As of June 1, Camp Leatherneck in southwestern Afghanistan will close its 24-hour sandwich bar and stop producing the hot meals traditionally offered during the midnight-ration service. According to NBC News, Marine Corps lieutenant colonel Cliff Gilmore explained that the scaling down of services will allow for food workers to return home “before the people who provide the security for those services.”
Rather than offering a hot meal to troops beginning or ending their shifts at midnight, the base will now only provide a “Meal, Ready to Eat,” known as an MRE. These pre-packaged meals supply the necessary calories to soldiers but aren’t considered terribly good for morale. Babette Maxwell, founder of Military Spouse, said that these changes in dining services will deprive Marines of the “social sustenance” that comes from sitting down to midnight rations together.
Gilmore wrote that the reduction in hot meals is “a natural outcome of the drawdown process unrelated to sequestration or the ongoing going budget issues,” but Marines and their family members believe that cuts should be made in other areas instead of imposing a limited menu on hungry, hard-working soldiers.