I’m a disabled [Army] veteran and a civilian contractor serving in Afghanistan.

I’ve noticed a lot of soldiers who can’t possibly meet height and weight standards. I still hit the gym regularly, despite my physical limitations. Yet, I appear to be in far greater shape than most soldiers.

I just left a dining facility and here is what I saw: The mainline food, which is usually the same starchy foods served a different way every meal, is OK if you’re diligent, choose healthy foods, use the salad bar and/or eat fruit. But the additional stuff. …

I mentally inventoried: three kinds of doughnuts (Is that a jelly doughnut, Private Pyle?), four kinds of cake, five flavors of ice cream and all toppings, three kinds of pie, three kinds of muffins, sugary cereals, five types of cookies, two kinds of Pop-Tarts, every drink in the cooler besides water and milk has sugar, three kinds of chips, four types of hot dessert like cobblers, on top of the prepacked stuff. … I think I gained five pounds just having typed all that!

This food is in direct conflict with what we preach and teach. It’s like telling children “Don’t smoke!” while you puff away, or urging them “Don’t do drugs!” while you’re stoned. We’ve been “forcing” our soldiers into physical training since they joined, but we’ve never “forced” them to eat right. Yes, soldiers are adults and can eat what they wish, but this isn’t helping matters. The chow halls are filled with unhealthy food and next-to-no good-options, besides a few types of fruit.

You can’t “insist” unless you “assist” in any task. This situation is akin to someone serving cocktails at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

Brian M. AlveyForward Operating Base Fenty, Afghanistan

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