News: Increasing morale one cup at a time
Story by Sgt. Thomas Duval
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - For soldiers deployed to Afghanistan, a morning cup of coffee helps them get through the long hard days.
A lack of resources often causes soldiers to resort to less traditional approaches to get their daily coffee kick.
Soldiers often use Dixie cups or cut up water bottles to drink coffee found in the unfavorable meals-ready-to-eat which rarely tastes or looks like the traditional or desired ‘cup of Joe’.
For the soldiers deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom with the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, the days of MacGyver-like techniques to make coffee are over.
For the past six months large shipments of Keurig® coffee makers and bags of popular coffee brands have poured in from various different organizations such as Kuerig®, AdoptAPlatoon® and ©Operation Gratitude.
The combined effort by these groups is being dubbed by soldiers as ‘Operation Morning Brew’ and these programs have uplifted the daily lives of many soldiers.
“When you have 24-hour mission planning and operations out of the wire you need to be awake and on top of your game at all times,” said 1st Lt. Stephen Leader, intelligence officer with 25th Brigade Support Battalion, 1/25 SBCT. “Through the gracious donations by the people and many different support groups back home we can now enjoy hundreds of different brews.”
The supply of coffee and coffee brewers arrived just in time for the winter months, here, in Kandahar Afghanistan.
“It keeps me awake and warm on the chilly nights that we have been having,” said 1st Lt. Robin Epperson, Civil Military Operations Center chief with Bravo Company, 489th Civil Affairs Battalion, deployed out of Knoxville, Tenn., and attached to the 1/25 SBCT.
“It makes enjoying coffee easy when everything you own is made out of plywood and the 'communal office kitchen' is non-existent," Leader said.
Authorized programs like these are an exception to the Joint Ethics Regulation’s gift policy, playing an important role in fulfilling a coffee craving and they also improve morale.