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. Simon

    Thank God! Will S says it best: "The troops that need this the most (combat arms) never have access to it anyway. Let the pogues suffer." I was Combat Arms for 9 years, and went on a couple of real-world deployments, but nothing compared to Iraq, which I deployed to as a paralegal. You would not believe some of the perks around. On top of that, these CSSB people do not even train in the field when in garrison. Too many civilians lump everyone who served in Iraq & Afghanistan together. I feel guilty that I madde the same money as some of my former buddies made that were actuallly getting shot at on a daily basis. By the way, the guy who called CSM Hall a "Chairborne Ranger,: might want to rethink that.

    March 25, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. patrick mcgannon

    I suspose there could be some truth to what this Sgt Hall says, but I would hope the generals and their staff do not get their fine liquors and t-bone steaks. Something does not sound right about this austerity plan. I think the service would at least provide the movies. When I was in the Army 40 years ago, the movies are what I really appreciated. To think these few luxuries are coddling soldiers, is wrong. I think the general staff and this Sgt Hall need to get out into the field. Their observation of events seem flawed; they need to reflect upon their observation techniques while getting their butt shot at.

    March 25, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Stephanie

    With some humility, I am requesting a history lesson. Can someone please tell me what other country in the last two centuries has fought a decade-long war without imposing a draft? Can someone please tell me how many wars the United States has had to deploy the same national guard unit three times to a war zone for a year at a time within that decade? What kind of support system do you think they have when they get home? For some, not even a paycheck, because a lot of their civilian jobs are gone. And we wonder why the suicide rates are at an all-time high. When I hear, "you signed up for this," it feels like a real slap in the face. This isn't about hamburgers and movies. When a soldier "signs up for this," they're entrusting their whole family's stability into the hands of the American people. Do you really think you can ever repay us for what you have required of us? The least you can do is show a little respect. You "signed up for this" is just insulting. Don't you dare point your finger and blame us. You're the ones who laid out these expectations of our family. Ten years later and we can't get water to our soldiers? What in the world.

    March 25, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ron

    While I was serving in Afganistan, I always thought it was great the way US looked after the morale of their troops. Obviously now morale is no longer an issue. The excuse that supplies are not being delivered because pizza and burgers are taking the place of bullets and water is total BS as well. When you thought the US was getting serious over there, it looks like you guys are going to lose this war for sure. Good luck USA.

    March 25, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mom of a Marine

    My son has been deployed to Iraq twice and will now be going to Afghanistan- he is a Marine and never once did he have a BK, DQ, or Pizza Hut as he was in a marine FOB- too bad these luxuries are not extended to all service members.

    March 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. LB, an OIF Vet

    Get the facts complaining taxpayers. This is not funded by your dollars, nor is it the main supply of food. It is a nice alternative to the chow hall that is paid for at the time by the military member–as well as support from organizations not funded by tax dollars. I was there with some military on 15 month tours!! It is not a luxury to have a bit of variety in what you eat. You try eating the same chow hall meals for over a year!

    March 25, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sam

    I think a lot of you are missing this point:
    "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,”

    If the outposts are not getting their essential items because fast-food is taking up space on the transports to the big bases, that's an issue isn't it? Ditch the fast-food, get what's needed to the troops at the out posts first.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bill Smith

    Good for McChrystal and Hall. I recently completed a tour in Afghanistan and quickly learned that one of the biggest reasons we're 9 years into this war with no end in sight is a lack of focus. We are an all volunteer force serving in a combat zone. All you need is food, water, ammunition and a phone to call home on once in a while. All my fellow troops know exactly what they signed up for. There were no burger king trailers in WWII, Korea, or Vietnam. Let's trim the fat and finally get down to business in Afghanistan. Now if we can only get the Canadians to give up their ice rink in Kandahar!!

    March 25, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. beenthere

    It does suck if they remove the fast food...ultimately its disappointing when I know I'll be there in a few months myself and see a very different base than the last time. That said: If they are removing it to help out the forward camps get MORE supplies, GREAT! It definitely is needed...but if they are removing the fast food places in order to make room for 35,000 more troops? I am unsure how they will resolve their issues at the forward bases. That means there will be an increase in need for food at the main camps they are removing the fast food from...which still doesn't help the forward camps.

    While I think they probably have logistic concerns as a part of this reasoning...I do think other ridiculous reasoning went into this. What we have on our hands at some level is an old SGM and higher up's who are frustrated seeing their troops eating fast food that they were not able to receive during their low rank days. Happens a lot on deployments that you get upper command complaining about how the troops they see are soft compared to what they had. I see no indication how this change will help the foremost bases/camps logistically with that mass income of personnel soon.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. localhost

    No Peanut Buster Parfait for you! ... And your tour's been extended. Chin up!

