It's a time honored tradition for unit leadership to serve Thanksgiving meals to their troops. It wasn't any different Nov. 22 -- 23 on Fort Jackson as leadership, with the help of dining facility staff, served up mountains of Thanksgiving bliss to Soldiers and trainees across post.

Dining facilities changed their interior décor to help Soldiers "forget about home for almost two hours."

"Our Soldiers are here and not at home, so we try to bring them as close as possible to the home experience they are accustomed to," said Christopher McQuaige, the senior supply specialist for the 369th Adjutant General Battalion.

"They are away from home and give them a nice home cooked meal with a nice atmosphere," said Silus Bolton, 369th AG Bn. dining facility manager. Bolton and his staff went back in time with historical motif, while other facilities across the installation decorated differently. Bolton's facility would go on to be named the 2017 Best Decorated Dining Facility on Fort Jackson.

Fort Jackson's dining facilities pulled out all the stops serving 2,665 lbs. of whole turkey, 2,090 lbs. of ham, 2,530 lbs. of prime rib, and 475 lbs. of shrimp, 2,475 lbs. of sweet potatoes.

Soldiers like Pvt. Cheyenne Huebner, from Bravo Company, 369th AG Bn., weren't the only ones who spent their holiday meals away from home for the first time -- airmen, sailors and Marines chowed down at the DFACs across post as well.

For Airman 1st Class Leslie Pendeston, a postal student from the 11th Wing at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, said the large spread offered and the size of Army dining facilities left a lasting impression on him.

"I'm surprised by the size of the dining facility," he said, "it's bigger than the ones we have at Andrews. It's really nice." He also enjoyed the meal and meeting Maj. Gen. Pete Johnson and his wife, Shelia, who stopped by to wish him and other service members a happy thanksgiving.

Sidebar:
The list below represents the winners of the annual Fort Jackson, Thanksgiving Competition conducted on the Nov. 22-23.

The following areas were judged:

BEST DECORATED:
DFAC-2302 (369th DFAC)

MOST ORIGINAL:
DFAC-1875 (120th Adjutant General Battalion )

BEST THANKSGIVING THEME:
DFAC-5454 (QUAD 2)

BEST CULINARY DISPLAY:
1st Place: DFAC-9572 (Drill Sgt School)