By Lt. Col. C.L. Morelle-Oliveira, 1TSC PAONovember 26, 2010
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - The smiles almost outshone the holiday dAfAcor in this small dining facility in the desert on Nov. 25. Although the sun was shining, one could almost feel a cool, fall-like breeze as dozens of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and civilians waited patiently in line for their Thanksgiving meal. Anticipation was high and hunger rampant amid holiday cheer. Mellisha Thompson, budget analyst, G8, 1TSC, said she and her friends were minutes away from satisfaction. "We\'ve been waiting about 20-30 minutes and we're ready!" "It was worth the wait," said Mike Morgan, a cost analysis with the 1st Theater Sustainment Command. He said the dinning team outdid themselves with the food and decorations and that his 20 minute wait didn't diminish the overall effect at all. Diners entered the autumn colored hall, complete with ice sculptures and an impressive array of complicated melon carvings. Senior officers served the multitudes, all under the watchful eyes of the dining team. The menu offered cranberry juice cocktail, shrimp cocktail, spicy vegetable soup with oyster crackers, roast turkey with gravy, carved ham with raisin sauce, baked seasoned cod loins, prime rib au jus with horseradish sauce, creamy mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes with cinnamon-sugar topping, savory bread dressing, parsley carrots, sesame glazed green beans, steamed broccoli spears, assorted salads and desserts. Additionally, the various dining facilities compete for the title "best in category", based on their presentation, themes and decorations, said Sgt. First Class Sharon Douglas, G4 Food Service, 1TSC and a member of the judging committee. The judges included representatives from Third Army, 1TSC, Department of Logistics (DOL) and this year included the 53IBCT G4, who is a food advisor for the Florida National Guard and an executive chef at Disney. Douglas said she anticipated the winners to be announced early next week. Robert Lee Bolden Jr., of Houston, Texas sat down to a full plate of his favorites: Turkey, dressing and pie. "The trimmings and sculptures were pretty impressive and the food was good," said Bolden. On his first deployment, the ITT employee said, "What I really appreciated was the care they took to make it special." After days of preparations and hours of serving, the dining team finally took some well earned time after the extended lunch rush, to sit together and enjoy the fruits of their labors. "I've been cooking since I was five," said Private First Class Daniel Quigley, 217th Trans. Co, a reserve unit out of San Antonio, Texas. "I'm having a great time. Back home I'm a cook for a retired military facility and every meal makes someone happy. That makes me feel good." The newlywed is on his first deployment. "The Christmas competition will be awesome!," he said with a smile.