    March 25, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. James

    That is just STUPIDO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 25, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. izzy

    This doesn't affect the Marines, because we never had this stuff on our bases anyway. We've been told from day one that we can't get too comfortable in a war zone. My time off in the evenings consisted of working out in the gym, or playing hoops. It passes the time by. We've always been amazed to see the luxurious and layed back lifestyle that the army enjoyed in the war zone. We even envied it, but in the end, it was for the better. All of my brave Marines came back home with me after our combat tours.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. John Franswah

    I think our troops deserve the very best, but then again their in a war zone too. Taking away fast food might hurt morale slightly, but letting them know the people here in the U.S. are always thinking about them proably means more than anything else. Lets not ever forget our troops. I never served in a war zone, but i did serve and i feel all of our troops deserve all the respect they can get. Freedom is not free!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 25, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John

    I am in the Air Force and just came back from Bagram. We are all trained professionals and our mission comes first; the majority of us know that. It is a warzone alright, but for Sgt. Maj. Hall to insinuate burgers and ice cream make our base an AMUSEMENT PARK is an insult!!!

    What MWR and upper management decisions placed these amenities on our bases in the first place? Can you blame the troops for changes beyond their control? Who are the majority complaining of losing these amenities? Are they the private contractors? Our troops? Foreign troops? ALL OF THEM???

    This issue looks like a financial and capital resources issue. It should be treated as such instead of calling our working environment an amusement park and treating us like kids. Cut non-essential services as needed, after all, it's the easiest, right?

    More fitness centers is good, but that also depends on the time to use them depending on the workload and work hours. More internet/phones is also good, although I've seen lots of lost productivity due to people hogging up such activities. Burgers and ice cream is the least concerns I've seen on base (they are free at the dining facilities and you can eat as much as you want).

    March 25, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jason

    Great job taking care of the troops!

    I believe GEN McChrystal is doing a great job turning things around strategically-but he obviously has no clue what-so-ever about leadership. And the Sergeant Major's academy should be shut down for allowing clowns like that to wear a stripes and a star who have no clue about the welfare of our men and women in uniform.

    I was amused at the comment about having to use a sleeping bag once-claiming these service members have it easy. No troops in our nation's history have deployed more than those serving today.

    Someday the military will promote officers and senior NCOs with actual leadership ability and common sense.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Joe

    what an idiot that general is. I supose no BK or DQ or dvd movies will get supplies in at least 10 seconds faster now. for a CSGTMAJ that guy sux. who is he supossed to help? the general not the enlisted.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Aaron

    That sucks big time, as a service member who served in Iraq from 04-05 and will possible be back i say that really sucks. Long work days hardly any time off sometimes those small "Luxuries" are just the little things that can keep soldiers from truely going insane for a years of constant pressure...And yes a Whopper and a movie do that.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Luis X

    unbelievable ... I just came back from Afghanistan, i was assigned to ETT – maybe this courageous act by leadership will help defeat the terrorist and bring peace and end corruption in Afghanistan. These few "luxuries" go a long way in maintaining morale. I was in Kabul international airport, and KBR restaurant (at the time) did not operate there. The European food contractors served stew tomatoes and pork and beans for breakfast – not my taste, i rather eat afghan food. When i was heading to a base with KBR restaurant, i would skip meals so i can eat good ol american food. They have been promising better internet service 8 months ago. Give me a break, i wonder if the isaf command sgt major would feel the same way about luxuries as gays serving in the military... after all its not an amusement park, its a war zone. bottom line, stop screwing the ppl trying to do a good job ... get in touch with reality or get out the way...

    March 25, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Arielski

    During the past few years I have probably sent hundreds of packages to Iraq and Afghanistan. In all the letters and net postings I have read from soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, troops tell of working so many hours that they miss scheduled meals in the mess halls and rely on fast food and snacks sent from home just to get something to eat. Apparently the military just can't be bothered to supply the necessities for health, hygiene, morale and troop cohesion.

    For years women troops wrote letters and posts begging for tampons, hand lotion and decent shampoo. These aren't "luxuries"! If our government insists on staying at war in Iraq and Afghanistan they need to figure out how to provide essentials (hygiene products), food (available at ALL hours to meet ALL work schedules), MWR facilities (current movies, fitness equipment, libraries, Internet access, etc) .

    If you would like to know what our troops need and want, check out this website:

    http://www.anysoldier.com

    March 25, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Dee

    This move is unjustified...We send our kids to fight and to only to find out they are treated unhuman. While those overseas have more rights than our own. Put Obama over there we would have a palace built before his arrival. While our troops are served hotdogs and bottle. Yes, move to remove MWR services needs to be denounced by the People and let it known to congress thier employment opportunties are deminishing in the wind. Yes, 2010 will be interesting.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  21. JulieintheUS

    Clearly the high ranking officers who made this decision do not eat what the regular soldiers do.
    They also likely have movies at their disposal anytime in a private setting. I could not agree more with those who say LET THEM HAVE WHATEVER small "luxuries" we can give them. For you old coots saying MREs were good enough for me, should be good enough for them. Do you have no feelings? You would have enjoyed had it been available. And why not? A Blizzard, a Whopper.and certainly a movie for the tiniest bit of enjoyment is not too much for these selfless/brave men and women.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  22. 11B

