By U.S. ArmyNovember 27, 2009
KABUL, Afghanistan -- It may not be just like the ones you used to know, but Thanksgiving can be celebrated wherever there's great food, great camaraderie and the holiday spirit.
At the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Afghanistan Engineer District - North's Qalla House in Kabul, it all started with a fairly traditional Thanksgiving Day parade. Leading the way were a Pilgrim and Native American, followed closely by a nervous turkey. Then, to get everybody into the holiday season spirit, came Santa Claus, encouraging folks to catch some live football games (very late, given that Kabul is 8.5 hours ahead of the U.S. Eastern time zone) on the American Forces Network.
Following the festivities, AED-North team members continued their traditional celebration with a turkey and roast beef dinner, complete with all of the fixings.
The Corps of Engineers' work in Afghanistan has increased substantially over the past year, with a fiscal 2010 budget of more than $3 billion - 50 percent higher than the 2009 budget. As of October 2009, the Afghanistan Engineer District is two districts, North and South, under the control of the newly activated Transatlantic Division headquartered in Winchester, Va.
While some members of the team are active-duty military, most are civilian volunteers from other USACE locations across the U.S. Their projects range from counterinsurgency support for the U.S. military and facilities for the Afghan National Security Forces to infrastructure for the people of Afghanistan to rebuild their communities.