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 (1,604 Responses)
  1. Becca

    Who evercame up with this IDEA is a real JERK! Make more room to send more people over there?? What the heck I thought we were trying to get more people out of there? Not to send more there? SO what is it?? I think our men and women have already given up a lt to go fight for us in a stupid war that should have never started in the 1st place so lets honor them and take everything away from them that they can use in their spare time! Makes a lot of scense to me! DUH!

    March 25, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sam

    I'm a retired Army officer who has served two overseas tours so I understand the rationale behind this decision to some extent. That said, it seems to me that Command Sergeant Major Hall is imposing his own personal views on the troops. Mr. Green Beans Coffee is okay but first run movies are not?

    I understand the need to make sure our troops are fully equipped to fight and survive but with all due respect to CSM Hall, this is the Army of the 21st century. Even in both World Wars and the Vietnam conflict the troops were allowed to have a few of the luxuries of home if for no other reason than to remind them of what they were defending. Surely the need to get more beans and bullets to the soldiers can co-exist peacefully with the desire to have a few of the perks of home available. I think this decision is rather impulsive and short-sighted.

    March 25, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Gromkov

    This is a very poor decision, for a number of reasons, and here are some related observations
    1. Army soldiers at Forward Operating Bases do get the occasional opportunity to come into the bigger bases and take advantage of these 'tastes of home', increasing their morale at least for a moment. That is now gone.

    2. If the Marines have not had opportunities to partake in this stuff, that is on their poor leadership.

    3. If logistical problems are preventing the supplying of FOBs the war is going a lot worse that the leadership is letting on.

    4. The coalition forces are just going to ignore this, and there is nothing the ISAF CDR or SGM Hall can do about it. The Canadians, for example, will keep their Tim Horton's in Kandahar.

    5. The rank of sergeant major should have been done away with long ago. The rule should be: once you've held a platoon sergeant position, become an officer or get the heck out of the Army.

    6. Even soldiers fighting in the Pacific during WW2 got this type of stuff, while their Japanese opponents did not. Although the Japanese may have gotten harder through that experience, they still lost.

    7. The Soviet Army did not have the same extent of MWR type activities during their Afghan war, although they had more freedom of movement within cities, they were probably 'harder' than the average US soldier or marine in AFG now, and they still lost.

    In short – doing this is not going to move ISAF towards victory in Afghanistan, but it will help to lower morale just a bit more, something ISAF cannot afford in this type of war.

    March 25, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Peace Y'All

    Osama bin Laden attacked U.S. because of its support for Israel.
    Israel is occupying Palestinian Land.
    We, the US, get attacked and our economy suffers because Israel has taken up some crappy Palestinian land.
    Tell Israel to get off that crappy land because I don't give a damn about it.
    The last time Israel was in a situation like this was World War 2.
    Do we need to go through that again??

    March 25, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. M

    The last I checked it's a "volunteer” army. The Merriam-Webster definition – a large organized body of armed personnel trained for war. Keyword is WAR. You sign the contract and you do what they tell you to do. I don’t believe it says anything about fun and luxuries in it. They have the right to send you where ever they want! My parents are both retired Army and my little brother will be deployed soon. They need to be focused 24/7, not just when they are on duty. And if you don’t like the food they have, GROW UP!! It could always be worse. Our gov’t has made and is making life on the battlefield more suitable for our soldiers. Most Americans have turned into a bunch of crybabies. I’m surprised we haven’t started outsourcing our army yet.

    March 25, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Fmr. Army NCO

    This is heartbreaking. Sometimes you just have to get away from the military for a little while, even if its just the time it took to eat a burger, or watch a movie. I've been deployed, and I know for sure that nobody in their right mind is a 24/7 soldier, just like nobody is a 24/7 husband or father. As for supplies to the front and ramping up the number of personnel, a larger demoralized army is still a demoralized army. This sounds like the same officer politics that made me decide to not be career after serving 6 years. Some officer is having a hard time figuring out how to schedule transport for logistics, so instead of owning the task, or even asking for more transport budget, he/she's out there blaming Burger King and Dairy Queen. There is a point where doing more with less becomes stupid. I think they've hit it.

    March 25, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Danielle

    What could be more American than whoppers and Dairy Queen?? The soldiers are getting a taste of home, which by extension brings them comfort. Why take away something that is so essential to our existence. Yes, we don't want them to get so home sick that they end up screwing up out there, but really. If I were out in the hot Arab desert, I would want a little taste of home. What's next taking away their care-packages?

    March 25, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Steve

    I know how to free up even more room. Leave the country. If they are worried about morale I know it would be positive after that. I think Congress should have to eat MRE's at every meal until the war is done. I'm sure they would set the timeline a 6 moths then. All those bumper sticker that say we support are troops are parked at a McDonalds right now.

    March 25, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. CWills

    I served in the first Gulf War–no AC, no TV, pretty much nothing but MREs– it may be tough, but I think our boys will survive just fine.

    March 25, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. eilis_artis

    What a GREAT morale booster? Luxuries? More like a little taste of home for the brave men and women who are risking their lives. Too bad upper management isn't forced to endure the withdrawal of some of their luxuries. My husband and brothers served in Vietnam and I wish that they had a few of these 'tastes of home'.

