From Marine Corps Times:

More than 50 AAFES (Army and Air Force Exchange Service) concessions serving U.S. troops in Afghanistan will be closed within 90 days under an order issued Feb. 5 by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in that war zone.  These include popular fast-food outlets like Burger King, Popeyes and Taco Bell, as well as jewelry stores, souvenir stores and new car sales outlets.

“MWR (morale, welfare and recreation) programs across the theater should be limited in scope and tailored for an expeditionary force,” McChrystal said in his order. “MWR should never be the distracter that changes the focus of the mission.”

Solomon from SNAFU! and I, discussed this a bit, and here is his last comment:

I don’t think its the General trying to punish anyone, I just think he’s trying to make sure that the guys in the rear face a little of the hardships that the guys in the boonies face during a whole tour.

I decided I would post my response below, here on my blog:

I know what you are saying Solomon.  I just think you gotta give these guys something to look forward to when they get back to base.  If you make being on base equally as uncomfortable as outside the wire (except for being shot at), It seems to me that morale will suffer greatly, not improve.  I can’t help but feel guilty back here at home, knowing that soldiers are getting even more taken away from them, when they already have very little.

They are already far away from their friends, family, and all the comforts of home.  Risking their lives on a daily basis for surprisingly little pay, and they can’t even enjoy a burger or some fried chicken during their down time?

I understand the possibility of getting “Fat and happy” exists, like you said in your article.  But why punish the soldiers that don’t abuse their privileges?

If you ask me, those guys already sacrifice enough.  We need to do everything possible to keep them motivated.

From talking to you before in email, I know your background enables you to speak with a lot more authority on this topic than myself.  I am interested to hear what you have to say back to my response.

Marine Corps Times Article – HERE

Solomon’s original post on his military blog SNAFU! – HERE


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For those not familiar with the terminology…


Geardo – One who spends at least 50% of each paycheck (before taxes) on the latest & greatest gear, just to have the latest and greatest gear, regardless of whether or not that gear will actually help the wearer preform his/her duties.

FOB (Forward Operating Base) – A secured forward position that is used to support tactical operations. A FOB may or may not contain an airfield, hospital, or other facilities. – wiki

S.A.W. (Squad Automatic Weapon) – A weapon designed to give infantry squads or sections a compact and mobile source of suppressive fire. SAWs are usually equipped with a bipod for stabilization and fire the same cartridge as the assault rifles carried by other members of the unit.  The M249 SAW that is currently in use by the U.S. is getting ready to be replaced.  Rumor has it that the H&K IAR is the replacement, although I have heard this is false and they haven’t actually won the contract yet (they are just the front runner)… we will see.

ACU (Army Combat Uniform) – The current combat uniform worn by the U.S. Army.  Has a distinct new camouflage pattern. – wiki