Fort Riley Soldiers celebrate 'Thanksgiving Feast of History'
November 27, 2009
FORT RILEY, Kan. - What do 200 pounds of turkey, 160 pounds of ham, 100 pounds of duck and the history of the Big Red One have in common'
For more than 750 Soldiers and their Families attending the Combat Aviation Brigade Dining Facility's Thanksgiving celebration Nov. 25, food and history went hand-in-hand.
The theme for this year's celebration was, "Experience a Thanksgiving Feast of History."
Throughout the dining area, orange and brown decorations hung from the ceiling and historic pictures depicting the 1st Infantry Division's lineage were hung from the walls. Several Soldiers and food service personnel dressed in periodic and festive Thanksgiving costumes.
As the 1st Infantry Division chorus sang in the background, Fort Riley senior leaders and noncommissioned officers served the Soldiers their meals.
Historically, the commander and senior leaders of the organization served the meal to Soldiers, which memorialized the tradition of a military Thanksgiving meal, said CAB Command Sgt. Maj. James Thomson.
For many of the Combat Aviation Brigade Soldiers, this Thanksgiving was extra special - it was the first Thanksgiving dinner they spent in the United States in two years, Thomson said. The CAB redeployed to Fort Riley last year after serving a 15-month tour in Iraq.
Connecting the Soldiers of today with the Big Red One's past during the dinner also was important, he said, because many Soldiers often remember the holidays they spent deployed.
"Too often we remember that Thanksgiving we spent in Iraq or in Afghanistan, but for over 200 years, our Soldiers have been sacrificing - especially on one of these most important holidays," he said. "When we are deployed, that big Thanksgiving feast in that deployed environment is very special to us. So now it's kind of neat to be able to share it with our Families who are here at Fort Riley."
The historic pictures displayed around the dining facility aided in incorporating the division's history into the celebration, added Col. Frank Muth, the CAB's commander.
"I think with the pace we have been fighting - eight years of war - it's important for all of our Soldiers to understand the lineage of both the Army and the units they are a part of," said Muth. "When the Soldiers recognize what the Big Red One has done for their nation, every time it's been called upon, I think their chests are out a little bit more; their chins are out a little bit more; and there's pride in being part of this organization.
"We are just Soldiers standing in formation - humble members of a great organization. It shows here in this dining facility. The team that runs this dining facility - they never lose the enthusiasm that you feel today on this great day for Thanksgiving. You can feel it, and you can see it," Muth said. "They want to be a part of a great team, and they are thankful for being a part of an organization that has this type of enthusiasm."
For one Army Family - the Bergmans - the celebration was about spending time with their Army Family.
"Our Family is in Massachusetts," said. Capt. Kirsten Bergman, a Soldier with the 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, CAB, who brought her husband, Jason, and their daughter, Merope, 19 months, to the celebration. "When you are in the Army, your Family is the Soldiers that you serve with."