    March 25, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mike

    Typical officer-corps mentality. I'll bet the generals and colonels still have their RVs, satellite TV and private chefs (who make better sundaes than DQ and better burgers than BK). But for the real military getting the real jobs done - they can pound sand, they are supposed to be tough anyway. It was true when my father and grandfather was in the service, it was true when I served, and it is true for my son today. Consider me thoroughly disgusted.

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

    All, I was in Afghanistan in 2006 and I'll tell you that the statement about "losing focus" because of having fast food or any other kind of business is entirely unaccurate. On the contrary, out of all the combat stress that we are subjected to on a daily basis, a few minutes sitting down to drink a frapuccino or any other goodies from back home, makes the difference. Let us not forget Sergeant Major that these soldiers had already given so much to this country and all this is causing is decreasing morale among soldiers. As for my fellow soldiers stationed where no goddies are available, at one point during their deployment, these american heroes will be on the main posts and beleive me that they will surely appreciate a little from home!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Matt

    Honestly, I amazed they have these types of fast food on bases in Iraq and Afganistan. Please don't use the excuse that they don't want to be over there and they would rather be stateside with their families trying to find "normal" work. There is no draft so everyone over there is a volunteer, they knew what they signed up for. They could have tried to look for normal jobs but they chose to join the military instead. It sucks to have something and then have it taken away but I'm not so sure it should have been there in the first place?

    March 25, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jim C

    "stupid is as stupid does"

    March 25, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ss

    I have no sympathy for the troops. If you want to eat Burger King and watch movies, then dont enlist in the military. And before people start spouting off about "the enemy", and "how we have to fight", or any of that nonsense, this war has not made us any safer. I did not ask these people to join the army, I would rather sit in jail, then fight someone elses war and kill people for a reason I cant make sense of. So, no sympathy, should have thought about what you were giving up before you signed up for the military.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  16. ED

    Good to see we are getting back to mission first. Happiness can be through the roof and can stay there for twenty years without getting the job done. And for a bigger point the Commandant of the Marine Corps routinely says that the highest morale in the Marine Corps is with the frontline troops in Afghanistan. These Marines are not near nor get frequent visits to the rear. If taking away junk food from massive bases allows the guys up front to get more ammo, food and water to to fight with, and more building supplies that allow us to win hearts and minds I say take it all and at the fastest rate possible. A military should be fast and light on its feet with as small a footprint as necessary. Our modern military should be the finest example of that.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Terry

    Dont get me wrong, i'm not for them pulling out all the Morale boosters seeing that they in no way degrade mission accomplishment but more phone centers,more internet cafe's, and more gyms for service members is a added bonus to them pulling BK, Dairy Queen and such. A lot of the decisions made in Iraq for service members came from someone who isnt even in one FOB's but from someone who was sitting in one of Saddams former Palaces with swimming pools and other emenities. The service members are not distracted from the mission with BK, its usually the "rules" that are distracting, rules that are non mission essential such as glow belts and PT gear in the gym.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  18. On The Ground

    Don't blame the Troops. We didn't ask for these things, they just started showing up.

    The prices of the TGIF in Kandahar higher than any I've seen in the states. The US-sponsored Green Beans Coffee costs as much as Starbucks. The internet provider charges $100/month for low-grade DSL that they call broadband. They can have all these "luxuries." They're just there to tempt our troops into giving up the little extra pay they get for a lame, overpriced slice of home. I blame the General Officers and Sergeants Major who allowed this to happen and let us get a taste of it in the first place.

    The only thing closures will really affect is US troops and make us resent other NATO service members who are supposed to be shoulder-to-shoulder with us. They already get two periods of R & R leave, special privileges and in some cases, beer. Those countries will just move their own concessions like Canada's Tim Horton's (which has by far the longest lines of any of the cafes) with their $1.50 coffee and donuts back behind the walls of their own compounds.

    While we're at it, let's get rid of all this unnecessary exercise equipment and open up these tents/buildings for Troops to live in. We can all do pushups, sit ups and run to stay in shape. What about all those dining facilities? They should just serve us lean meats, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables. Besides, most of us can stand to lose a few pounds so one meal a day is all we really need. General McChrystal proves that.

    The brass got rid of the 4-day R&R to Qatar (which I thought was a good decision logistically) and replaced it with a 4-day R&R in-place. But what will that be if their nothing to look forward to. Don't patronize us please.

    Believe me, I would gladly trade it all for a 9 month tour, especially after being extended to a 15-month tour way back in 2008. I'd trade it all if it meant I didn't have to gag every single day from the smell of that poo pond which gets worse and worse as more people move in.

    Senior leaders, If you're going to close them, then do it. You've been talking about it for 6-months now. Stop threatening and just rip the band aid off already. Then why don't you come up with a solid plan to win this war soon and we can all go home. And for some of us, get back to the easy, retired life of relaxing and fishing, right CSM Hall?

