Sunday, October 14, 2007

At the DFAC

Since nothing much is going on, I decided to write about what us Taji-confined soldiers truly cherish most: the Dining Facility (DFAC, Armyspeak for mess hall). Conveniently situated only one mile from our living area, the DFAC is well worth the trudge through the heat, dusty parking lots, and PortaPotty-induced olfactory horrors that make Camp Taji the wonderful place I already know it to be.

I spend about 2 hours a day at the mess hall so I wanted to write a little bit about it. The Taji DFAC looks nothing like the stereotypical mess hall. It is well-lit, clean, offers a great selection of foods, and is run by civilian contractors. I have to hand it to Gulf Catering, the contractor who runs our mess hall. Their dozens of Indian servers do a really good job and are very nice to us troops coming through the lines. On the days the DFAC serves chicken or beef curry, you’ll see a line of Indian workers wrapped around the side of the mess hall. That’s how I know its good curry. Their company is a subcontractor for KBR, which is a subsidiary of Halliburton, Dick Cheney’s old firm. Evidently, our Vice President is very good at contracting things out, just as he contracted out his responsibility to serve in the Vietnam War to less fortunate Americans by obtaining five draft deferments.

At breakfast, I am put in the enviable position of deciding amongst a made-to-order omelet, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, hash browns, grits, French toast, pancakes, and oatmeal. Just when I think I’ve seen enough food to last me all day, there is the cereal table. Alongside the blander Cheerios and Special K boxes are the more decadent cereals like Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms, and Cocoa Puffs, treats my Mom never let me touch. Because she is now 10,000 miles away, I’m already starting to put on a little weight, something I thought was not possible due to my naturally high metabolism. Oh well, I have a lot of time to work it off before returning to the States next spring.

Lunch and dinner feature more of the same, but even go more overboard in terms of the variety of foods served. Overboard is nice, but I have to ask myself how much KBR charges the U.S. Government for a soldier to eat a meal here. That issue being way above my level as a lowly Battalion Logistics Officer, I instead focus on only what I throw on my plate. For lunch, I can get a sandwich, soup, burgers, hot dog, cheese steak, salad, pizza, tacos, rice, mashed potatoes, fruit, and just about any other basic sort of food. Dinner is equally good. We even get crab legs on Sunday, although the shells are dangerously sharp. Probably the most dangerous thing I do all week, breaking up crab legs in a hostile fire zone is not a task I take lightly.

A recent lunch at the DFAC: no, those aren't worms on the steak. They're onions.
Side note: I’ll be going to Australia with my friend Alex in late November for a two week R&R. I decided to take my vacation early this time around. Let me know if you’ll be in Sydney around Thanksgiving time!

No comments:

Post a Comment