By Audra CallowayNovember 20, 2007
FORT BELVOIR, Va. (Army News Service, Nov. 20, 2007) - Even though military members serving in the Middle East will be far from home this season, they will still be able to eat traditional holiday meals.
The Defense Supply Center Philadelphia has sent the fare and fixings for special Thanksgiving meals to military members and defense employees currently stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Dubai, Djibouti and a number of other countries.
For Thanksgiving alone, more than 340,000 pounds of turkey have been sent to the deployed troops, in addition to 87,115 pounds of ham; 162,242 pounds of beef; 119,418 pouns of shrimp; and a variety of time-honored side dishes. For dessert, an assortment of 163,464 pies will be served.
The holiday meals are meant to "bring a taste of home to our troops," said Ray Miller, director of Subsistence and Subsistence Supplier Operations at DSCP.
Though DSCP employees can't provide troops time with their family and friends back home, they can provide troops with a holiday meal and bring part of home to them, Mr. Miller said.
The holiday fare was sent to regular dining facilities and mobile kitchens in the theaters of operation.
Troops operating in remote areas receive Unitized Group Ration - Express, a special meal that is heated up in a box and serves about 18 servicemembers.
"Our goal is to provide every troop, regardless of location, a turkey meal on Thanksgiving," Mr. Miller said.
Troops receive special meals at other times, such as Easter, Passover and the Super Bowl, but Mr. Miller said Thanksgiving and Christmas are the largest because of emotional impact of these holidays.
Mr. Miller said that as troops rotate back they often comment on how appreciative they are for the meals and will send thank-you e-mails to DSCP.
The DSCP, which operates within the Defense Logistics Agency, annually supplies $12.4 billion worth of food, clothing and textiles, medicines, medical equipment, construction and equipment supplies, and services for America's warfighters, their eligible family members and other federal customers worldwide.
DLA provides supply support, and technical and logistics services to the U.S. military services and several federal civilian agencies. Headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Va., the agency is the source for consumable items, whether for combat readiness, emergency preparedness or day-to-day operations inside DoD.
(Information from a Defense Logistics Agency news release contributed to this article.)