    March 25, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Carli E

    This is brutal....why not take some of the Burger Kings and DQ's out of the "fat" cities and take the money you save from People NOT dying from clogged arteries and cholesterol, and give some comfort to those who die for you country, This is not a luxxury, it is a reminder of the comforts of home.....

    March 25, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Liz

    I have another way to save money. Let's take all of their guns and give them sling shots. They can use the pebbles on the ground as ammo. REALLY, this is the big problem in the desert for our men and women. How about the NCO's not knowing what they are doing? There are people in command over there that wouldn't know how to get supplies from one side of the room to the other. Not a shock.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Mitch

    Thank you for bringing some sense of order back to the war zone. I spent 14 years in the military and am glad there was not all of this crap on base. Yes, movies are an essential item needed for the morale but first run stuff is not a necessity although I do not see where this saves too much room on base. Fitness centers are absolutely important. Fast food? Not at all, eat in the mess hall. This is a war zone and the fighting men and women needs supplies more than anyone needs a whopper. If anyone joined the military with the expectation that they would have 24/7 access to fast food resturants then we have failed somehow.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Fat!

    This is too funny...typical americans...wherever they travel..the fast food isn't far!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  23. gop2012

    Another example of Barry Osama's disregard for the what America wants or desires. Do you really think he has any regard for anyones opinion other than his own? Sort of like his democratic colleague who said todays military is nothing but illiterate fools who weren't smart enough to do anything else.

    As an American taxpayer I don't care what it costs us to keep our miltary personnel happy – if that means having a BK or DQ or what ever in far off places, than so be it. Maybe if Barry's cabinet members would pay their income taxes they could send more of them over to our troops!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Wanna go back!!!!

    While I DO see some of the point to closing these eating establishments, I was in Afghanistan last year on a FOB many hours away and while I looked down on those that got to eat it on a regular basis while I ate out of mermites, I did enjoy the rare and random trip to the bigger bases so I could get some the junk food that isn't ANYWHERE near where I was based. I really don't think that closing them is the issue; I really think the solution is to MOVE the fobbits out of the wire. Get them more engaged into the fight. Less time for everyone on the big safe bases and more time either on foot, or in convoys taking it to the Taliban. Then when they come back, they'll appreciate the same food and luxuries that they take for granted now. 35,000 more troops? Sounds like 30,000 more fobbits and 5000 troops fighting the good fight. Forget the food; leave it alone. Make those troops count and make them fight.

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

    Ridiculous. Hitting the pizza hut after a looong day of risking our lives was the highlight of my many days in Bagram. To those who say they didn'thave these luxuries when they were in, should we get rid of e-mail and satellite telephone services as well? Maybe make it harder for our guys to be away from their country and families? Call your congressmen, only way this is going to change.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Suzy

    This is disgusting. I'm glad I served my time and didn't re-enlist. I see both sides, but having just a small comfort of "home" always did me a world of good. A familiar place to unwind a little. I'm glad that the coffee will stay...Hall must have stock in Green Beans Coffee. Oh, and I'm glad that he was professional enough to write all of this in a blog. Give me a break, oh wait, there won't be anywhere to take one. (I don't drink coffee.)

    March 25, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  27. LORI

    Yes i get they need more room on the planes to transport supplies to the front lines. That is GOOD reason to ditch these fast food and movie joints on base. The troops on the front line need supplies much much more. Makes sense. But why the smart ass comment about this NOT being an amusment park, where did that come from. He seems happy to be taking the pleasures away like the troops did not deserve the pleasures during war time. Wierd just state the facts..we need more room on our transport planes for supplies.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Jim in Georgia

    You know, this just isn't right.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Rudy T

    And the next article will talk about how top Army brass just can't figure out why Army suicide rates continue to rise every single year. I'm sure more awareness training and AFN ads will fix that though.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  30. g0thicicecream

    If they're going to remove stuff like this, then they need to shorten the tours these poor guys and gals have to do, seriously, you can only push these people so far before you start to cause some serious problems for a lot of them. They're willing to die for this country, give them a break.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  31. lonnie

    As a senior enlisted Marine, i do not mind these small comforts if it helps keep my junior Marines morale up. The problem i have is that these same people are the ones who allowed these businesses into afghanistan to start with. What does that tell us about the oprational planning from the beginning? Now they are wasting time, money,manpower and equipment to send this back to the states.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  32. OEF Vet

    I recently redeployed from Afghanistan. A few of my personal beliefs:

    There are too many contractors there; they buy up most of the goods at the px so little remains for servicemembers.

    Most servicemembers would probably like to have a few beers as opposed to a whopper.

    The living conditions are unacceptable considering we've been there for 9 years. Plywood huts designed 8 people and for two years of use should not be used to house up to 18 people today. They are a fire hazard and offer no force protection.

