There may be fewer deployed troops than there were 10 years ago, but their Thanksgiving feast is just as important to the folks in Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support.
That means 14,968 pounds of turkey, 10,740 pounds of ham and 18,620 pounds of beef -- plus all the fixings -- are positioned and ready for the troops in Afghanistan, according to Alexandra Siemiatkowski, a spokeswoman in DLA Troop Support. Among the side dishes are 2,382 pies of various flavors, to include sweet potato and pumpkin. There are 495 gallons of juice, and 519 gallons of eggnog.
As of Sept. 30, according to Defense Department statistics, 10,277 active-duty troops were deployed to that country. For the nearly 12,000 troops in Iraq, Jordan and Kuwait, 19,792 pounds of turkey, 13,930 pounds of beef and 10,710 pounds of ham are waiting to be prepared for the feast. They've got more juice (1,703 gallons) and less eggnog (360 gallons).
Planning and ordering for the Thanksgiving feast normally starts in the spring, with DLA officials receiving input from the field on what to order.
Besides the preparations for troops deployed to other countries and on ships at sea, dining facilities around the world are bringing a taste of home to troops and families, too. For example, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, award-winning cooks and chefs at 11 dining facilities are set to prepare some 3,643 pounds of turkey between Tuesday and Thursday, according to a news release. There's no charge to soldiers with meal cards; other soldiers E-4 and below and their family members pay $6.80; while officers and enlisted E-5 and above, and their families, pay $9.05 per person.
Among the sides for these particular dining facilities will be 402 pounds of collard greens, 69 cheesecakes, 136 cans of sweet potatoes and 1,140 pounds of white potatoes. Steamship round of beef, shrimp, Cornish hens, smoked ham and beef prime rib are also on the menu.
Karen Jowers covers military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times. She can be reached at email@example.com .
Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.