    I for one supprot this decision as an NCO who has spent a 16month and 12month tour in afghanistan I have seen first hand, supplies not getting to the FOB's and COP's but burger king and salsa night are alive and well. sitting in Helmand province in 140 degreee weather on two water bottles a day while we fly supplies into bagram is BS. cut the internet to the b-huts as well, people dont need to be on there 8 hours a day leveling up in WOW (yes I know paper pushers doing this), the MWR's are great on BAF and KAF get in call your family, send an email and drive on, both tours we worked 18 hour days except on mission when it was 20 or more. lets work hard and get the mission done. You can have RandR time when we get back. I would rather focus on getting the equipment we need to the front line smaller bases, we do without basic essentials ie. drinking water, truck parts, and low ammo way to much at these smaller bases, and if this can help, great. We are there for a reason lets work hard get the job done.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Jon

    What more can they do?! You know it may not seem like much but when your out in the field surrond by nothing but despair a little thing like a "BK" signage or hamburger can make your day. Luxury? No its not. A moral booster, yes it is. Do you know what it is like to hear the cries of babies and people as they die of war inflcted wounds or death and your a soldier there that can do nothing. You think it all day, all week, the whole time you are there. Can you imagine or yet better feel the one moement a soldier can get from munching down on a hamburger that represents home? The moment he has a laugh with his friends as they sit rested after a burger n fries, sipping on a soda or eating a sundae? For one moment they forget they are 10,000 miles from home and their for an instant back on the corner at home with loves one and friends grabbing a bite to eat before going out to have some fun on a Saturday afternoon. BK or DQ may not seem like a big deal to us here at home but our men and woman in combat its a sign of hope and memories. Something so minor to look forward to. I have seen military people with tears in thier eyes after coming home from duty without those little luxuries overseas cause they were so happy to have some backhome comfort food. Shame on whomever devise this pull out! Why dont they figure a way how to pull out our military from over there, rather than pulling out a french fry!

    March 25, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Justin

    I'm glad they're getting rid of that crap. I served in Iraq at FOB Mahmudiyah with 3BCT, 101st ABN DIV (ASSLT) and we didn't have any of that stuff.Not even ::gasp:: Green Beans! The chow hall food is fine. All BK and these other places do is suck money from Soldiers' wallets and replace it with fat on thier bellies. These places did Soldiers a disservice.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  25. SGT Meluzzi Andrea

    This SGM Major is a Moran and whoever, else decided to make this change to MWR activities in the WAR ZONE. All I can saw to the American People is watch out because I believe this change will add to the stress American Soldiers face in the war zone since they can not relax when they have down time in the combat zone. I wouldn't be surprised if more U.S. Soldier attempt or try to commit suicide because of the stupidity of those in charge. Thanks Sgt. Maj. Michael T. Hall. People get rid of idiots like this.

    Thanks.
    SGT Meluzzi (RET)

    March 25, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Jerry

    Why put so many boots when a really big bomb will take care of most of the problem? How about a taste of home at home for these guys?

    March 25, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  27. greg

    This is such a great decision! As a two-time combat veteran (infantryman) I am happy to see these places get the boot. We lived in a combat outpost and had to use bottled water for showers and shaving every other day and weren't afforded these "luxuries." The people that leave the wire complain because it now makes them focus on their jobs...get over it. Maybe this will fix the problem with all of the fat support Soldiers you see running around with ACUs that look like they were spray painted on.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Donna

    I don't think that the army people run their caravans filled with Burger King supplies. I believe they only take care of ammo, food, water and other supplies that our troops need from the army. The fast food places are supplied by their own companies through suppliers. Should have no impact on our guys taking care of their primary job.

    The article is full of misleading and wrong information,

    March 25, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Susan

    My father is buried in Lorraine American Cemetery in France. He was shot down in a B-24 during the infamous Kassel Mission. I would like to imagine that between his twenty-three missions he might have had some comfort food or meals that would remind him of home. Shame on those who made this decision. This needs to be rectified.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Army Lifer

    I agree with this. BK and Pizza Hut were not in any way shape or form part of the oath of enlistment these guys took. If there is only room on the plane for guns...butter should lose EVERY TIME. I have great respect for our ALLVOL military...but they are getting a tad spoiled. I know...I spent 10 years in the Army in the 80s...and work for the Army as a civilian now. Between BK, Pizza Hut, Starbuucks, internet cafes, premier movies, and too numerous "training days", it has gotten out of hand...at the expense of the taxpayer. What other Military in the world contracts these franchises and puts them out on FOBs?

    March 25, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  31. rh

    Got a friend in Kuwait, that IS an amusement park. IMHO, I would not cut anything, as long as it was controlled.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Patrick

    It probably costs more to put the resturaunt on a plane and fly it out than it does to just leave it there. Why would you borrow the bucks from China to put somthing like that on a cargo plane to get rid of it. They cant truck it out or canibalize it ?

    March 25, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Don

    The problem with the CSMs BLOG is that you can NOT leave comments.....I wonder why? What they need to do is get EVERY Soldier off the FOB and into the fight. Most of them need those activities to fight boredom. Some one is not thinking, after they remove all of those fun things that give Soldiers something to do with all of their down time suicides will rise. I talk from experience.......

    March 25, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  34. TESTED

    Right on! REDUCE the footprint, fight like hell and have your pizza party back home. I never wanted to get comfortable in a warzone, nothing, nada, bring the bullets and bring me home!

    March 25, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  35. David moffitt

    Bring them home NOW!

    March 25, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Common Sense

    I am telling my congressman that my husband deserves a whopper?? or a blizzard??? are you for real?