    When I was at Bagram, very few people attended techno nite, salsa dancing, etc....basically take those away and no one would notice. Give joe beer, smokes, and a decent football game and he is good to go.

    my 2 cents

    March 25, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  33. toototo

    that is weird

    March 25, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Iraq Vet

    I just got back again two weeks ago, for those who have never served in the military let alone a war zone, when you have to eat the same things over again 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, for 6 + months, and no choice, having those services available make a huge difference in morale. It may seem comical to some people that we even have that stuff in a war zone, but we have been in these countries close to 10 years now. Yeah, some could argue that its not healthy for you anyway, but neither are IED's and IDF, I was the poor bastard who made the mistake of eating some Iraqi food and getting an intestinal parasite this time around, and lost 20 pounds, so I wasnt really worried about what Burger King was going to do to me. I ate MREs last deployment, and slept in a Ranger Grave now that sucked! Its easy for people to complain about what we have over there when they sit in their comfy homes watching the war on TV.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Cav Scout

    Ok so as a veteran of 3 tours in the war zone the movies are bit ridiculous but I can remember coming back from patrol (was a cav scout) on Thanksgiving. We could not wait to get to the chow hall and get the special dinner (anything that wasn't MRE's). When we got the call that we had to go out again, barely had time to stop at BK and get a burger and fries on the way out. I gotta say even if its limited it is still nice.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  36. MikeB

    I think it insults soldiers' intelligence to believe that they need to be reminded they're in a war zone by taking away fast food and movies. Are you freaking kidding me? This guy is out of touch.

    To all you health nuts saying fast food is not good for you anyway so it's a good move, give me a freakin break. These guys are at war and could die at any time, the last thing they need is a lecture on how organic food is much healthier and you should be eating gluten-free, trans fat free , blah blah blah. Save that for people not in a warzone. They are at more risk of dying being blown up by an IED or shot through the face, not of heart disease and obesity

    Then there's the argument that other soldiers stationed elsewhere may not have these 'luxuries' so it's not fair. So what, that means that those who are fortunate to get a burger should have it taken away from them as punishment? That's garbage.

    It's not like soldiers arent going to comply, they'll survive without burger king, dairy queen and movies, but jeez, what a jerk.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Veteran

    That is deplorable. In a forward deployed theater, often than not simple items and services such as whoppers and movies are considered as high luxury items to rotating forward deployed units to safe zones. This will have a further detriment to their morale.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  38. mad jack

    Why is Green Bean staying open? Oh yeah the Big Wigs got to have their fancy coffee I guess. Screw the troops and their morale.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  39. JMatthews

    I can't imagine taking away these little bits of home from these very brave men and women. This is cruel and unusual..............

    March 25, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  40. MikeB

    What a douche move.

    I think it insults soldiers' intelligence to believe that they need to be reminded they're in a war zone by taking away fast food and movies. Are you freaking kidding me? This guy is out of touch.

    To all you health nuts saying fast food is not good for you anyway so it's a good move can suck a big one. These guys are at war and could die at any time, the last thing they need is a lecture on how organic food is much healthier and you should be eating gluten-free, trans fat free , blah blah blah. Save that for people not in a warzone. They are at more risk of dying being blown up by an IED or shot through the face, not of heart disease and obesity

    Then there's the argument that other soldiers stationed elsewhere may not have these 'luxuries' so it's not fair. So what, that means that those who are fortunate to get a burger should have it taken away from them as punishment? That's garbage.

    It's not like soldiers arent going to comply, they'll survive without burger king, dairy queen and movies, but jeez, what a douche move!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  41. LORI

    I almost bought this story, need more room on transport planes ect..Till the ASS made the comment about "this is not an amusment park" These are not prisioners in prison. These are our brave troops suffering away from home for us. I wish it where an amusment park for them. He acted like these kids don't deserve the pleasures!!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Terry

    Everyone wants to complain about conditions in a war zone without even being there. 31 months in Iraq over several deployments, the least of my worries was getting a royale with cheese from BK. Most of the lines were occupied by Army POG's that havent seen the outside of wire. If there really is anything to complain about lets start with the civilian contractors, the guy who supervises locals hired to pick up trash gets 80,000 a year to ride in a trash truck. People have posted their comments about military cooks, those have been done away with and are now civilian add to that they hire locals or TCN's (third country nationals) to serve and make food with some Army personnel walking around supervising them. Ask anyone who has been to Afghanistan or Iraq. If we really need to make cuts to save space and money, remove some of the civilian contractors that sit in a cozy air conditioned office sucking up the first $120,000 tax free pay and give that same job to one of the Service members trained to do that job. My current MOS costs the government about $100,000 if we were civilian world so why not use our skills we were trained to do. KBR has a stronger footprint in Iraq and Afghanistan making 80% more than the military and taking up just as much space if not more. We've participated in a lot of military operations in foreign lands without KBR and have survived. I say along with removing all the unnecessary things lets remove the contractors that do nothing more than supervise TCN's emptying dumpsters. The TCN's may work for pennies but the guy ensuring they are not stealing "valuables" from a dumpster is making the same as a CEO in a fortune 500 company.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Ray

    I do not understand if the Military has ever sit back and thinks before reacting to a situation. In this case, I would definately say there was no thought process behind this decision. Is a damn wopper going to be a cause for a lost war? We are loosing american soldiers every day supporting another country's lost cause. Vice spending the time thinking about these executive decisions spend time trying to get our soldiers home and let the country dig its self out of misery....

