The following letter appeared in Army Times on January 21, 2010:
A veggie dilemma
There cannot be just one soldier in the ranks who embraces the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. The Army limits soldiers who decide to embrace such a lifestyle to a meat- and preservative-plagued smorgasbord of entrees.
Vegetarian soldiers do not have "veggie" accommodations readily available to them in garrison or in deployed environments.
Even if there is just one vegetarian/vegan soldier to every 1,000 meat-eaters, the chow hall could provide a few entrees to accommodate these soldiers. Many soldiers have a jaded opinion of their vegetarian/vegan counterparts, and criticize them based on the humane choice they have maturely made.
Entering a typical Army chow hall, you can usually expect to find the same variety of food. Yes, the cooks make nutritious food, but offer limited variety for the few who have eliminated meat and animal products from their diet.
Soldiers who embrace this dietary lifestyle succumb to eating the same bland variants of vegetables, horribly cooked white rice, beans and other assortments of meat-free choices, day in and day out, that have been cooked in animal byproduct. Most soldiers who are deployed cannot even obtain the essential veggie products their body needs to stay strong and alert.
Though our 21st-century Army is not based on individualism, sometimes the Army needs to give a little.
I mean, the Army recognizes "jedi" as a faith -- why not help out the meat objectors?
-- Pvt. Corey Zupka, Orlando, Fla.