The midnight ration service — known there as “midrats" — supplies breakfast to Marines on midnight-to-noon shifts and dinner to Marines who are ending noon-to-midnight work periods. It's described as one of the few times the Marines at Leatherneck can be together in one place.
The base, which is located in Afghanistan’s southwestern Helmand Province, flanked by Iran and Pakistan, also will remove its 24-hour sandwich bar. While no Marine at Camp Leatherneck agreed to speak on the record, many are privately angry about the hit on base morale.
"This boils my skin. One of my entire shifts will go 6.5 hours without a meal. If we need to cut back on money I could come up with 100 other places,” one Leatherneck-based Marine wrote in an email this week to his wife and shared with NBC News. (The Marine declined to speak on the record.) “Instead, we will target the biggest contributor to morale. I must be losing my mind. What is our senior leadership thinking? I just got back from flying my ass off and in a few days, I will not have a meal to replenish me after being away for over 9 hours.”
“The fact is our force in Afghanistan is shrinking fast and all the creature comforts and services deployed military-members have grown accustomed to over the past decade are going to be reduced," A leading officer Gilmore wrote in an email to NBC News.
Back home, spouses and friends of the troops in Afghanistan are criticizing the loss of hot meals as a poor logistical choice that will impact the service members' overall nutrition, energy and spirits.
This same officer Officer Gilmore described cooked-meal reduction as part of a larger effort to “become increasingly austere” as the force shrinks, but he said the base members will not face an unhealthy calorie shortage. “The Marines here at Leatherneck may have to endure the monotony of a limited menu but they will not suffer from malnutrition unless they choose not to eat,” Gilmore callously said. At home, some military family members nonetheless called the change a mistake. The squeeze is tightening on US imperialism. This cutting of hot meals for its military who are fighting abroad for the US corporations is bringing closer the day when the US working class and the ranks of the US military will step up and fight for their own independent interests not the interests of the these profit addicted corporations.