By Jen Kastner
ODESSA- An Odessa man at a military camp in Afghanistan reports the troops working around him no longer have access to a hot breakfast. He's now asking West Texans send over care packages full of oatmeal and other breakfast foods.
The news has outraged several people around the Basin who say the U.S. government should be treating servicemen and women with better care.
Odessan Dustin Brown is a civilian pilot at the base in Sharana, in eastern Afghanistan. On Monday night, his Facebook post read that the camp is no longer serving breakfast.
Kim Gulley of Odessa grew up with Brown. They graduated together from Odessa High School. When Gulley read the Facebook post, she couldn't figure out if she was sad or just mad. Her family and friends were equally confused.
"I think people are shocked more than anything. We're always taught that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and now their [hot breakfast] is being cut. They're 'out there' 24/7. Their shifts never really ends,' Gulley said.
After a series of phone calls and e-mails to the U.S. government, NewsWest 9 eventually got some answers. The Department of Defense confirms that some of the hot meals offered at camps throughout Afghanistan, including the one at Sharana, have been suspended.
Commander Bill Speaks is the Department of Defense Press Officer for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He says, "In specific installations that are due to be closed or transferred to the Afghan National Security Forces in the coming weeks, meals such as breakfast and the midnight meal have changed from a prepared meal to an MRE or a 'meal ready to eat'."
We're told the change in service has nothing to do with any military spending cuts.
Troops and civilians will have access to a full service hot meal during lunch and dinner, but during the midnight and morning hours, only cold snack-type foods will be available.
We ask Speaks, "After dinner and until lunch the next day, you can't get a hot meal?" He explained that we were correct.
Gulley and other West Texans are now gathering together breakfast foods like instant oatmeal to send overseas in care packages.
HOW TO DONATE:
Breakfast donations can be dropped off locally at:
Lubrication Services, Inc.
3762 Kermit Highway, Odessa, Texas