By Pfc. Angel Washington, 4th AAB PAO, 1st Cav. Div.November 29, 2010
JOINT SECURITY STATION INDIA, Iraq-As midnight passed, Soldiers got out of their beds and headed to their containerized kitchen to start preparing a Thanksgiving meal at a joint security station near Mosul, Iraq.
Cooks assigned to E Forward Support Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, worked all day, Nov. 25, to prepare their unit's Thanksgiving Day meal while deployed in support of Operation New Dawn.
"I'm blessed to be able to partake in a festive holiday like this," said Sgt. 1st Class Bobby Fillmore, the unit's food service sergeant. "Ultimately my job is to boost morale, and to see Soldiers smiling keeps me motivated," said the Fort Hood, Texas, native.
In the kitchen, Soldiers worked hard, enduring the heat from the oven as they added the necessary spices to their foods. As hours passed, piles of containers filled up, and the lingering smells of seasoned turkey and fresh sweet potatoes showed the progress being made as the hour drew closer to serve their fellow Soldiers.
"It's a morale booster for the rest of the Soldiers that can't be at home with their Families" said Sgt. Lakeesha Wilson, a cook from Detroit, Mich. "We put one hundred percent into this to make it a real Thanksgiving meal."
Soldiers squeezed around the tight spaces of their work area, helping each other to lift pots of boiling water and cutting open the multiple boxes that contained collard greens and shrimp along with the rest of their Thanksgiving dinner.
Still working as the night sky turned into daylight, Soldiers sang along to tunes resonating through the kitchen; a constant smile on their faces despite their lack of sleep.
"It makes me feel good to know we put a lot of time and effort into this day," said Spc. Elizabeth Davenport, a cook from Pringle, Pa. "We came together to prepare this meal for the people we work with while they're away from their Families. To see them happy brings me great joy," said Davenport.
As noon approached, their cooking dwindled down. Soldiers brought the food to their eating area, hungry faces eyeing the food as they sniffed the air that announced "dinner is served."
Once their fellow Soldiers finally sat down to partake in the food that the cooks labored over, smiles and satisfied expressions cascaded the room. Many said thank you, as their Thanksgiving meal brought a warming touch to these deployed troopers.
"This meal was amazing, it was the best meal I've had this deployment thus far" said Sgt. Michael Chargualaf, an infantryman from Beeville, Texas. "To be here with my brothers in arms on this day, is the next best thing to being with my Family."