How can you help our nonprofit send care packages to some of the most remote of the roughly 225,000 U.S. military troops serving overseas in 2017?

1) Donate Financially - Our greatest need is cash for our mailing costs. With no paid staff, we strive to maximize the use of donations. We are a 501(c)(3) charity, so your gifts are tax deductible. We accept checks to Airborne Angel Cadets of Texas, P.O. Box 116691, Carrollton, TX 75011. You can donate via credit card through our Click and Pledge account.

2) Donate Goods - Our all-volunteer charity is based in the Dallas area, but receives product donations from across the USA for care packages for our Soldiers and Troops overseas. We kindly request that you contact us at support@airborneangelcadets.com before sending any care package goods.

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6/03/2013

Troop meals cutback in Afghanistan - Care packages take up slack

There has been a lot of social media attention recently over hot meals being cut to the 60,000-plus U.S. troops in Afghanistan. From media reports and our own communications with our care package recipients, our understanding of the living and meal conditions are outlined below. The Airborne Angel Cadets of Texas also welcome your donations to help us continue to send care packages to our troops overseas, something we have been doing since 2005.

* As of June 1, the midnight ration / meal, midrat, will be eliminated at all facilities. Since many work the midnight to noon shift, this will eliminate their breakfast. For the many that work the noon - midnight shift, this will eliminate their supper. The midrat meal is also said to be a time where shifts meet together and develop a healthy camaraderie.

From one of our Marine contacts, "Very soon they are going to get rid of 'midrats', which is the meal from 2300-0100 at the chow hall.  Since we have 24 hour maintenance, a lot of our Marines work from 1800-0600 so that is like their lunch."
 
* At 17 bases, they are already on the two hot meals a day plan. The breakfast and midnight meals have been eliminated. And the maximum of two hot meals per day plan will be phased into all the facilities in the coming months. A scarcity of hot meals is not uncommon at remote FOBs or COPs, but the cutback of hot meals is now taking effect at even the largest military bases in Afghanistan.

* Sandwich, soup and coffee will no longer be offered between the scheduled dining hall chow times for the scheduled hot meals. The dining facilities will be closed between scheduled meals.

* For soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that miss the scheduled hot meal, you grab an MRE, or use your care package donations.

* Care package foods are being requested more and more to replace the MREs. Veterans say the MREs are much better than the ones provided decades ago, but the care package foods can go a long way towards lifting spirits, providing additional nutritional (vitamins, minerals, protein, etc.) needs, and providing some tasty foods to break the monotony of MREs.

 * Troops are increasingly relying on care packages for their supply of toiletries and daily essentials. In addition to the meals and foods mentioned above, a reduction of PX / BX shelf space and inventory is occurring throughout military facilities in Afghanistan. Remote bases are being closed down and dismantled. More troops are being housed at the remaining larger bases. With more troops sharing fewer PX / BX toiletries (razors, shave cream, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, etc.), the troops are still eagerly receiving care package donations of toiletries and daily essentials.

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The rationale is that the U.S. military is phasing down to the more primitive 'invasion' level environment, in preparation of the final withdrawal of combat troops from Afghanistan by the start of 2015. Non-American food service workers are being phased out. Facilities are being disassembled. Equipment is being sent home. Military spokesmen have stated this is not a result of budget cuts, but a natural strategy of withdrawing assets and closing facilities during the two year troop withdrawal process.

While the U.S. plans to remove all 'combat' troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, non-combat troops will likely remain in Afghanistan in 2015 and probably for years afterwards. President Obama is expected to make a decision in the coming months as to the non-combat troops levels for 2015 and beyond. Most estimates show that figure will likely be about 10,000 to 15,000 'non-combat' troops remaining in 2015.

With this background, the Airborne Angel Cadets of Texas will continue to send care packages to our U.S. troops in Afghanistan. We welcome your support with product or financial donations, which will enable us to continue providing foods, toiletries, socks, and other items in support of our military troops overseas.

From a recent NBC news report:

"After June 1, the menu drops to three daily meals and, eventually, there will be only two hot meals served, (Lt. Col.) Gilmore revealed in an email to the impacted Marines, adding: 'Any time a dining hall meal is eliminated it will be replaced from a plentiful stock of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat — or any one of several creative acronyms our Marines have come up with.)'"

"The tactical reason for the cooking scale-down is that the people who are assigned to 'support services' — such as food workers — 'need to go home before the people who provide the security which enables those services,' Gilmore wrote. 'This is a natural outcome of the drawdown process unrelated to sequestration or the ongoing budget issues back in the States.'"

"17 bases in Afghanistan that are not currently serving breakfast 'hot chow' and midnight chow due to the budget cuts.'"