    March 25, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  37. 21B

    And as an afterthought, any real soldier knows, the only luxury is sleep, mail, and being able to hear a loved one's voice from home. If that isn't enough, you aren't doing enough.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  38. fastfoodjunkie

    The military should be serving our troops better food than that garbage anyway. There is practically zero nutritional value in those meals. They need balanced healthy meals to do there jobs properly.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Common Sense

    Burger King, DQ and Hollywood movies need to be out of the war zones. People shouldn't be eating that crap anyway. They are increasing the internet, so the guys can see what ever movies and TV they want. I think this is a great move. This isnt Vietnam forward posts. These are plush military installations with gym facilities, internet cafe's and a base exchange. It's rediculous that tax dollars are going to this to start with.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Jake

    Taking the position that our soldiers are "there to do a job" and therefore luxury is a distraction seems to be going down a dangerous path.

    We as Americans take the moral high ground because we think our freedom enables happiness and a higher standard of living. If it didn't, we would be fighting for nothing.

    So what happens when a soldier is exposed to the stress and horror of war for months and months with less chances to be reminded of how it feels to be a free and happy American?

    March 25, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Sneddon

    You think morale was low before...you ain't seen nothin' yet my friend!

    March 25, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Will S

    The troops that need this the most (combat arms) never have access to it anyway. Let the pogues suffer.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  43. TinFL

    Part of this move may be in response to the huge disparity between field troops and "rear echelon" folks. This has been going on for a long time. I served with the 1/187 INF in Kosovo and that was a constant source of resentment between we infantry in scattered outposts eating cold food, having to relieve ourselves outside, getting a shower maybe every two weeks and the people who lived at Camp Bondsteel where they had movies, 24 hour dining facilities with stateside quality food, and all sorts of other MWR facilities, hot showers, and toilets.

    It probably just isn't worth the headache at the top of getting between the "athletes and the athletic supporters" as my First Sergeant used to say. As necessary as all those support people are and make no mistake they are vital, I think the CSM is right that they need to remember where they are and sometimes it is easy to lose focus if you are not downrange.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  44. John

    That stuff should of never been there in the first place. Its really terrible when forward deployed troops in a volunteer military are actually "forced" to do what they VOLUNTEERED to do without having fast food and first run movies available....

    March 25, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Tina

    THis is a real bad move. I am a military wife of a active member and I truly cannot believe that they would do this. It is wrong!!! THis is the only thing that these guys and gals have of home, other than the food that their families would send. I suspect that this will change back real soon. I will be telling my congress people about this that is for sure.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  46. james

    I think they've got a point. It's a war zone, not an amusement park.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  47. yg

    Man thats some bs to the max why would they want to take the only thing that really reminds them of home. Its dumb i know there trying to save money, but i kn and you know that they have it. These people deserve any and all of the special treament they can deliver. Hell they are all fighting for what we are not brave enough to do.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  48. JW

    And to Joe,"Oh, p.s., troops in France, Russia, Germany, Italey, Africa, and the Pacific islands didn't have fast food or movies all the time, yet they faught and won, just shows how times have changed." Those soldier did have ammenities that we do not have now. They were allowed to drink, they were to have sex, and they were treated like men. They werent given article 15's for not wearing their eye protection, or having the window in their HUMVEE rolled down a crack because it is over 100 degrees outside and the AC is broke again.

    You should really research what you are talking about before you go spouting off at the mouth.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Cheryl

    This is an outrage!!!!! What a way to treat the very people who are stuck thousands of miles away in hell fighting for what this country stands for. Unbelievable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 25, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Army Chief

    Bad decisions, decisions and decisions. The soldier of today is more restricted in previous wars. In Vietnam, all those grunt soldiers have fun in the ville. But the volunteer soldier has GO#1

    Anyway, I served in both combat arms and combat support and the austere FOBs will always have it worse than the built up ones. So what!! Soldiers choose the MOS they want and with it comes the pros and cons of each.

    When I was in Iraq, I didnt have anything and enjoyed the moments when I went to FOB Warrior and enjoyed the new fast food trailers. They didnt take up space at all. In Afghanistan, I finally enjoyed and savored the stuff I was afforded too. Ironically, with all these extra bennies, I have worked harder and longer than I did in Iraq being on that austere FOB.

    Bagram, Afghanistan is a garrison FOB anyway and the 82nd treats the soldiers like they are in basic training again (e.g. reflector belt and saluting on disney). Too many contractors on that base and stupid regulations. They should change some of the garrison rules and make it more like being in the war zone.

    Shocking for a special forces General to make these type of changes. SF plays by their own rules anyway and enjoy tons of amenities but the conventional soldier cannot. You want soldiers to fight better; you have to loosen the leash; not tighten it.

    The fight is not in Bagram but in RC South and West. I dont know why more soldiers need to be sent there anyway.