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

    Never had it so good back in times I was in a combat zone. We would send an individual out by air every couple of weeks or so to make a "gedunk" run that would take the individual making the journey the better part of two days to complete the trip. He would bring back basic items such as saltines and jam, pickled hearing for one guy, vienna sausages for another, etc., just the basics that we happened to crave at the time. After all, one guy couldn't bring back very much. I don't begrudge our military folks these welcome connections to home such as BK, Pizza Hut, DQ. To me, it's just another dumb ass decision by some high ranking official who has nothing better to do than be a turd!
    To the Idiot (#297 Dano) who said, "How about getting them nice fresh veggies, good cuts of meat, good bread, and other real food instead of that junk". YOU'RE AN IDIOT. It's not the "junk food" that's important to these folks, it's the CONNECTION to home and things familiar. You've obviously never been in harms way far from home !!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Gunner

    20 years I served in the Marines. Vietnam and other "skirmishes" always had a few luxuries. Maybe on occasion you might get a steak, cold beer, and maybe some R&R. I've worked in government for a total of 27 years in the finance field. Let me tell you that millions are wasted on nonessential items just because of a "you'd better use it or lose it" leadership mentality. Take the millions that are wasted stateside and provide the logistically support that is necessary to get the bare essentials to our troops on time and in the right quantities. This SgtMaj is a joke. Morale in combat can rise and fall on the smallest of decisions. Toilet paper, soap, cigs, candy and coffee. Don't have them your morale is shot. These fast food places, I assure, do more for morale that having enough MRE's on hand. Get a grip and ask those who are dodging the bullets and IED's what they need.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Wow

    All I can say is WOW. These men and women put their lives on the line and when it is their time for R&R in country I guess they have no place to go now. Well since these things are being taken away from them, then maybe it is time for the military to step back and think about the length of the tours. They probaby should be shortened now that that they can't get that little R&r in country. Congratulations to the top brass who made this idiotic decision. You clearly have to much time to suck on your Starbucks while reading the newspaper every morning.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Bob

    How much did it cost US tax payers to FLY a beat up burger trailer back to the US on a military transport jet? Why not just give the owner a check for the depreciated value of the trailer? Then donate the trailer to the Tallys and let them kill themselves with cholesterol and Type II diabetes.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  48. kathryn stables

    Oh Dear God! This is terrible. My son served to tours in Iraq. A lot of peeps were sending care packages often . Some poor soldiers had no one to send them anything. When they 1st went to Iraq they had MRI's no toilet facilities , latrines couldn't bathe. Their life is on the line dammit!!!!!!!!!!!!! LIKE A NAUGHTY CHILD BEING PNISHED.They don't know if they will have another tomorrow............... Sad ,things that will defer your mental status are off limits.Make me mad. We need to get T-shirts all kinds of things out to support BRING OUR TROOP'S HOME NOW!!!!!!!!!! WE WANT YOU BACK ASAP- WHENGIRL'S AND GUY'S COME FLYING HOME AGAIN HOORAY HOORAY.CAN some one on here get this going? I don't know how to go about it. Iam sure we would buy them if a comapny gets them out. Mother of ARMY SOLDIER. red bow's instead of yellow or maybe orange flouresant .

    March 25, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Keith from Wisconsin

    Get some cooks from these American businesses and add these things to the mess hall menu.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  50. pabloinbama

    I have to agree with many of the posters here. Our men and women in uniform ae risking thier lives everyday in a place or places where everyone wants them dead. At least let them have the luxury of being able to get a sub or a cheeseburger. That is hardly to be considered as placing western values on the arab people. That General is a total loon. I'd like to see him eating the same meals as the rank and file he commands.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  51. David

    I think the only opinions that matter here are those belonging to the guys whose lives are at risk. This smells like a PR disaster.....sort of along the lines of taxing tanning beds.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Michael

    It's likely more politics than a military decision. When was the last time a Democratic President actually liked, admired or properly supported the soldiers under their command?

    If we are not providing for the basic needs of our soldiers then it's to late to blame it on restraunts and icecream. I remember hearing stories from my Uncles who were in Vietnam that going to rear bases was something they looked forward to. Isn't it the same thing here? Don't these bases allow soldiers forward or otherwise an occasional taste of home? i think it's a bad decision made by someone who said, They're in a war, why do they deserve luxuries? To bad our soldiers are not sick illegal immegrants, they might get more attention from the Democrats if they were.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  53. American Militant

    The only people getting the thick, meaty shaft on this one are my combat arms brethren. For the support elements that never or rarely leave the wire; what will you do now!? Is it fair to say you "FOBbits" screwed this up for everyone? I'd say there is a high probability.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  54. patrick

    This SGM is no different then all the sorry &&& that should be force to retire. You know serving in the military you will always find some garbage that needs to be replaced. You wonder why they say the officers are so smart well here is your example.I want to say to the soldiers who I will forever admire for putting up with this kind of leadership garbage, that change is coming. I'm just so glad I retired and to all CSM, and SGM KIss.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Grateful American

    They should have almost anything they darn-well want!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Peter E

