REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- "Where are you from'" Maj. Gen. Jim Myles asked each of the young Soldiers as he filled their plates with ham.

Myles, commander of the Aviation and Missile Command and Redstone Arsenal, was among the servers Nov. 26 at the Dining Facility during the annual Thanksgiving feast for the troops. The others included Lt. Gen. Kevin Campbell, commander of the Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command.

It's a tradition throughout the Army that the senior Soldiers serve the Thanksgiving meal to the troops.

"It's a great tradition," Myles said. "And it's our way, our senior Soldiers' way, to say thank you to the heart of the Army - and that is the Soldiers."

Campbell also noted the day's significance. "It's a celebration of not only our nation, it's also a celebration of our Soldiers and what they do for this country," Campbell said.

About 1,100 student Soldiers in the 832nd Ordnance Battalion ate their holiday meal at the Dining Facility. The facility also served retirees, surviving spouses, deployed Soldiers' spouses and their families and guests.

Among the first in line were Pvt. Bradley Bartlett, 19, from Kansas City, Mo., and Pvt. Monte Barrett, 18, from Albemarle, N.C., both of Bravo Company and in the Army 6-7 months.

"It's good," Bartlett said. "I get to eat for free."

"It shows that even though we may not have rank, that we're not forgotten about," Barrett said. "It's almost feeling like home. It's Thanksgiving."

The Dining Facility prepared 303 pounds of steamship, 674 pounds of roast turkey, 600 servings of cordon bleu, 170 pounds of spiral ham, 44 pounds of whole turkey, 90 pounds of shrimp cocktail, 288 pounds of yams; pumpkin, apple, cherry, sweet potato, pecan, chocolate cream, peach, peanut butter, pies, carrot cake, cheese cake, German chocolate, short cake and more; candy, fruit, eggnog, fruit cake, cocktail sauce and cranberry sauce.