    I am so happy to retire soon. The Army becomes dumber (due to idiotic leaders) everyday.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  51. 21B

    The fast food joints are for the fobbits(soldiers who never leave the wire) who have the time to wait in line for the junk food. Its all overpriced and isnt the same quality back home, and more expensive to boot. The 'restaurants' arent providing a service, they're fleecing the servicemember, The resources to move BK and DQ's supplies are better spent on the soldiers and the fight. You really think these 'restaurants' have their own planes and trucks and security forces to protect their assets en route? Maybe BK and DQ and pizza hut pay the government for use of the services, but know for a fact soldiers have lost lives moving this garbage around. And just as important, if there is one COP(combat out-post) out there rationing their food and water because resources arent plentiful enough to get them what they need, than how can any soldier's morale be lifted by eating a burger or pizza, knowing full well their comrades not too far away are hungry?

    March 25, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  52. First Cav

    Hate to say it, but the Generals are right. When you're fighting a war in two hostile countries, you fly light. Bringing Burger King and mall shops into a war zone in the first place was a stupid idea. Soldiers should not be eating fast food anyway. It makes you fat and it clogs your arteries. In Vietnam, we ate rations. When we were out of the bush, we ate beans and corn bread.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Sally

    This is just nuts!

    March 25, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Matt

    I've heard the military is looking for ways do decrease the suicide rate across the board. Removing items that help ensure morale and give soldiers a reminder of home certainly does not help the situation. These guys are going out and being shot at day and night and watching some of their good buddies die right in front of them. This day and age these amenities are possible; we no longer live in the year 1948. I tell the military that if they want to reduce the suicide rate they need to reinstate these luxuries and get rid of this guy and whoever else thought of this genius plan.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Chuck

    I was in service in 'nam in the 60's and we went through some hard times. Nothing was like that except when I was stationed in Saigon. These G.I's know it's a battlezone but they need some comfort. I remember one of my buddies lost all his morale and ran into a field of fire. Without these comforts theyre gona go nuts.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Just Bob

    It's about time... After spending a few years in Afghanistan, I had enough of the food poisoning and outdated food from the fast food chains that AAFES was quick to make a buck from.

    AAFES stats that they only carry mission essential support materials – that's the BS everyone is fed at Bagram. So while you're at it, get rid of the HandyCams. Soldiers are shooting more videos than combatants.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Aurelio

    I'm am sure that our troops know that they are in a war zone, no doubt. To give them these few "luxuries" does not make a difference to where they are at. After being shot at or close to blown up days at a time, do you really think a hamburger or an ice cream is going to allow the soldier to forget where they are, and that they are at war? Of coarse not, but it will make their day to have a little taste of home.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Randy

    I've read many comments posted by viewers and most everyone has said this is completely wrong. I spent a year away from my family in Korea and two deployments to the middle east. It was the longest and hardest period of my life being away from my beautiful wife and handsome boys. We owe anything we can give to the brave men and women defending our country. BK and DQ was so important to me when I was there. It really gave me a feeling of home, recharged my batteries. This may seem like a little issue to most, but when you have nothing in the battle zone, it is huge to the warfighter. Come on Generals... don't do this to our troops!

    March 25, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Cooz

    I recently spent some time at a large base in Iraq. I only at BK on my birthday and one other time, but it was a nice break. Much like fast food should be at home. I saw 5 first run movies the whole time I was there, but those were only the movies that I really wanted to see and they happened on my infrequent days off. I can understand drawing this stuff back, but killing it completely will kill morale right along with it.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  60. JW

    I agree and disagree with this at the same time. I have been to Afghanistan twice as an Infantryman, and I can tell you that there is nothing better than a nice cold ice cream when it is 120 degrees in Kandahar. And it was a great treat when we finally got to one of the large bases where we could have that stuff. But I can also see that it does constrict the movement of important supplies. But it would also help if ALL service members in the combat zone worked the same way. I know the Combat troops are naturally going to have a harder job to do, but there is not need for people at the large bases to have casual Saturdays (wearing P.T.s) and sundays off. Now a lot of you are going to yell and scream saying that this isnt true, but try finding anyone that is working, let alone moving supplies, on a sunday on Bagram Airfiled. Trust me I have spent over 26 months total in Afghanistan.

    I think the removal of these "luxuries" will be ok, if they start serving better quality food at the chow halls. Soldiers cant survive on the same 6 "boil-a-meals" and the "surf and turf" on fridays.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Ryan

    What is with all these people saying soldiers deserve luxuries because they are sacrificing so much? No one forced them to volunteer. No one said it would be easy. You don't volunteer so you can be "entitled" to these luxuries.

    Like it's been said. It's a warzone. That comes first, but all the idiots here don't seem to grasp that fact.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  62. M

    I remember when the first Burger King and Pizza Hut opened at an Iraq base in 2004. We waited in line for 45 minutes only to have our order interrupted by a mortar attack. Good times. It was nice to have a little comfort, especially when our extended duties caused us to miss dinner at the mess hall. Troops can survive and get along without this stuff, but what does it hurt? To be reminded that "This is a war zone, not an amusement park" is almost insulting. Every time we took cover during an attack or saluted a passing casket with a fallen American hero, we were reminded that "this is a war zone" Tell me the extra luxuries clog logistics resources and I'll say 'fair enough." Telling me that having a BK turns Mortaritaville into Never-Never Land is insulting. Personally, I think the whole issue is petty and embarrassing. Aren't there more important things to worry about? I did hear something funny the other day about McDonald's and Crystal's coming together with a product to win over the Commander there. Its called the McCrystal Burger.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Bruce Wade

    All too often the grunts on the sharp end don't get those luxuries anyway. Their nonavailability may help the REMF's stay focused on the support mission.

    been both

    March 25, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Suz

    Rob @ Comment #353... I have to agree with you.