    This country is going to hell in a handbasket. We ask these young men and women to do something the rest of us don't have the balls to do. The least we can do is let them enjoy their "down time", what little there is of it. These folks are under a level of stress the rest of us can't begin to comprehend. This really sucks. Its not right.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  57. MJ

    This is just ridiculous! Why not give our Soldiers a small treat to remind them of home? Is the Government now worried about the calories they consume? Give our Men and Women who serve our Country the right to a few pleasures. I'm sure a cup of coffee will not go down as easy. As a Mother of career Navy Senior Chief I think this absurd!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Prome

    Personally I think this is a good decision. There are other luxeries that they have and it is a war zone. Think of our older Vets who had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING and still got the job done. The military is nothing like it used to be. Your kids signed up for war/combat shut up and let them be men/women. They will be just fine.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  59. William Blake

    The beatings will continue until morale improves.
    Old Bill

    March 25, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Keith from Wisconsin

    Sorry Adoplh but could you please stop shooting on Normandy Beach for 15 minutes so we can refresh the sunscreen and refill the Margaritas!

    Contrary to other posts this is a voulenteer group and as John Wayne said War is Hell. Personally I think first run movies and scantily clad USO shows were part of the war in Europe so that part can stay

    March 25, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Bob

    This sounds like a PC decision that was made to avoid offending Afghanis somehow. It's a bad decision that will eventually be changed. Ridiculous. These troops deserve to have some of the tastes and sounds of home as long as we are asking them to put their lives on the line. If troops aren't getting the supplies they need at the front line, whoever is in charge needs to be fired, rather than letting them blame base vendors for taking up too much space.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Izzy

    It's really unfortunate that we would lose these very much appreciated luxuries. I'm not real sure that the concern here is focus on the war because overall, in my experience, a lot of work is being done and our folks appear to be highly motivated despite recent changes having a negative impact on morale. Hopefully our men and women continue to do what they're doing, shrug this one off and press forward.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  63. M

    I don't know if BK and Dairy Queen are the right kind of "luxuries" that should be on a military base, but movies definitely should stay. Maybe more access to calling home makes up for it?

    March 25, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Jeff


    You're missing the point. There is no reason in the world this country can't supply those people, as well as let some soldiers watch a movie. Give me one reason this shouldn't be easily accomplished.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Bill

    Well having been a Viet Nam Veteran, we did not have the MCD, BK, etc... in the War Zones either. We had coffee, cigarettes, booze, and drugs (prescribed and off the black market), plenty of drugs. We had no moral problem because there was no moral and we did not give a a crap about anything but blowing up the enemy, anyone not in US uniform. We were all depressed, stoned, and took our mental problems home with us years later. Welcome to the old military guys. Why are the troops fighting so much on the ground when we supposingly have all these high tech weapons that the enemy can be taken out from the air. Your not in an ammusement park, they are in a political ballpark with some goofy generals. I thought Rumsfield was bad.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Todd Thompson, USAF, MSgt (ret)

    Sgt. Maj. Michael T. Hall is the authority for this? Right. The chief enlisted guy is the decision authority.....not really, just the mouth piece. Do they understand what they are saying, that up until now the war has been conducted in an amusement park? I'm not amused, nor are others that would enjoy one of a very few pleasures while stuck in hell.

    Go to his hootch and see what he gets, probably looks like that Col's trailer at the opening scene of Apocolypse Now movie. He's also violating OPSEC by disclosing he hasn't been able to do his primary mission of suppling bullets-food-and-water to his troops. Wonder what excuse will be given next. Hope he gets his 3rd Star real soon.

    These are the same kind of decisions where the Army was worried they would shoot the Air Force members because they would wear civilian clothing when off duty. No kidding, I watched an Army Col. and a USAF Col. go toe to toe arguing on this one in Bosnia. The USAF Col. ended by saiding they'd shoot back....................

    March 25, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Jared

    having been to Bagram myself before i retired, all i can say is that this is probably the worst command decision i have ever heard of. Let's see, they are already missing home and miserable, so why don't we turn it up a knotch and really make it suck for them. Take away anything that is good, and make it truly a sh*t hole for them

    March 25, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Megan Lewis

    It sounds like CSM Hall removed everything he was not interested in but kept his precious coffee.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Pat Hendrickson

    Well If they're going to take away those creature comforts from our folks serving and protecting us then I would like to see "all" creature comforts removed from our prisons.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Jeff

    >I'm sorry this is rediculous. My husband was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan 3 times. >We have lived through it. He never would have had time to see a movie. He was >infantry. Having movies is unfair to the soldiers who are unable to enjoy there >ammenities due to their job.

