Military Families Stationed Overseas Find Commissary Shelves Empty

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Military spouse photo

RAF Lakenheath commissary on Jan. 5, 2015.

Military families stationed in Europe and the Pacific are finding it difficult to get the food and supplies they need from their local base commissaries.

A military wife who chose to remain anonymous described the scene at the RAF Lakenheath commissary to the Military Times:

"No lettuce, no salad, no orange juice, no chicken, no bread, hardly any yogurt and cheese, and half the fruits and vegetables were gone."

In a news release, the Defense Commissary Agency acknowledged the shortages, and gave explanations for the problem:

At European ports, sea containers were unable to clear customs when a computer process failed, which stalled deliveries of perishable items from Dec. 18-24.

During that same period, system failures between DeCA's Integrated Business System and its warehouse management system affected delivery of about 40 percent of the frozen food items from DeCA's Cold Storage plant in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

DeCA Director and CEO Joseph H. Jeu said in the news release that military commissaries on bases in Europe should be back up to speed by Jan. 14.

But as far as stores in the Pacific, that's a different story. Jeu cited labor unrest as one of the reasons for empty shelves in that part of the world:

...[S]hipments destined for commissaries in Hawaii, Guam, Korea, mainland Japan and Okinawa have been delayed up to 10 days due to ongoing West Coast port delays related to negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association and labor unions representing West Coast dock workers...

[These] delays have impacted the ability of commissaries in the Pacific to keep shelves fully stocked with sensitive chill products, such as yogurts, luncheon meats, butter, fresh bone-in meat and fresh pork.

Stars and Stripes reports federal mediators have been called in to help bring about a resolution.

Are you finding empty shelves at your local commissary? Have your say in our comments section!

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