some of those soldiers when no one thought about their sanity. In short, give the troops what they need to survive the war zones whether it's bullets or burgers. Their lives don't end when the war stops.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  81. Justin

    If you are still having this many logistical issues 9 years into the war with getting supplies in, I think you have bigger things to worry about then Burger King and other ammenities.

    You need to be concerned about troop welfare. The CO will push the mission – you're personnel will carry it out – make sure they're taken care of.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  82. klynch67

    Wow, lets make the troops go on repreated deployments and make them live in deplorable conditions, and then take away the few pleasures of home they enjoy just because some grumpy general thinks it isnt enough like real war. Maybe he should grab his rifle and hit the front lines for a while.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  83. Marine

    This is an outstanding decision. I am sure the Airmen, Marines, and Soldiers delivering supplies have no desire to get blown up protecting a truck full of whopper patties. In my experience the only people who get to use those amenities are the rear echelon folks anyways. Our spirits are fine, we can do without that "food" for a few months.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  84. JefffromJBB

    wow...I was on 12 on 12 off for most a year in Anaconda/JBB in Iraq. One of the the few nice things about that place was that you could get a burger or a Taco and not eat at the DFAC. And as far as putting more troops in, aren't most of those restaurants in trailers like they were in Iraq? Those restaurants were one of the few bright spots for the guys in the remote FOB's to see when they came in. I just can't believe the CSM or SMA or whoever made that decision.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  85. Airforce Wife

    here's an idea, how about the military stops awarding contracts to companies that over charge the gov't 100x more for a service than it would cost in the civilain world! I constantly hear my husband complain about how much the military pays for a certain tool or part, something that should cost $100 is costing the military $5000!!!!! and no I'm not embelishing! If the higher up's could get their hears out of their behinds our troops could have their small treat from back home.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  86. chris

    good we don't need any of that crap. looking back through 3 deployments i only remember eating at one of those mobile burgerkings 1 maybe 2 times and each time reminded me how horrible fast food is. the only ones that will miss that place are the fat and nasty pogs that spend all there time on bases chatting to their friends back home about how bad ass they think they are. i slept in the dirt every damn night, showered once a month and if i wanted a hot meal i added water to my MRE heater. the SGT MAJ is spot on its a war zone not an amusement park. every time we went to an army base thats exactly what it felt like, a damn amusement park.
    ps. the Mothers of America need to keep their noses out of our military

    March 25, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  87. RADHAZ

    Regardless of what many think of what Burger King and Pizza Hut, it is one of the few things that we have that remind us of home when we're deployed. When I was in Iraq, every Sunday evening was a pizza party for me and my co-workers. We'd also have BK on occasion, but that was usually when we were unable to identify what the chow hall was serving. If you want to cut space, then limit what AAFES can stock in the BX/PX. I got sick of seeing countless copies of Clifford The Big Red Dog and Mary Kate and Ashley movies on the shelves. And it seemed that almost every time we were standing in line for something, there were some Special Forces personnel that had been out for a while that took it as an oppertunity to relax and enjoy a reminder of home. Also, lets not forget that according the the Air Force brass, we have more airlift capacity than we need, at least that's what I keep reading.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  88. Chris

    I dont think the troops care about this crap as much as civilians think they do. I know when I was in Iraq I couldnt care less. These shadows of American life, if anything, just made me miss home more. I disagree about the movies though, I always felt that those were a big morale boost. However, I'd much rather have our supply officers focused on things our guys actually need than maintaining a facade of American life. They're not IN America, and that should always be on their mind.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Jayne

    War is hell.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  90. jason

    Nice to see the Brass will still have their coffee though.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  91. Jeff W

    Enough is enough. Bring our boys home. We will never "Win hearts and minds," in that part of the world.
    We need to make it VERY CLEAR to all of these countries that we are a nuclear power and if attacked we will respond with with WMD.
    We can drill through glass to get to the oil.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  92. Navin Kirloskar

    The generals that make these decisions are out of touch with reality. I wonder how many of them have actually been on the front line. It is very easy to order people about, take away their source of pleasure after a hard fought day, when the generals themselves avail of all these "luxuries" and then some. To top it off, they take the credit! I like the old times when the kings led their army to battle. Led being actually being in the front!