    You can't be serious.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  71. ManNBlue

    You know I read through many of these replies but I couldn't get through all of them. I am currently in Kandahar deployed with the Air Force. Everyone is talking about the internet and phone capabilities. One thing that is never mentioned is that we have to PAY for the INTERNET. The price for the internet at the four seasons is 35 or 40 dollars for six hours of internet time. So if they increase the internet around here are we going to have to pay double for that too? And on the idea of BK and Pizza Hut around here. It isn't the greatest. I had a whopper the other day. It was a piece of hamburger meat on a bun with ketchup, mayo, and that was about it. No veggies because they didn't have any. It isn't the whopper that you all are thinking about that you can get at your local BK. The pizza is ok but you pay $9.00 for a 6 inch pizza. Now tell me who is funding what around here. Where I am at on the base we can't even get the internet out here so we had to buy our own. An officer that we work for paid with his own credit card over $10K for four months of satellite internet service for us. We of course paid him back at a cost of just under $50 per month per person. Now even that is alot of money but it is a WHOLE BUNCH better than what you can get at the four seasons. Does it suck being here you bet. The slop the serve us at the DFAC (Chow Hall) now gets old in a hurry. They do have Surf and Turf every friday so you can go down and have a boot tough steak and over cooked crab legs so with that why would anyone want to leave this place?

    March 25, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Ralph

    Being an infantry marine who served in Fallujah I can't tell you how annoying it was to come back to base after 4-5 days see all the non-grunts getting to enjoy these luxuries everyday, Baskin robbins icecream everynight, while we are out on patrol eating MRE's... I say this is great! at least the ground pounders won't feel so left out anymore!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Really!!!

    More room? these fast food spots occupy a space about 12 by 12 or smaller and the locals run it. how will this be affecting the population growth. I bet the idea of making more money is causing this, because we dont eat in the DFAC its causing this idea. No fast food, more DFAC users, demand increases/ profits grow, not for us in the war, only the people who profits from the war. I thought they cared about us, but we will adapt and when we complete our missions they would say its there policies entertained the victory. We are soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines. We will adapt, but we will miss the true symbol of freedom and america-the ability to have what we want.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Jeff

    Well no one wants the forward forces to be deprived of the essentials. But doesn't it seem like with a nation like ours, we can supply all of it? I can actually understand taking out something big and nonessential like a Burger King, assuming good and healthy food is available in the cafeteria. But movies? For crying out loud, that can be delivered digitally, and the production companies should be letting them watch for free anyway. There's no excuse for taking that away, wtf?

    March 25, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Robert Kent

    Keep the restaurants, but let the the companies pay the cost. They can afford it.

    Burger King, are you listening? Charge an extra nickle for a Whopper in the states and use that to fund the base restaurants.

    I'll bet the top brass are still getting their steak dinners while the scum at the bottom get their beans. Why would anyone want to join the service to put up with crap like this?

    March 25, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  76. bored

    I really dont care about soldiers or their luxuries I dont care about this war or the outcome im just very truly bored these soldiers need to stop crying and be soldiers

    March 25, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Jray

    So this is what the Command Sergeant Major is spending his time on and worrying about?? If these FOB's don't have food and water why don't you stop bloging, get off your computer, and fix it? Use your leadership position to fix problems not create new ones. I've been in the military for 17+ years and counting and can tell you with certainty that removing the BK, or DQ has nothing to do with food and water, but nice try.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  78. Allen

    This administration is a joke! Obama is a radical who loathes the military. He has no care and should not have been elected Commander in Chief! Isn't that obvious yet? Obama is a follower of Reverand Wright for the last 20 years, his antire adult life. What should we have expected?

    March 25, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  79. irishvet

    wah wah wah. What a bunch of cry babies. the sergeant major is right . it is a war zone not an amusement park. no wonder we cant find Osama bin Laden

    March 25, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  80. Jessica

    These troops fight in a hellish warzone everyday and we are taking away some of the few famiarities they have from home? While at the same time Los Angeles political officials refuse to take paycuts? Where the hell is the justice in that?

    March 25, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  81. VeteranX3Tours

    This SGM Hall is so out of touch with the troops but I'm sure it wasn't his command decision. What are the things that affect morale (for those of you who have been to an NCO promotion board)? I would much rather fund these things for our troops rather than universal healthcare, bank and automotive bailouts, etc... Way to go military leadership, you got another one wrong.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  82. Suze

    The guys that really need the fast food and movies are the guys behind the wire. And they never get back to base to use them. The guys who spend their deployment on base are the ones sitting in offices. They probably do not need more fast food.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  83. Iraq Vet

    You're right CSM. It is combat, not an amusement park. And no one needs to be reminded of that less than the soldiers that you just screwed out of a little piece of home. If you can't wrap your mind around the idea that soldiers need time to relax and decompress in and amongst all the other chaos that they're put through on any given day then maybe you ought to just go back to dealing with Special Ops guys. Clearly your leadership style doesn't translate well outside of the Infantry/Ranger/Special Ops community.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  84. G.A. David

    Maybe the best thing for our entire military structure would be to get rid of the mini malls and fast food restaurants at all the bases. Stateside, world wide, especially in the Pentagon because they are too much of a distraction to the business of WAR. You could save millions of dollars by closing everything in the lower level of the Pentagon and it would never be missed. If the wheels at the DoD want a coffee or a burger, sent their butts to Georgetown or DC and don't take up valuable space on a military post. The only thing esential in the lower level of the Pentagon is the subway station and the restrooms.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  85. K

