WHINSEC celebrates America’s most prominent tradition – Thanksgiving

By Milton F. Mariani RodriguezNovember 16, 2021

Members of the Command and General Staff Officer Course come together to express gratitude for their blessings. 
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT BENNING, GA – Under the auspices of WHINSEC and Department of Defense Field Studies Program (FSP), CGSOC members gathered to give thanks on November 10.

The FSP is a mandated program established in AR 12-15, Joint Security Cooperation Education and Training. The goal of the FSP is to ensure that international military students (IMS) understand the responsibilities of the government, the military, and citizens to protect, preserve and respect the rights of every individual. The program is an integral part of the IMS experience at WHINSEC, and it is an educational and learning activity. It is a class outside of the classroom.

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

During the event, WHINSEC Chaplain, Maj. Jorge H Budez talked about the origins of Thanksgiving, how it has evolved and how the Army leadership celebrates with their Soldiers. Finally, he offered a personal reflection, how we must maintain a grateful attitude, no matter what circumstances we might be going through.

“I talked about how the pilgrims arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts; the great trails they suffered and how they learned to farm with the help of an Indian named Squanto. I explained how relationships were key to their survival and establishing relations with other tribes in the region. I added how Thanksgiving continued evolving until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln signed the proclamation establishing Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday of November,” said Budez.

For the majority of the international military students, this was the first time participating in an event like Thanksgiving.

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Panamanian Aero Naval Service Major Michael Cueto Tovar commented, “It was indeed a significant and emotional event.  As a foreigner, being able to share with colleagues, family from the hemisphere, and superiors from the United States was to feel like family. Observing how the leadership of the senior officers takes the time to serve us and appreciate our sacrifice and dedication in our work is of great value. It is truly an event that I will take back to my family and work circle to mention. Thanks to the WHINSEC family.”
Costa Rican Police Officer Major Pablo Soto added, “It was great to make a reflective pause, to think about families, to be grateful for the present moment. In addition, share food with colleagues from all the teams together with instructors and the command group leadership. This prominent American and military tradition undoubtedly creates a sense of belonging.”