September 10th, 2010
10:35 AM ET

U.S. troops in Afghanistan may get back their fast food

Concessions were banned on bases at one point because they took up space for supplies.

U.S. troops in Afghanistan may soon get their burgers back.

Army Command Sgt. Maj. Marvin Hill, who took over as the senior non-commissioned officer in Afghanistan this month, told Stars and Stripes on Thursday that he was reversing a ban on fast food concessions such as Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken that had been instituted earlier this year.

“For troops to be able to go and grab a burger or a piece of chicken or whatever, I don’t really think it’s that bad,” Hill told Stars and Stripes.

The concessions ban had been put in place by Gen. Stanley McChrystal in February as the military was boosting its troop strength in Afghanistan. McChrystal said the concessions took up space on bases and in supply lines.

“This is a war zone - not an amusement park,” McChrystal’s senior NCO, Sgt. Maj. Michael Hall, said at the time.

But when Gen. David Petraeus took over command in Afghanistan during the summer, he allowed a review of the fast-food policy.

Hill told Stars and Stripes he decided to lift the ban after consulting with other senior noncommissioned officers.

In a report on the blog of the International Security Assistant Force Afghanistan, Hill stressed the role the restaurants play in the military’s mission.

“Not one Burger King or Taco Bell can replace the importance of believing in the mission and providing outstanding leadership. It just enhances what they already have,” he said.

Individual base commanders will have final say on whether the restaurants can open on their installation, Hill said.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Military
soundoff (274 Responses)
  1. daryl

    You're killing people for a living and want access to a burger so you can feel "normal?" There aren't words to effectively describe the completely self centered and fear bound lack of consciousness which brings all of this stupidity to the planet.

    September 10, 2010 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Harold Bissonette (pronounced Bissonay)

    What the heck ever happened to hand peeled potatoes and c-rations?

    September 10, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Willie

    Keep the Burger King here and bring the troops back home for "all you can eat Whoppers!"

    September 10, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tom

    Heck...this helps out all the FOBBIT's out there...McCrystal was correct to remove them. Plenty of food in the DH, don't need the fast food...

    Chuck Norris, HUA!!!

    September 10, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Big T

    "most of these grunts joined the army because they had nothing else to do."

    Not true by a long shot. Did you know Wal-Mart right here in the USA employees around 1.5 million people. That just as many and some times more people then serve active and reserve counting all branches of the US military. (1.4-1.5 at any given time)

    It is not easy to join any branch right now less then %30 of the US population are even qualified to join and of that around %3 put on a uniform.

    If you want to join the Navy you better score above a 50 on the ASVAB or your going to be waiting a few months for job. Even people who score above a 50 even 80s are waiting for jobs to open.

    BTW It was great being able to get a Big Mac over there great for your moral.

    September 10, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. philipe12

    We enjjoy fast food from timt to time, and I'm sure those of US over there do as well. So where's the beef?

    September 11, 2010 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
  7. Bill Melater

    You will fight for der Fuhrer! And you will eat what you are given and like it! Heil Obama!

    September 11, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Former Sailor, Current Soldier

    @john smith
    If you think most of us 'grunts' joined the Army because we had nothing to do, you definitely need a check on the open ice. I served 5 years in the Navy, and I'm on my 2nd year in the Army to make sure my family has the benefits that the civillian market cannot supply. The military has been the most rewarding job I've ever had, and I've been working since I was 14. Nothing grinds my gears more than some jack@ss that has never served make a comment such as yours. Have you ever gone more than a couple of days without a shower? A month? 3 months? I know I have. I know the media has protrayed our lives as being 'cushy' and vets of previous wars have made comments on how easy we have it, but I assure you it's definitely not as easy as you have it sitting behind your keyboard making inane comments that you have no knowledge about. I'm currently in Afghanistan, the last time I saw my wife was the morning of January 18, 2010. When was the last time you saw your family?

