Thanksgiving: 51K Pounds of Roasted Turkey, Other Holiday Treats Flown to U.S. Warfighters Overseas

US soldiers cheer during a Thanksgiving Day meal at the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul on November 27, 2014. The meal was served to mark the US celebration of the Thanksgiving Day holiday. AFP PHOTO/SHAH Marai (Photo credit should read SHAH MARAI/AFP via Getty Images)
SHAH MARAI/AFP via Getty

The Pentagon will keep its decades-old tradition of ensuring troops deployed overseas, including war zones, get a taste of home with all the trimmings this Thanksgiving.

In a press release issued earlier this week, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) that manages the Pentagon’s global supply chain as the nation’s combat logistics support agency revealed:

This year, service members around the world received an estimated:
• 9,000 whole turkeys
• 51,000 pounds of roasted turkeys
• 74,000 pounds of beef
• 21,000 pounds of ham
• 67,000 pounds of shrimp
• 16,000 pounds of sweet potatoes
• 19,000 pounds of pies and cakes
• 7,000 gallons of eggnog
• And many other holiday treats

Army Col. Eric McCoy, the DLA Troop Support Subsistence Director, said in a statement:

Food is emotional, and this year more than ever, it’s so important that DLA Troop Support got the turkeys, hams, and all the trimmings to our troops wherever they are stationed. Our supply chain takes the holidays very seriously. Our troops are far away from home, and they definitely look forward to this meal. Disappointing them is not an option.

Although the coronavirus pandemic changed the way service members consumed their meals, it did not stop Thanksgiving, one of the greatest American traditions.

DLA noted:

This year, Thanksgiving will be different for our service men and women throughout the world. While meals may be switched to grab-and-go style takeout instead of large group gatherings in dining facilities, the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Subsistence supply chain is making sure that warfighters everywhere are able to have a home-cooked meal with all the trimmings this holiday.

DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence acknowledged the Chinese virus will make the holidays feel different for troops at home as they are for their families at home. At the state and local level in the U.S., government leaders have placed restrictions on who can come to their private home to eat, asserting that such rules are necessary to keep stem the spread of the disease.

Still, members of the DLA worked with vendors both locally and across the world to make sure that military foodservice professionals had all the essentials to prepare a festive holiday meal for troops away from home this holiday.

DLA Gen. Lawrence declared:

The holidays will look quite different this year for everyone. I’m proud that our workforce is doing everything possible to make sure our warfighters get a proper holiday meal, especially since many of us will not be able to be with our family and friends. We want to make sure they get that taste of home no matter where they are in the world.

For more than 50 years, DLA Troop Support has been providing traditional Thanksgiving food to field kitchens, dining facilities, and galleys to locations in the United States as well as the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Korea, Japan, Qatar, Honduras, and other locations around the world where our service members are deployed.

It takes months for the planning and preparing of the troop’s holiday meal, which this year started in March, coinciding with the coronavirus and making it just that much harder to make it a reality.

“Many ingredients for the meals are on hand at prime vendor locations by September, and the overseas locations start receiving high-volume items, like the turkeys and more than 131 tons of trimmings, in October,” the DLA added.

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