We have a system now for meals. Myself, 1SG Martinez, and 1LT Sarratt meet for breakfast at 0730 at the gazebo right outside of our CHU. At the dining facility (DFAC) we greet the guards who check our ID cards, wash our hands and then grab our tray and head to the serving line. We each have our own separate ideas of what constitutes a nutritious breakfast so we go our own ways to get our food. But we always sit in the same place...in the annex. For breakfast we sit in the first row of tables, for lunch and dinner we sit in the last row of tables. That way each of us always knows where the other two are. The three of us have eaten our meals together since we first went to RTC at Ft. Dix in October/November 2008 and since our mob in January 2009. Occasionally we allow other Soldiers to join us. I'm sure that they are surprised to find out that we actually don't talk shop at these meals. We don't spend our time between bites of good Army food planning things for the unit. Instead, we have light-hearted conversations about anything that we can think of and there is usually a lot of laughter involved.
In the DFAC there are multiple TVs, all tuned in to the various channels offered by AFN. Soldiers munching on eggs, bacon, chicken wings, and hamburgers can watch sports, movies, or news, depending on where they are sitting and how close they pay attention the the TVs.
It seems that for breakfast the TV by our table is always set on the AFN movie channel. So, for the 20 minutes or so that we are sitting there we get to watch part of a movie. So far we've watched parts of about 30 different movies. Of course, the sad part is that we only get to watch 20 minutes or so of each movie. More if we dawdle and eat very slowly. We have often wondered aloud if there isn't some way to get AFN to rerun one movie all day so that we can watch a whole movie over a span of 3 or 4 meals.
Recently we've started changing our lunch plans. Instead of walking down to the DFAC for lunch we get a sandwich to go at breakfast and then settle in our own studio to watch a movie or a television show on DVD. Our first movie was Silver Streak...an old movie starring Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor.
Occasionally the morning TV isn't tuned into the movie channel. It's on the channel that has morning exercise shows. Scantily-clad women (including Denise Austen) do lunges and lift weights and sweat. The guys all watch very intently. I'm sure that they are just taking notes on the correct form for all of these exercise. It is sure nice of AFN to have these women in tight shorts and T-shirts teaching our Soldiers the proper way to maintain health and fitness while deployed to Iraq. :)