    I want to support the people putting their lives in peril daily for the greater good, but at the same time, if we have to cut back on non-essentials, then that's what we've got to do.

    Here, stateside, we should all be doing the same thing – and I think most of us are. Everyone is feeling the pinch of the economy in some way, shape, or form, and most folks are cutting non-essentials out of their spending, too. For me, going out to eat – even cheapy fast food – was one of the first things to get cut from my lifestyle. Guess what? I've lost ten pounds, my cholesterol's down, and I feel so much BETTER – plus I'm saving money.

    I think increasing internet/telephone/fitness facilities in lieu of spending money on crappy fast food is way better for morale, anyway. I'm no soldier, so I'll ask: what do you think a soldier wants more – a cheeseburger, or kind words from family and friends?

    March 25, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  65. asdf

    Hmm at first this sounded like a stupid idea but to be honest if they are stationed on these big modern higher security bases perhaps they should experience at least what some of the grunts out in the field are having to go through. Besides anything that forces all these war tourists VIPs to actually experience the hell holes our troops always get sent to the better.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  66. larry wisc rapids wi

    Combat Veteran, Hoo Rahhh, and no kidding! When they went to mre's Vs sea rat's I thought what is the mllitary becoming, then today when I reqad that they have DQ, BK, and what ever else to back to after a day in the field, I'm thinking what the heck happened to combat, I didn't know there was a switch thrown at days end and we all went on our merry way. This information and these posts are not real right! These things really do not exist over there, do they? If they do, I am now 61 yrs old can I get back in the millitary!

    March 25, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Sam

    Our teenage soldiers can not drink or smoke until they are 21 years of age but they can go out and fight and maybe die from it, but they want to take away a few reminders of American that they have there like burger king,top movies,etc. Even someone who is about to get executed in prison has a choice of their last meal. Just not right to me about all this..

    March 25, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Dan

    Sure was nice to stop of that is

    March 25, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Dan

    This is simply absurd! If you have never been in the military and been there, it might be hard to understand how something so simple can help. If even for only an hour. I was in Iraq at a FOB that had nothing of the sort and I was in no way resentful of persons stationed where they did have such things. Just looked forward to getting there. The whole "logistics" issue is pure BS. Furthermore, how is watching a movie or eating a burger going to affect the war? It's not. Plain and simple. Just a bunch of petty "leaders"...if you can call them that. Funny thing is, I was actually considering reenlisting within the past week. After reading this, I remember why I got out!

    March 25, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Kathy Boyd

    Getting rid of the fast foods is an excellent idea. They should have never been there in the first place. Getting rid of first-run movies is all wrong.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  71. jeff

    Another veteran here. This is beyond ridiculous.
    At the battle of Agincourt the vast majority of the Soldiers were completely wasted.
    Soldiers in the civil war made their own booze and often times bands of prostitutes followed the armies around.
    During Vietnam it was pretty standard to call up the "pizza copter".
    But a double whopper, that'll make us lose the war!!!
    If you're serious about opening up necessary resources in order to fight the war effort, ok. But this whole warzone and not an amusement park thing is f**king stupid. There is nothing about eating a whopper that is going to make Soldiers soft or take away their personal focus on fighting.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Lenny

    They shouldn't be forced to eat all that fast food crap anyway. They should have real chefs preparing top-notch healthy food for the soldiers. They should be supplied with all the best nutrients that their bodies and minds need. And instead of shipping all the food over from the US, they should set up contracts with local Afghan farmers to get as much local produce and meat as possible (with stringent food testing implements). This could potentially save on cargo space, help locals prosper, and put good home-cooked food into the soldiers' mouths.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  73. VA

    In the middle of a war zone and there's DQ, BK, Pizza Hut, etc? This is a WAR we're in people; I agree the troops need to focus in at the task at hand and NOT think of this tour of duty as a trip to Downtown Disney! Military discipline should be maintained at all levels to include what 'non-essentials' are available to troops. We've become a nation where our young people feel entitled to everything and anything without any consequences and we've coddled them far too long. I wonder how much Pizza Hut and DQ bill the DOD for providing our troops with their crap food anyway? What, no King Taco for the Latinos? Give me a break.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  74. SF

    This is a double edged sword. The FOB bunnies who don't leave the wire would give anything to go out on patrol. I was an ETT living with the ANA on their base and going to a FOB was a great luxury. We had to go to the FOB for all of our Class I support and cook our meals over an open fire every night. Hell, going back to Bagram or Phoenix was like seeing America again. Paktia and Paktika provinces might upgrade to the stone age one day.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Vet's Daughter

    My dad served and they treated him like a piece of property and the military's lack of respect for their enlisted cost my dad a lifetime of suffering and an early death. For me this, this is just one more example of the military's lack of consideration for their people on the front lines. BK a war zone luxury? Is moral now a war zone luxury too? This is just another test to see how far they can push these soldiers. And...if some of my tax dollars buy these men and women an ice cream and a whopper while they are putting their life on the line for me, then so be it. If I could write a check now to help keep BK there, I would.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  76. Rick Z

    Keep the BK, PH, DQ, etc. for the troops and free up the needed extra space by keeping all the politicians and other non-essential personnel out of the area. The logistics and security needed for a POTUS, VPOTUS or congressional video clip/sound bite dwarfs the burden caused by BK, PH, DQ, etc.

