Theodore's World: Traditional Holiday Meal To Replace Field Rations for Many Troops

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November 22, 2007

Traditional Holiday Meal To Replace Field Rations for Many Troops

Traditional Holiday Meal Will Replace Field Rations for Many Troops

When troops stationed in the Middle East sit down to Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, the turkey won’t come in a brown field rations pouch.

Thanks to the efforts of the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia’s efforts, troops stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Dubai and Djibouti will enjoy a traditional holiday meal.

“Historically, Thanksgiving dinner is one of the most family-oriented meals that there is,” said Ray Miller, director of subsistence for DSCP, the agency that supplies meals to the military worldwide. “When you are deployed and you’re not with (family), … it’s a taste of home wherever you are.”

Hundreds of thousands of troops will dine on turkey, ham, cranberry sauce, assorted pies and more. While this all sounds very “Norman Rockwell” normal, there’s nothing normal about the amount of food needed to feed that many troops.

The employees sent 342,382 pounds of turkey alone. More than 15,000 containers of stuffing mix and about 13,000 containers of white potatoes will join nearly 120,000 pounds of shrimp and a combined total of 249,357 pounds of ham and beef, as well.

“It would be like 100 tractor-trailers pulling up outside your house to deliver Thanksgiving Dinnerdinner,” Miller said, describing just how much food was sent to the Middle East for the dinner.

And at the back of the very last tractor-trailer would be the one thing needed to finish the meal in fine holiday tradition: nearly 163,500 pies.

As for those with no access to a dining hall, they’re not destined to eat the same old everyday field rations. They, too, will get a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day.

“We … have provided a special ration meal called an URG-E (Unitized Group Ration – Express),” Miller said. “It won’t be the turkey, but it’ll be a turkey meal. It’s our attempt to at least try to get something to the folks that are on the far end of the supply chain.”

That effort doesn’t stop with the supply center personnel. The dining facility staffs go above and beyond, often working on their own time, to make decorations to ensure the day is as special as possible.

“Each dining facility has its own theme chosen by the manager,” said Army Sgt. Maj. Terry L. Stewart, a Bridgehampton, N.Y., native and food service sergeant major for Multinational Division Baghdad.

Adding a competitive element to the decorating helps to reward the DFAC workers for the time and effort they spend preparing their crafts. Each command with a dining facility judges the decorations, and medals are awarded.

Sharing a traditional holiday meal that’s usually a family affair can bring servicemembers closer together Stewart noted.

“It humbles me,” the sergeant major said. “Even though we are away from our families at home, those of us here are family, and we come together in fellowship and give thanks for being alive.
“It’s especially rewarding to see the soldiers smile and the joy in their faces when they come through,” he added.

Wild Thing's comment........

I am so glad that many of our troops are getting a traditional meal today. They deserve far more than they will ever ask.

Posted by Wild Thing at November 22, 2007 12:47 AM


Miss airlifting freshly cut Christmas trees and turkeys and all the fixins to the troops in Somalia and the Gulf! It felt real good inside!

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at November 22, 2007 04:05 AM

What NFL football team never won a Superbowl?
Survey Say's.... The Philadelphia Eagles! How about renaming them the Philadelphia Turkeys?
Neither did these other birds win a SB: Cardinals, Falcons and Seahawks!

Posted by: drstrangeloveb52isok at November 22, 2007 06:39 AM

It may not be turkey, it may not be with 'family', it might be turkey loaf from a can, but the military makes every effort to make today special, even if dinner is from a choppered in Mermite can. Happy Thanksgiving to our troops, you are in our prayers.
God Bless you all.

Posted by: Jack at November 22, 2007 10:43 AM

I never had a bad Thanksgiving meal in my Army time. The military did all it could to get real Turkey and fixin's to everyone. I was lucky enough to always have Thanksgiving meals in a mess hall or as Jack states, via a Mermite can. It wasa time in which I learned to appreciate the hard work and efforts of the cooks.

Posted by: TomR at November 22, 2007 01:34 PM

One year I had a choice on Thanksgiving, Beefsteak, potatoes and gravy or Ham and Limas. I was not happy that day I chose the Ham and Limas, one thing I remember was after you opened the can, there was this big chunk of fat on top about a 1/2 inch thick, if you could heat it with a heat tab or a little C-4 it wasn't half bad but cold you had to throw out the fat away and struggle to get them suckers down.

But at Lejeune Thanksgiving was always a treat, alot of the recipes were Southern and we had a real feast, from cornbread stuffing to Sweetpotato pie. The only Thanksgiving that was not so memerable was November 63, food was good but it was dour all in all.

But in my whole life, my time in service was the best, I've got no complaints.

Posted by: Mark at November 22, 2007 01:52 PM

Darth, Yippee I am so glad they did that.

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 23, 2007 01:38 AM

drstrangeloveb52isok, giggle, yes turkey works. Sad but true huh.

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 23, 2007 01:44 AM

Jack,I am so glad they do something special as much as possible for our troops.

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 23, 2007 01:50 AM

Tom that is so neat, I am so glad you shared about that. It makes me feel better to know that special things are done on these days for our military.

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 23, 2007 01:56 AM

Mark thank you, it means a lot to me to hear about your experiences.

Posted by: Wild Thing at November 23, 2007 01:58 AM