There are lots of factors and every Army location, in and out of combat zones, is different. TL:DR version is a horrible combination of time, distance, transportation, money, and Officership. I live 2 miles away from where I work which causes me at least 8 miles to round trip time consuming travel per day. I am also workaholic Warrant Officer who is most productive during lunch and after normal duty hours when my phone isn’t ringing off hooks and the sky isn’t falling.
This pretty much ensures getting time for Comissary trips and Dining Facility (DFAC) just wont happen. I also assure you that just because the Army would serve it, were I to have the time to eat at a , does not mean that it is healthy, cheap, or good tasting. There are a great many items served in DFACs that could be classified as garbage.
We’ve been in foreign conflict so long that people make a lot of assumptions about our day to day. When deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan food is free and always made available to you. Believe it or not, things also move slower because virtually everyone does 7 day a week 24 hour OPs with no holidays or breaks. You’re more likely to take your time and not place useless time hacks on everything when that is the case. When on a Korea rotation instead of combat time is very limited, food is most definitely not free, not always easily available to you, and the convenience of eating away from DFACs is real.
The price of a meal doesn’t change with your rank. In or out of a DFAC. Were I not the rank that I am it would be a larger deal than it already is. For as much as people frown on the daily cost of a 100% Soylent diet, it is cheaper than 3 meals a day from a DFAC regarless of if you recieve Basic Allowance for Subsistence and pay in cash or you don’t receive BAS and pay via meal card. Actually BAS would at least enable you to skip a meal and save some money vs automatically losing value if you were to skip a meal.
Garbage I’d eat to keep myself grinding and under budget prior to finally getting my 1 month supply:
Frozen Pizza. Ate one per day at approximately $4.50 - $5.50 depending on the brand they actually had stock of
Hot dogs with bun $3.00 for about 2 servings of 4 hot dogs
Turkish food once a week 10,000 won
Korean food every other week 10,000 won
None of it all that healthy. Almost always less than 2,000. A pretty decent vitamin deficiency. Lost tons of weight but not in a good way. I wasn’t over weight in the slightest to begin with. I’m hoping Soylent will level it all out, put me at a more natural weight, and end the cycle of chasing down garbage food.