    Keep the politicians and other REMFs home!!

    March 25, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Dan

    It's a catch-22. I could care less if some rear echelon puke gets another burger or a shot at a movie, but it sure was stop off for some chow whenever we got pulled into kandahar from the firebases.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  78. Dave Rogers

    For any unaware, there is a fund to provide the smaller bases with a few comforts.

    https://www.uso.org/donate/custom.aspx?id=1848

    They are going for 5$ as a basic contribution.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  79. asdf

    Hmm at first this sounded like a retarded idea but to be honest if they are stationed on these big modern higher security bases perhaps they should experience at least what some of the grunts out in the field are having to go through. Besides anything that forces all these war tourists VIPs to actually experience the hell holes our troops always get sent to the better.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  80. CL

    I heard it was because DQ's owner violated the "don't ask, don't tell policy!"

    March 25, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  81. TJ

    This is totally ridiculous. I was in the Army for 11 years. I was also deployed to Iraq. It definitely boosted my morale to eat fast food every once in a while in Iraq.

    This command sergeant major obviously forgot where he came from. Unfortunately, this will hurt the mission. Troops need these kind of things to maintain some sense of normal living in a combat environment.

    I am so glad I never had to serve under a sergeant major like this. Just another example of someone on a power trip for no reason.

    What's next? No more USO shows?

    March 25, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  82. USMC Infantry

    I did three tours in Iraq between 05-08 as an infantryman in the USMC. I spent the majority of my time living out of Iraqi houses we converted into outposts, eating MRE's. The Chow Hall serves burgers, fries and cokes the same as BurgerKing, its a freaking Logo folks that all! Don't get wrapped around the idea a commercial franchise is any different or better or deserved by the troops.
    As for movie theaters who cares? Everyother guy has a DVD player or a laptop and 1st run movies the haji's sell us for 5$ before they even hit theaters back home.
    Its a waste plain and simple no one is being treated poorly by not having that stuff just because it has a logo and the room saved on supply transport can bring more mission essential gear.
    I never saw anyone have BK sandwich withdrawls but I've run out of water more times than I care to remember and had missions go to hell because kids go down for Dehydration.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  83. Mingo

    Our troops are doing what our government ask them to do. So the people in charge need to take care them the way it should be. By taking away the BK, DQ, etc...that does not improve the moral. War or not our soldier need the best even if is getting a BK burger.

    v/r

    retired

    March 25, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  84. j.conte

    My brother just got back from Afghanistan a few months ago where he was stationed at a FOB in the middle of nowhere. His FOB didn't even have heat till their tour was almost up. So I think its ok to give up some extra amenities in the rear if it means getting more of the essentials to the guys on the front lines.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  85. Dennis Lee

    This is just plain sad! As a military person, I looked forward to these kinda things while deployed. It gave me a feel of being at home. The people who decied to remove these things never have been deployed before. And to say that they are removing them for space makes me laugh. those places are usally by the BX...nobody lives there....blah!

    March 25, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  86. bignateb

    Good Job DOD, your doing wonders for the troops. Next I hear toilet paper is on the cutting board. There are a bunch of holes in charge of things that never have to go to Burger King or DQ because the have the officers mess which is pretty damn nice. Make them start eating with the troops and see how they like the food. They come down and eat with the Enlisted for the photos or special occasions and then back to O-Town. Then these guys make the call to get rid of the things that help the troops and make life tolerable. I spent my time in and don't have allot of respect people in charge that make calls like this. We can't get food for a Burger King but we can rebuild Haiti. It's what one extra flight to supply these places. Good Job Department Of Defense!!!!!

    March 25, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  87. Female Vet

    As a reservist that was in Iraq for all of 2007 (and now being sent to Afghanistan), on a very remote base with no BX, MWR to speak of, spotty internet, two phones that didn’t work most of the time, mail that came once a month (if we were lucky), no medical, no access to a bank or cash, and a very limited DFAC, I question this decision. I can understand some of the decision behind the policy, but I do not agree with it. I cannot tell you what a treat it was to travel to the larger bases in Mosul, Kirkuk, and Baghdad and get a chance to enjoy some of the amenities. It definitely raised my morale and I know it raised the morale of others. If this is a policy implemented in Afghanistan, then it should be implemented across the board. Do not make the contingency duty locations a have-and-have-nots issue. After all, in Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey, UAE, etc. they receive hostile fire and hardship pay without the combat, mortar, rockets, and IEDS…. and they will get to keep amenities? This needs to be thought through before it is implemented.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  88. Deployed

