Army Serving MRE’s Instead of Hot Cooked Breakfasts to Troops in Afghanistan-Truth!

Summary of eRumor:

Rumors are circulating social media like Facebook and Twitter that allege that, owing to cutbacks, the U.S. Army has ceased serving hot breakfasts to service personnel in Afghanistan.

The Truth:

The U.S. Army is serving what they call MRE’s or Meal Ready to Eat to servicemen in Afghanistan instead of late night meals and breakfasts.  This according to a January 17, 2013 press release by U.S. Congressman Bruce Braley (D-IA) who said, “I am troubled that the Army would deny any deployed troops three meals per day, regardless of force size.”

The press release said that lunch and dinner are still served hot to base company and that “most dining facilities have take-away items like cereal, granola, energy bars, milk, juice, fruit, etc. for supplemental snacking.”   The 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Commander, Colonel Joseph Wawro, said, “This has absolutely nothing to do with the national budget and everything to do with our responsible reduction of forces.”

It is doubtful that the dietary change might be considered depriving any meals to our warriors in the field. The MRE’s were described in the press release to be packed with calories and nutrition.

According to the United States Armed Forces, a MRE provides an average of 1,250 calories (13 percent protein, 36 percent fat, and 51 percent carbohydrates) and one-third of the Military Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamins and minerals. It includes the following items:

Entree – the main course, such as spaghetti or beef stew
Side dish – rice, corn, fruit, or mashed potatoes, etc.
Cracker or bread
Spread – peanut butter, jelly, or cheese spread
Dessert – cookies or pound cakes
Candy – M&Ms, Skittles, or Tootsie Rolls
Beverages – Gatorade-like mixes, cocoa, dairy shakes, coffee, tea
Hot sauce or seasoning – in some MREs
Flameless Ration Heater – to heat the entree
Accessories – spoon, matches, creamer, sugar, salt, chewing gum, toilet paper, etc.

updated 02/02/13

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

The Army has stopped serving cooked breakfasts to some of the U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan as part of its drawdown, a move that prompted troops to write home asking their families and friends to send care packages with cereal, breakfast bars and other foods.

The Army told the Washington Guardian the current cutbacks began Jan. 1, and affect about 2,700 soldiers deployed in forward operating bases in more remote areas of Afghanistan.

The Washington Guardian reported earlier this month that the current budget crisis in Congress prompted Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to write a memo order preparations for sweeping budget cuts across all military programs to begin as early as next month.

Officials stressed other comforts at the forward operating bases may also soon be reduced, such as laundry and recreation, as officials look for other ways to reduce the American footprint in advance of departing the country.

They said the meal cutbacks are currently affecting forward operating bases in more remote areas of Afghanistan and not affecting the main American bases in Kabul and Kandahar.