By Staff Sgt. David OversonNovember 22, 2017
HOHENFELS, Germany (Nov. 22, 2017) -- Soldiers spending Thanksgiving away from their family and loved ones is nothing new in today's world, but as one takes stock into what he's thankful for, at times it just might be a great dining facility. For instance, the one at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany.
The Warrior Sports Café Dining Facility manager, James Nichols, had nothing but song and praise for his staff of 55 who worked tirelessly to provide not only a Thanksgiving meal for the Soldiers and their family members assigned to JMRC, but also the warm family feeling associated with this American holiday, in a European country.
"I get a lot of satisfaction knowing that each Soldier and their family members enjoy a Thanksgiving meal comparable to what they might enjoy back home," said Nichols. "And I think we were able to accomplish that today."
The old adage of, "they made enough to feed an army" has never been truer when looking over the quantities prepared: 16 whole roasted turkeys; 24 rolled turkeys; 18 whole roasted ducks; 30 hams; 500 servings of shrimp cocktail; 500 servings of breaded shrimp, and two steamship rounds of beef, and that was just the meat. Needless to write, a lot of food and fun was enjoyed by all.
In reality, the planning and preparation of a meal of this magnitude begins months in advance when ordering all of the required ingredients that go into a Thanksgiving feast with this much ostentatious fanfare. In fact, the DFAC was adorned so well that it won the best decorated DFAC award for all of U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria.
As recent custom dictates in the Army, the command staff serves the holiday meal to their troops and family members. The role reversal enables enlisted members to connect with leaders in a way that generally doesn't happen during the normal workday. This was on full display as U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Jay Morse was elbows deep in gravy detail… serving Soldiers.
"This is one of the most wonderful Thanksgivings I've ever experienced in a DFAC," said Morse. "It's just like being at home."
In addition to Soldiers and their family members enjoying the lavish spread, local German town bürgermeisters (mayors) were invited as well to see how important Thanksgiving is to their American neighbors. In total, six bürgermeisters, the consular chief of Munich, and the nearby town of Parsberg's police chief attended, along with numerous Gold Star Family members.
Finally, for many of the younger Soldiers away from home for the very first time, Thanksgiving can be quite an emotional holiday. For Pvt. Austin Johnson, with the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, the meal provided by the DFAC was just what the doctor ordered, er… the icing on the cake, or pumpkin pie.
"It's kind of weird being away from home on Thanksgiving," said Johnson. "In fact, I've never been more than a state away from home, and now I'm in Germany. So it's really nice to enjoy such a good meal like this with my friends."