    March 25, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  93. Jim

    Maybe the Taliban will leave the bases alone now with no junk food to be had if they get in. The troops have things hard enough without poisoning them with this junk and calling it a treat or a luxury. It would be better to move this stuff into the Taliban areas and poison them. Feed the troups real food. They will live longer and be healthier when they come home. Healthy choices! Win and bring them home. That will be the best morale booster. God Bless the troops!

    March 25, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  94. Coker

    This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. As a mother of a soldier currently serving overseas, why in the world would these "luxuries" be taken from them when they are serving our country!! Long hours, no sleep and away from their families..I can not fathom that someone thinks they are not entitled to these items! I pray that someone rethinks this decision.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  95. Sam Daughtry

    I am a retired army non-commissioned officer. I honestly think that Sgt Maj Michael T. Hall has no real leadership understanding with regards to changes in morale, welfare and recreational facilities. While it is true that this may be a war zone, a fact remains that we still need to maintain a military base no different than any other military base we occupy around the globe. An important reason to maintain certain facilities is acclamation for soldiers. Many soldiers are returning back to the states with PTSD issues and many soldiers, marines and airmen stationed in North Carolina have a difficult time readjusting to civilian life. Sgt Maj Hall is now responsible for contributing possibly to a raise in mental health cases due to stress and mental fatigue by continuing to remove key benefits to soldiers wellbeing. By also removing these facilities Sgt Maj Hall has just now placed a strain on our military postal group as many of these soldiers will now request more items be sent from stateside. This means an increase in support and logistical services for soldiers that could be utilized in patrols or essential needs. This was a core problem and lesson learned in Desert Storm because soldiers didn’t have facilities – thus created 3 pounds of mail per soldier per day. Finally, it was private enterprise that helped our fragile economies in nearly every war – especially when our economy back home can use a boost. Our job as Americans are to support our troops. Sgt Maj Hall’s job is to also do the same. So far he is failing.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  96. Doug in Idaho

    As I learned very fast in the Air Force. You can never trust an officer. It took a little longer for the senior NCO's. This is a typical senior NCO mentaliy. Preserve my retirement, don't make waves and the hell with the troops. I'm sure this Sgt Majors superiors (the officers) have a very nice O'club they can go to. It's too bad he cannot or will not stick up for his men. In my 20 yr AF career there was only one senior NCO worth a damn.

    I'm sorry guys for this mentality. It wasn't like this 20 years ago. I also deeply appolgize to all of you there for not completeing the job well enough in the Persion Gulf in '91. Good luck and come home soon.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  97. Nick

    As a former Marine and Desert Dtorm vet, this is the right decision. If you want a Whopper or a DQ sundae, you should have not joined the military. There are plenty of extra curricular activities that you do not here about. These are not needed.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  98. Molly

    I served a year in the middle east. Sometimes we were in the middle of no where, other times we lived close to everything. I think there is more to this decision that the CSM let on. I bet money it is about the weight of soldiers. Yes, sometimes the soldiers in the outpost had access to these fast food, but mostly it is frequented by the soldiers assigned to the bases. If you live near a base in the US take a good look around. Our troops are FAT. I guess its no surprise since our country is fat too. Never thought the military would follow that path.

    If the only thing that raises your moral is food then you have bigger problems then being in a war. War sucks get over it. Find other ways to raise your moral. Its not always up to someone else to raise your moral. I was in Iraq with some great people they raised my moral more than crap food. 323 love you!

    March 25, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  99. Jim

    This decision makes no sense. I guarantee you that the shortage of supplies out to the Soldiers in the fight has nothing to do with the level of BK and DQ on the FOB. It has to do with planning in the headquarters of the decision makers. This decision is one made by an old-school sergeant major who has his own views about how a war should fought and "luxuries" aren't part of his twisted hard-core mindset. BK and DQ have no bearing on an amusement park atmosphere. It is the leaders job to make sure their Soldiers stay focused on the mission and supplies get to the ones who need them without detracting from those items that improve soldier morale.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  100. Derni

    Theis is further evidence of th crass decisions by the men and women responsible for our troops..they put their life on the line and we can't give them these small perks?? another reason not to give up your free will and serve a controlling agent like this.sad..

    March 25, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
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