More than 131 tons of food will ensure members serving abroad, including those newly deployed to Saudi Arabia, will still have all the fixings for Thanksgiving dinner.
The Defense Logistics Agency, which distributes supplies to the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and others, began planning in April on how to deliver 66,741 lbs of roasted turkey, 80,546 lbs of beef and other food in time for the troops' Thanksgiving meals.
"I know the feeling of missing family and friends during the holiday season," DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence said in a news release. "Our workforce takes great pride in ensuring deployed warfighters have a taste of the holidays while they are protecting our freedoms."
The DoD is also sending these main dishes downrange:
- 4,925 whole turkeys
- 44,384 lbs of shrimp
- 43,648 pounds of ham
This year's total Thanksgiving fixings are significantly higher than that of three years ago, which was more than 63 tons.
In addition to turkey and other meats for this year's holiday feast, the Department of Defense has sent the following fixings to the frontlines:
- 27,605 lbs of sweet potatoes
- 39,797 pies
- 7,032 cakes
- 5,804 gallons of eggnog
These holiday rations will go to field kitchens, dining facilities and galleys for troops in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Korea, Japan, Qatar and Honduras.
For the Army's portion, the Army News Service reported, most of the food will go to U.S. Central Command's area of operations.
Sgt. Maj. Kara Rutter, Army Central Command's culinary management NCO in charge, said in the release they had to make some adjustments before shipping to include the new troops recently deployed to Saudi Arabia after its oil facilities were attacked by Iran two months ago.
Rutter also said they make adjustments to some Thanksgiving supplies depending on location, such as nations that prohibit pork products.
But the goal is to provide overseas members a taste of the Thanksgiving they would receive at home.
"You can talk to most any Soldier and they grew up having turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry jelly," she said, "and that's the same thing they're going to have in the middle of Iraq this year."
-- Dorothy Mills-Gregg can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @DMillsGregg.