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AAFES Rolls Out Tastes of Home for Deployed Troops

Special to American Forces Press Service

DALLAS, Nov. 8, 2004 – Convenience food is a familiar part of Americans' daily lives. And for American troops in Iraq who want a change from meals ready to eat, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service continues its tradition of bringing a taste of home to troops deployed in support of the war on terror.

AAFES has opened new name-brand fast-food restaurants in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan, with more to come in those and other Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom locations.

AAFES opened a Burger King and Subway in Kandahar, Afghanistan; Subway restaurants at Ganci, Kyrgyzstan, and Camp Danger, Iraq; and Burger King and Pizza Hut restaurants at Balad Air Base, Iraq.

"This is a good morale boost for sure," said Air Force Airman 1st Class Stephanie Heck, a member of 332nd Expeditionary Operational Support Squadron, deployed to Balad. "It's also nice to have a little something from back home."

Army Brig. Gen. James Chambers, commanding general of the 13th Corps Support Command, and Air Force Col. Blair Hansen, commander of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, were present for the grand opening ceremony at Balad, where the two restaurants together pulled in $22,000 in sales the very first day.

"It was a great turnout," said Terry McCoy, AAFES chief of Operation Iraqi Freedom food programs. "Everybody worked hard, and it came off very well."

The opening of these Burger King and Pizza Hut restaurants brings the total number of AAFES name-brand fast-food operations in Iraq to eleven with five Burger Kings, four Pizza Huts and two Subways.

AAFES also runs 3 name-brand fast-food restaurants in Afghanistan. There are 77 name-brand AAFES-run restaurants in OEF/OIF as a whole.

In Afghanistan, another Subway is also planned for Bagram, along with a combination Dairy Queen/Orange Julius and Popeye's Chicken. Additionally, a combination Dairy Queen/Orange Julius is projected for Kandahar and a Dairy Queen for Camp Phoenix.

"A Pizza Hut in Kandahar will open in the next couple of weeks," said Jerry Hanson, contracting officer for OEF/OIF with AAFES European Region. "We also have Subways planned for Balad, Taji, Sather, Bucca and Victory South, Iraq."

AAFES has even purchased a portable Blimpie Xpress trailer for use at remote training locations. It is currently supporting troops in training at Fort Bliss, Texas, and is located at Dona Ana Base Camp, a remote training site for units on the way to OEF.

"Wherever our deployed, or soon-to-be-deployed, troops are, AAFES is right there alongside them, bringing that one-of-a-kind taste of home," an AAFES spokesman said in a written statement.

(Courtesy of an AAFES news release.)

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