Leadership: September 3, 2001


The British have long recognized the need for certain amenities for combat troops. For them, it was tea. Even their tanks have facilities (a water heater) so the crews can brew "a cuppa" to take the edge off combat stress. A similar situation arises in the U.S. Navy with coffee. Since alcohol was banned from the fleet in 1914, coffee has become the essential legal stimulant. As an old saying goes, "The navy could fight a war without coffee, but would prefer not to." The U.S. Army long relied on cigarettes to deal with the stresses of field service. Before the nation became extremely health conscious (and vehemently anti-tobacco) a small pack of cigarettes was included with each field ration. But times change, and the British Daily Telegraph recently reported that a combat stress expert was dispatched to Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo. It seems that the unrest in western Macedonia had cut off the main supply route for Bondsteel. As a result, the camp ran out of scoopable ice cream, as well as halting rest and recuperation trips to Bulgaria. Troop morale has plummeted as a result. Camp Bondsteel does not allow alcohol, although tobacco is tolerated as long as it is indulged outside. Thus ice cream and leave to Bulgaria (which produces splendid wines and potent rakiya liquor) has become essential for the inmates (no fraternizing with the locals allowed) of Camp Bondsteel.


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