WASHINGTON: In the best American military tradition, one of the signature marks of Thanksgiving is the astonishing logistics of moving tons of turkeys, thousands of yards of yams, cans of cranberries and pallets of pecan pies.

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How vast is this enterprise? Just Army Central Command is going to feed about 50,000 troops, government civilians, contractors and coalition partners across 19 countries.

Here’s the list:

Thanksgiving meals for all overseas troops will include:

4,925 whole turkeys
66,741 pounds of roasted turkey
80,546 pounds of beef
43,648 pounds of ham
44,384 pounds of shrimp
27,605 pounds of sweet potatoes
39,797 pies
7,032 cakes
5,804 gallons of eggnog
But the military isn’t the only logistical enterprise involved in this. Moms, dads, siblings and spouses send vast quantities of goodies to their loved ones overseas.

Here’s one example from an official story about Thanksgiving at: “My mom sent me a pecan pie, as she knows I love it,” said U.S. Army Spc. Roman Smith, a truck mechanic in the 1-252 Armor Regiment, who is on his first deployment supporting Operation Spartan Shield.

Smith, who is married with a three-year-old son, said that he is keeping in touch with family through Facetime and texts and that the pecan pie reminds him of being home in North Carolina.

The first Thanksgiving set the standard of shared support in the face of an uncertain world.

This excerpt is fromThe Desolate Wilderness, an account of the Pilgrim’s:
Being now passed the vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before them in expectations, they had now no friends to welcome them, no inns to entertain or refresh them, no houses, or much less towns, to repair unto to seek for succour; and for the season it was winter, and they that know the winters of the country know them to be sharp and violent, subject to cruel and fierce storms, dangerous to travel to known places, much more to search unknown coasts.

That pretty well describes the challenges many members of the military face each year. It’s one of the reasons senior American civilian and military leaders have made it a point of honor to visit troops at Thanksgiving to provide proof they are remembered on this, the most American holiday.

Vice President Pence and his wife serve troops an early Thanksgiving (COLIN CLARK).


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