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Deployed Troops Get Taste of Home for Thanksgiving

Nov. 21, 2018 | BY David Vergun
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Some 300,000 pounds of traditional Thanksgiving food is en route or has arrived at military field kitchens and galleys throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe and to troops supporting Customs and Border Protection on the Southwest border, Army Col. Robert Manning said.

Two service members stir macaroni in huge vats on a ship.
Macaroni Stir
Navy Culinary Specialists 3rd Class Malik Staten, left, and Kyheim Porter make macaroni and cheese in the galley of the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima during Thanksgiving day meal preparations in the Atlantic Ocean, Nov. 23, 2017. Navy photo by MC3 Kevin Leitner
Photo By: MC3 Kevin Leitner
VIRIN: 171123-N-OA516-0011C

“We appreciate the sacrifices of our service members who are away from home this holiday season and we’re honored to provide them with the best Thanksgiving meal,” the Pentagon spokesman said.

It takes a lot of coordination and attention to detail to make sure service members get the Thanksgiving meal they deserve, said Rich Faso, deputy director of the Defense Logistics Agency’s Troop Support Subsistence supply chain in Philadelphia. The planning begins in May and the work continues until the last deliveries are made.

This year, deployed service members will receive:
Whole turkeys: 9,738
Pounds of roasted turkey: 51,234
Pounds of beef: 74,036
Pounds of ham: 21,758
Pounds of shrimp: 67,860
Pounds of sweet potatoes: 16,284
Pies: 81,360
Cakes: 19,284
Gallons of eggnog: 7,836

"The Troop Support Subsistence team is a dedicated group of employees who take pride in ensuring that deployed service members can experience an enjoyable holiday meal each Thanksgiving," Faso said.

While it is not exactly the same as being home, it is important for the troops to know that someone cares, he said.

Three sailors make a cornucopia for Thanksgiving dinner.
Cornucopia Consultants
Sailors make a cornucopia for Thanksgiving dinner on the USS Nimitz in the Pacific Ocean, Nov. 21, 2017. The aircraft carrier is deployed in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility to support maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. Navy photo by Seaman Emily Johnston
Photo By: Seaman Emily Johnston
VIRIN: 171121-N-LC642-075C

"Many of America's military men and women are away from home this Thanksgiving, making sacrifices to secure our freedom and to protect our southern border," said Army Brig. Gen. Mark Simerly, DLA Troop Support commander. "The DLA Troop Support staff and I are excited about this amazing opportunity to provide them the very best Thanksgiving meal our country has to offer."

The subsistence team worked diligently with regional vendors both locally and across the globe to ensure that military food service professionals had what they needed to prepare a festive holiday meal for those away from home this Thanksgiving, he added.