    My husband is currently over in Afghanistan and trust me... he does not think he is at an amusement park! Let them enjoy a few nice things because they work 18+ hour days, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Let them have a break!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Kelly

    This is ridiculous and I am feeling kind of angry about it.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  87. Military Veteran

    That's CRAP! You take away these airmen, soldiers, marines, etc., from their families for months and years (for some) and they get a FEW NICE reminders of "home" and then you want to take it away from them. Let's just crap all over them because in effect, that's what taking this away is doing. They work SOOO hard day in and day out and OMG–nope–let's screw them again. They are not supposed to have ANY "comforts" there at all. It's those little things that HELP with morale and keep them going. Hitting the gym (when you're dead tired) and calling home more (making it worse cuz you miss them even more) does NOT make up for the little comforts, such as a REAL burger or DQ ice cream. What a load of CRAP!!! Give it back to them! They deserve those LITTLE things and SOOO much more!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  88. Veteran

    @356 – Yes, we have internet access, and yes, we contact our families... but would I rather eat a whopper than an MRE or some mush from the hall? Hell yeah. Get a grip with your garbage slinging "tax-wasting" mouth and let us do what we were sent here to do, and try to make the most of it. You're welcome, you ungrateful hater.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Troy

    Will the Air Force still have HBO or will they receive extra hardship pay now for having even that removed 🙂 (Just kidding) As a former Marine and the father of one who is deploying to Afghanistan, I can see the logic of this decision, but also know how much of a moral booster having real food is when you get the chance. I understand they need to use the space to re-supply the additional troops, but the movies should not take up that much space.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  90. DavidG

    It is unfortunate that some of the luxuries are being eliminated, but I agree it is a war zone, and if it is conflicting with supplying the troops with bullets I am sure the soliders would choose ammunition over ice cream, in most cases.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  91. Ray Hill

    This CSM is way off base by taking away the limited to no items our field force has. It is time for this political CSM to Do us all a Favor and Retire, Go Home. It's Obvious that he is clueless about Moral and Support.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  92. Doug

    Soldiers need to buck up. You volunteered,You raised your right hand and took an oath, and, You knew what the risks of being deployed were. Stop whining Cupcakes!!! Our TF spent a year in Iraq. Our FOB did not have any of those OCONUS ameniities. We made it without any MORALE issues.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  93. Navy Corpsman

    I could do without the BK, DQ, and the rest of the fast food, however taking away the movies and other small luxuries is the worst command decision of this entire thing. When I was deployed this was one of the very few things we had that kept us going. You are doing a mind numbing job that constantly tests your resolve in every which way imaginable, something as simple as a 2 hour movie before racking up for the night is what kept me sane most of the time. Next you are going to hear them talk about taking away phone calls back home to family becuase phone cards cost too much money as well.

    You can take away my hamburgers but let me keep my entertaiment.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  94. V. Clausewitz

    How bought we keep BK and DQ here, and send the Taliban across the pond to start cutting off the heads of the clueless liberals who are ruining our country.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  95. Diane Jones

    OMG, let's just pull our troops out and bring them home. I'm sure the General is enjoying his gourmet mill in the Officers mess as his aids help clean his home and iron his uniform

    March 25, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  96. PJB

    As a Iraq War veteran and Combat Arms soldier I find it hilarious that the military promotes a standard of fitness yet on every base in the US, abroad and in the warzone you find such restaurants as BK, DQ, PH. How about some nice healthy establishments like Subway or Froots? Maybe something to keep our Soldiers, Marines and Airmen thin and healthy. I was in an outpost for a year and never once ate or had the opportunity to eat at BK or DQ. There is no need for fast food chains in a warzone. There are plenty of comforts to accomodate our soldier other than crappy burgers and ice cream

    March 25, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  97. JLM

    Boo HOO....We are paying them to do the JOB they took on and that at this time is figthing a war....I bet the WW2 vets would have loved to have some good ole home cooking in the freezing battle zone..they took off their socks boild them and drank the broth...then put the socks back on... When we put the draft back in and folks are forced to fight Bushes war then ya say ya want fries with that sir mam... ..good job
    Sgt. Maj. Michael T. Hall

    March 25, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  98. cf

    I think the least we can do is supply our troops with little "touches from home" such as these. They work hard, are under unimaginable stress, they deserve to unwind with a movie and burger & chocolate shake. So long as it's not interferring with essentials like armor, intelligence, and shelter, what's the issue? I can't imagine being stationed in a hell-hole like Irag and only having disgusting local food to eat and no entertainment to let off steam with.

    March 25, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  99. Southernviper

    Are burgers more expensive than bullets? It blows my mind how anybody could propose eliminating some things that would make the lives of our troops a little bearable before they set out on missions not knowing if they are going to live or die. And how does burger joints equate to amusement parks? Are these establishments offering rides or free toys. The imagination of those goof balls who proposed such a dumb thing should have their heads examined. Too much poppy seeds from the Taliban stash, maybe? Or, they may just be baiting Burger King for free fries?

    March 25, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  100. Doug

    Obviously – this is NOT a CSM decision! This belows to some zero who did not get his way – thus the consequence to his troops!

    March 25, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
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