Frozens Warm Up ‘Turkey Day’ for US Troops Far from Home

As the old adage goes: “An Army marches on its stomach.” While it’s not certain if it was Frederick the Great or Napoleon Bonaparte who said it first, one can be sure that the Pentagon’s brass hats take the military maxim very seriously – especially when it comes to feeding special meals to Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard personnel deployed far away from home when national holidays are celebrated in the United States.

thanksgiving troops 01Toward that end, one can also be sure that the convenience and reliability of nutritious and delicious frozen food products again played a crucial role in assuring that the US Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) accomplished the mission of getting the proper meal components in the correct quantities into the hands of mess sergeants and culinary crews charged with preparing Thanksgiving feasts on November 22 for American troops serving overseas and along the southern border with Mexico.

From turkeys to sweet potatoes, the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-headquartered agency dispatched over 300,000 pounds of traditional Thanksgiving food fare to US military mess halls, field kitchens and ship galleys throughout the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Africa, Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay, Texas, Arizona and elsewhere.

Here’s the order that was filled, by the numbers:

  • 9,738 whole turkeys
  • 51,234 pounds of roasted turkey
  • 74,036 pounds of beef
  • 67,860 pounds of shrimp
  • 21,758 pounds of ham
  • 16,284 pounds of sweet potatoes
  • 81,360 pies
  • 19,284 cakes
  • 7,836 gallons of eggnog

It takes a lot of coordination and attention to detail to make sure members of the armed forces get the Thanksgiving meal they deserve, said Rich Faso, deputy director of DLA Troop Support’s Subsistence supply chain. The planning begins in May and the job continues until the last deliveries are made shortly before “Turkey Day.”

“Our team is a dedicated group of employees who take pride in ensuring that deployed service members can experience an enjoyable holiday meal each Thanksgiving,” stated Faso. “While it is not exactly the same as being home, it is important for the troops to know that someone cares.”

thanksgiving troops 02“Many of America’s military men and women are away from home this Thanksgiving, making sacrifices to secure our freedom and to protect our southern border,” said Army Brigadier General Mark Simerly. “The DLA Troop Support staff and I are excited about this amazing opportunity to provide them the very best Thanksgiving meal our country has to offer.”

The team worked diligently with regional vendors both locally and across the globe to ensure that military foodservice professionals had what they needed to prepare a festive holiday meal for those unable to mark the occasion with family members and friends back in the USA.

DLA Troop Support annually provides America’s armed forces with approximately $17 billion worth of food, uniforms, protective equipment, medicine and medical supplies, repair parts, and construction and equipment.

As the nation’s combat logistics support agency, the Defense Logistics Agency manages the entire global supply chain – from raw materials to end user to disposition – for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, 10 combatant commands, other federal agencies, and partner and allied nations. – Reported by John Saulnier