    Keeping Green Bean coffee shop...are you serious? Someone should check to see if anyone has an "interest" in that company. Last time I checked they served coffee in the dining facility ran by those overpaid fat contractors employing locals at a thrid of the price they are getting for by the government (that is for antoher discussion). Everyone that is opposed to the removal of these facilities should contact their Congressman right now and see what the TRUE story is. As far as I know most of BK, DQ and other shop's "stuff" is kept in refrigerated trailers and MREs (meals ready to eat) & water are not. So where are they really gaining supply space? Sounds like when they approved 30,000 new troops they forgot about manning the LOGISTICAL freight train that follows. There is a lot of faulty logic in the decisions made here. Sounds like someone or two has been watching too much Patton in their free time. As far as their free time...someone should see how "they" are living and see where they are going when they take their "official" trips back to the USA. I highly doubt they are suffering too much. Whether some people like it or not, MORALE has a huge factor in what goes on downrange. Sure some hungry Afghan is trying to kill us, but we have a fleet of aircraft to return the favor back at him. Bottomline...mission effectiveness will suffer...not improve. Glad to see this finally gets national attention instead of just Stars & Stripes.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Dan in SLC

    lemme guess. haliburton owns green beans coffee

    March 25, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  90. m

    As a woman who's military spouse cheated on her at Kandahar airfield with a woman that worked at the TIm Hortons coffee shop, who was paid more to serve coffee than any of the troops were to serve, and who also fooled around with more than one married man overseas, GOOD RIDDANCE. It's difficult enough for families to survive tours without opportunists like many (NOT ALL) of the women who go over there to make $$ hand over fist and get attention from lonely stressed out men that have to wait in line for a pc or phone for over an hour to get to their spouse. I was told by numerous military and civilian staff on KAF including TIm Hortons themselves that ALL the Tim Hortons women workers fool around with the guys over seas and NO ONE is punished even though it is supposed to be illegal. It isnt cool to cheat regardless of the "I enlisted therefore I'm entitled to do whatever I want while posted" mentality the army supports,-STDS are passed onto unknowing spouses back home. Trimming the fat in the form of getting rid of unnecessary women like her and increasing SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN stress releasing facilities like the gym and increaing access to family and friends via pc/phone is the best decision thats been made so far. It also cuts down on the animosity that FOB soldiers have for KAF soldiers b/c they have such a discrepancy in living situations.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  91. Wade

    As a just retired Army vet, all I can say is about time. These distractions and side shows are not needed in live combat zones at all. I went through hell and back just fine without the burgers and fries, movies, and Internet services when I served. To many distractions destroy the timing of the soldier (no squad leader or team leader needs to listen to a soldier crying about when he can use his cell phone to call his girl) and his combat effectiveness. All eyes should be focused on the prize, and that is a completion of hostilities, and a permanent return trip home after the mission is completed.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  92. RetiredAF

    This must be a joke. Food is food no mater how you package it. You still have to feed the troops...a little comfort food is a great moral booster.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  93. Carol

    MAKE MORE ROOM for more troops its a warzone I believe that is something as the man stated. But who's war is it. Time to get the hell out of there and iraq. There is enough problems here in the good ol USA. Time to bring back the companies that up and left usa to have cheap labor or tax them to cover the unemployment cost.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  94. Nick

    As a vet my self I find this appalling. Where are these brave men and women to go to unwind and get some fast food. This is just another reason they military has become to PC...what an assinine move by an E-9. Hall does not deserve to be called Sgt Major.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  95. Dean

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

    Yea boy. After walking around in the desert with a 60 pound pack I would really look forward to an hour or two on a treadmill.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  96. John in SD

    I'd like to see the officers who produced this edict do without their restaurants and Ice Cream. I think our soldiers ought to get all the "luxuries" we can provide them.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  97. Itzamna

    I'm half and half with this. On one hand, we should be focusing on supplies we need rather than supplies that make you feel better. At the same time these guys do something 99% of the people out there won't do and deserve something more than new fitness facilities and Green Bean Coffee or whatever it's called.

    What really sucks is watching the French with their prostitutes at the base next door while your're enjoying your new fitness center.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  98. scott

    goin there in a few days...... why the heck didnt i go to college. oh cause i am poor. gonna make the best of it 🙂

    March 25, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  99. karen askew

    Wow ! What else can we take from them to make thier lives more miserable ! As the mother of a soldier who mpent 15 months in Iraq, those little things were what kept him going. Amusment park my a__.

    March 25, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  100. zepled

    I find it hard to fathom that Whoppers can cause bad morale. There may be plausible arguments on both sides however if you have never served in the Armed forces, you really don't understand just how stressful it can be. I am an Army veteran, I didn't serve during wartime. I didn't listen to "Hooray for the Red, White, and Blue". I wasn't a Brass type Soldier. I listened to Led Zeppelin, I went out with my friends to German bars at night. But I was always up the next morning. I always did my job to the best of my ability. I worked very long hours at times. Many times overnight. I won't deny that I didn't get a certain rush from a job accomplished. That is just natural. But for those of you that haven't served, just how would you feel in their boots? You are doing an extremely hard job. You are doing numerous deployments. You get little sleep at times, You eat MRE's, (Meals Ready to Eat) sometimes morning, noon, and night. You miss your family, your friends. YOU MISS HOME!!!! Tell me you wouldn't complain if they removed the only Burger King on your base. Dairy Queen, Pizza Hut. Tell me you wouldn't. You are in a far away place, You are in a war zone. You wouldn't miss a few little things from home?? Now who is being unreasonable?????

    March 25, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
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