By Army News ServiceNovember 25, 2014
PHILADELPHIA (Army News Service, Nov. 25, 2014) -- A lot of U.S. Service members won't be making it home for Thanksgiving this year. But once again, the U.S. military is bringing Thanksgiving to them.
In October, the International Security Assistance Force reported as many as 24,000 U.S. Service members still in Afghanistan. Additionally, U.S. Service members are deployed to Iraq, Kuwait and Jordan. There are also now Service members deployed to West Africa, as part of the fight against Ebola.
The Defense Logistics Agency, known as DLA, is making sure those Service members, wherever they may be, get a taste of an American home-cooked meal this Thanksgiving. They may not be able to eat it with their families back home, but they will enjoy it with their brothers-and-sisters-in-arms.
"Since they can't be home for the holidays, our team is dedicated to bringing the holidays to them," said Anthony Amendolia, with DLA Troop Support subsistence team in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
DLA reports that 2,000 pounds of turkey, 300 pounds of cranberry sauce, and 500 pies will be sent to Liberia. To Senegal, DLA sent 600 pounds of turkey, 75 pounds of cranberry sauce, and 200 pies. As many as 5,000 meals will be served between both locations, and Service members will have their choice of apple, cherry, pumpkin, pecan or sweet potato pie.
While the DLA Troop Support subsistence team typically starts planning to ship holiday meal items six months in advance, military operations in West Africa only began two months ago. In order to meet those short requirements, DLA airlifted the Thanksgiving meal items from the United States into Liberia and Senegal.
Service members in the CENTCOM area of responsibility will also have a Thanksgiving dinner, thanks to DLA's work. DLA sent 48,982 pounds of turkey; 8,750 pounds of beef; 4,560 pounds of ham; 6,048 pounds of shrimp; 900 gallons of eggnog and 4,000 pies to feed Service members in Iraq, Kuwait and Jordan. In Afghanistan, service members received 29,184 pounds of turkey; 31,920 pounds of beef; 21,660 pounds of ham; 25,650 pounds of shrimp; 840 gallons of eggnog; and 6,000 pies.
"Whether they're stationed on a remote base in Afghanistan, or a field hospital in West Africa, they'll be eating a traditional American Thanksgiving meal on Nov. 27," Amendolia said.
William Addison, a spokesman for the Defense Logistics Agency, said food items bound for Africa left the United States on special missions from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. A spokesman at the base said at least one Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft from the 6th Airlift Squadron there participated in the mission to ferry holiday cheer to Service members deployed overseas this Thanksgiving.
(Bill Addison of Defense Logistics Agency contributed to this report. For more ARNEWS stories, visit www.army.mil/ARNEWS, or Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArmyNewsService, or Twitter @ArmyNewsService)