The deadline for ISAF personnel to depart Afghanistan is allegedly 31 DEC 14. As the drawdown gathers steam, a lot of amenities currently available to deployed troops will disappear (including a few that probably never needed to be there in the first place). Ethnic food, food specialty nights, some hot chow meals entirely - it's all slowly going away. You have no doubt seen the outraged posts and comments on social media from people whose idea of supporting the troops is sharing a picture or someone else's outraged post, comment or picture about our troops having to miss meals - an inaccuracy, in large part, because the meals in question aren't being denied, they are being replaced with MREs or UGRs.
Apparently not everyone understands the concept of "tooth to tail".
"Ye Gods. They gave a war and garrison came." Nate M.In any case, MREs will be coming back in a larger numbers than deployed troops have seen in recent years. Part of this is due to an infrastructure that allows hot chow to be served with far greater frequency than any previous war in history. Part of it is because MREs are actually more expensive than a number of other options, including among other things boxed nasties. This is euphemistically referred to as returning to "expeditionary standards" and unfortunately it's a necessary part of the drawdown. It will begin in the more outlying locations (those that had any amenities in the first place) and will slowly affect larger and larger installations. Presumably they'll eventually pull out the ice cream stands and burger huts too.
"You're not going to believe this s&!t Dave. Less than forty minutes from where we were eating MREs and showering once a week they had surf and turf night every Friday. Steak and lobster. Once a week. We were glad to get boxes of frozen corndogs. It's like two different worlds." Chad G.
The original article refers to as MREs as "dreaded". I wasn't sure that was a completely accurate term..then I remembered the old egg and cheese omelet packages (not the more recent #4s, the older ones) and thought...maybe dreaded isn't such a bad word after all.
Brig. Gen. Steven Shapiro advises the hot food reductions must be in place by 01 October.
(On an only vaguely related note, this will make troops feel better: http://www.duffelblog.com/2013/03/military-quietly-phasing-out-horse-meat-mres/)