By Mrs. Melissa K Buckley (Leonard Wood)November 27, 2013
Fort Leonard Wood is scheduled to celebrate Thanksgiving with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner to be served at the installation's dining facilities.
William Moffitt, Installation Food Program manager, is expecting to serve approximately 10,000 people during the celebratory meal and is planning on serving 26,000 meals throughout the day.
"It is one of the most challenging and enjoyable days of the year. It takes a team effort and true care from our Food Service Professionals to put this meal out. Melded in one common goal; officers and noncommissioned officers serve and greet our future war fighters to make it a truly festive day. Seeing the looks of trainees' stress change to the glow of pride, optimism and realization of being a member of the most awesome organization is fun to see," Moffitt said.
Moffitt estimates that more than four tons of turkey, 1,000 pounds of shrimp, 3,000 pounds of rib eye and more than 1,800 assorted pies will be served at Fort Leonard Wood Thursday. There is a tremendous amount of effort that goes into preparing that much food.
"I start planning for the next Thanksgiving meal the day after Thanksgiving. There is always something we can do better, and we take note. Then the logistics part starts about 90-days out from Thanksgiving until the delivery a week out and daily preparation that week," Moffitt said. "Getting good products in, in the right quantities, is one of the first challenges. Then the actual day, managers and cooks orchestrate all the pre-planning, preparation and cooking together to come up with the final products and layout of a fine meal and atmosphere."
According to Fort Leonard Wood officials, companies, battalion command teams and cadre have blocked off times that they will serve and eat with their Soldiers-in-training.
Col. Bryan Patridge, 14th Military Police Brigade commander, is just one of the
leaders who plan on serving Soldiers their Thanksgiving meal.
"It validates to them that a commander is in position to serve and not to be served. Soldiers need to see their leaders face-to-face, enjoy that interaction and understand that senior leaders are Soldiers' greatest supporters," Patridge said. "Thanksgiving is a time and tradition when the senior leaders and the Soldiers of the brigade can come together and share experiences on common ground and give thanks for all we are grateful for. It is a senior leader's chance to share with the Soldiers that he or she is grateful to them for their service to their nation."
On Thanksgiving Day, more than 700 food service personnel will work together to prepare this special meal.
The decorations in the dining facilities are a part of an Army tradition.
"It is the managers, staff and units who eat in the facility who put on the decorations," Moffitt said.
It's not just troops eating on post Thanksgiving Day, many Family members choose to eat on post in order to enjoy dinner with their loved ones who are working.
"Family members are invited to eat in the members assigned dining facility, while retirees/veterans are invited to eat in the dining facility at 6111 Indiana Avenue," Moffitt said.
The Dauntless Diner, previously named Tony's, will be closed.
The 2013 Thanksgiving holiday meal rate established by the Department of the Army is $7.60. All service members receiving Basic Allowance for Subsistence, regardless of their grade/rank, are required to pay the $7.60 holiday meal rate. Guests of service members are also required to pay the $7.60 holiday meal rate. Dependents of service members in the grade of E4 and below are required to pay the discounted holiday meal rate of $6.45.
"A great Logistics Readiness Center crew, DFAC employees and unit cadre members all collaborate to ensure that all Soldiers are fed a wonderful meal in a leisurely DFAC setting with small hints of home. All parties involved do a great job with the Thanksgiving meal every year," Patridge said.