    September 11, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. corpsman in afg

    there is no need for fast food out in afghanistan...isn't it enough that we can get as much food (to include burgers, ice cream, pizza, etc.) as we can eat at the chow hall. maybe chow hall is the wrong word, buffet would be more accurate. i have seen more than my share of fellow overweight service members who only seem to gain weight in the 100+ degree weather. in my opinion, instead of fast food vendors, why not build more gyms?

    September 12, 2010 at 3:03 am | Report abuse |
  10. Nancy

    It's a good thing we have all those brave soldiers to defend us! I am the very proud mother of a soldier. He is currently home on 2 week leave from Afghanistan. The fast food rest. are a great thing for moral. I can't seem to send him enough food and he is not over weight. He tried an Afghan rest. and was sick for days. No one should say any of our soldiers have no value! The truth is they are some of the most valued citizens of the US.

    September 12, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MamasAngels

    As a mother of a Marine, let me just say this... If our Sons and Daughters are willing to serve and sacrifice their all.. then the least we can do is let them have a little taste of home! For everyone complaining about their taxpayer dollars being wasted on fast food for our armed forces, let me say this... I'd much rather have my tax dollars go to that than in the pockets of corrupt politicians and other needless government programs!

    September 13, 2010 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  12. Dep Again

    I have served 6 months in Desert Storm, 6 months in Somalia, 38 months in Iraq, and 12 months now in Afghanistan with 1 more to go. You mean to tell me that I (We) don't deserve to enjoy the very freedom that we are fighting for? It's alright for anyone in the United States to enjoy their BK and such, but we can not have the freedom to enjoy the same? Yes, it brings a taste of home, gives us some sort of meal when we miss the dining facility and boosts our morale. But, most of all it is the freedom of being able to have it that is most enjoyable and reminds us of what we are fighting for. Secondly, MRE's are designed with up to 2800 calories each meal to give the Soldier enough energy to sweat and work off with the high intense missions we work around the clock. If I remember correctly, a whopper with cheese only has about 800 calories. I don't see the issue with the health being I am going to work it off in a couple hours anyways. The dining facilities to give an example, store their breakfast sausage in pans filled with grease to keep them from drying out before their served. Spray bottles of of grease are sprayed excessively on the grill to where the supposedly healthy grilled chicken breast has even been soaked with it. Is that any different? The fact is, unless you have run a mile in a Soldiers boots, you can effectively comment negatively on what we should or shouldn't have. And those who have or are serving, whether you think it is right or wrong to have these comodities is the fact you have the right to either patronize them or not. But, the freedom is there, which we all fight for. I thank all my brothers and sisters in arms for helping me support and defend our country and our way of life.

    September 15, 2010 at 5:07 am | Report abuse |
  13. CPT Smith

    As someone who recently returned from Iraq, when you've had a terrible day, you're missing your loved ones, and you're down and out, you have no idea what a cheeseburger or taco from these places can do to make you feel a little bit better about where you are. The few minutes that it takes to eat it makes you feel like you're at home for a little while, even if it is just a little while.

    September 16, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  14. Wakanse

    Atleast give them buffalo meat burgers (Heart healthy lean protein) whole grain buns and organic ketchup/mustard none of that high fructose or processed crud. Eating healthy is delicious!

    September 10, 2010 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  15. The_Mick

    The psychological stress of dealing with a no-front war is intense and psychologists have recommended bases that are essentially safe "get aways" for troops to relieve mental stress. So perhaps fast food, video games, NFL broadcasts, etc. are doing much more good for our troops than is generally realized. My nephew returned from 18 months in Iraq just before the "Awakening" cut down on violence and it took him a couple years to get himself mentally right -and Bush's trimming of veteran's benefits meant he had to do it pretty much on his own dime, even to the point of traveling from Maine to Boston, renting a hotel room at his own expense, and then being treated as an outpatient at a veterans hospital. Thank God his wife was also an Army veteran and helped him cope. We Americans like to bumper-sticker our cars and put our hands over our hearts and say, "We honor our troops," but we really don't want to be taxed 1 extra cent so we look away when the government tosses them away like empty soda cans when we don't need them anymore. So if these amenities can help some of our boys and girls come back in better mental shape, more power to them!

    September 10, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
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