U.S. Troops, Civilians Celebrate Thanksgiving in Iraq
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 26, 2004 U.S. troops and civilians serving in Iraq shared and celebrated Thanksgiving Nov. 25 although they were many miles from home.
Soldiers gather in the dining facility on Forward Operating
Base Danger for the Thanksgiving Day feast in Tikrit, Iraq. They were served a
variety of traditional foods, such as turkey, ham, Cornish hens, mashed
potatoes, vegetables, rolls, desserts and more. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Nancy
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Marvin Williams, Kellogg, Brown and Root dining facility manager, and Alan Cook, a site manager, have been in Iraq for 18 months working for their adopted family, military servicemembers.
"Taking care of soldiers and feeding them, that's our job," said Williams. "We enjoy the holidays the most because we get a chance to show everyone what we can really do."
"We put a lot into making the day special with the food and decorations," Cook said. "And the soldiers really seem to get into the spirit of it all."
Earlier in the day, the early-morning chill did nothing to deter 353 Tikrit- based service-members from running the three-mile Turkey Trot. The course took the runners up and down hills and over long stretches of road along the Tigris River.
Greg Carter, a civilian employee working on FOB Danger, finished the race first, with Army Sgt. Cy McCravey, a bridge builder with the 502nd Engineer Company, coming in a close, photo-finish second. Both men ran the course in less than 20 minutes.
"The race is a great way to start Thanksgiving," said Army Col. Keith L. Cooper, 1st Infantry Division chief of staff. "There are a lot of great Americans here serving their country. Though it would be nice to be home, we still have so much to be thankful for."
Lillian Quehl, the Morale, Welfare and Recreation supervisor at FOB Danger, and other staff personnel from MWR and Kellogg, Brown and Root organized the event and were on hand to sign-in participants and award them commemorative t-shirts after completing the race.
At Logistics Support Area Anaconda in Balad, traditional Thanksgiving fare for almost 23,000 people meant cooks labored overnight to prepare 6,000 pounds of turkey and 7,030 pounds of ham, along with beef tenderloin, Cornish hens, shrimp, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn on the cob, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin, apple and pecan pie, non-alcoholic red and white wine, and egg nog.
The dining facility staffs at LSA Anaconda competed against each other to create the most festively decorated atmosphere as well as the best-tasting food. The commanding general of 13th Corps Support Command awarded a trophy to the winners.
Festivities did not stop with food. Units in Balad held Turkey Bowl football games; more than 60 people ran a 5-kilometer race; and chaplains held special holiday services. Officers replaced soldiers in guard towers and served food in the dining facilities, and many people lined up to call loved ones back home.
In southern Baghdad, the 5th Brigade Combat Team celebrated Thanksgiving Day festivities in the Camp Falcon dining facility Nov. 25. The kitchen staff served 3,000 Soldiers more than 1,500 pounds of turkey, 1,100 pounds of ham, and 4,800 pies for dinner. A drawing was also held with televisions, bikes and DVDs given as prizes.
(Compiled from Multinational Force Iraq news releases. Army Sgt. 1st Class Nancy McMillan, of the 196th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, contributed to this report.)