As American soldiers were deployed around the world on Thanksgiving Eve, hundreds of service members and civilians at Fort Gordon enjoyed a meal together.
"It beats regular food, that's a definite," said Spc. Timothy Kelly, of Fayetteville, N.C.
At the Lightning Warrior Cafe, a dining hall of the post's 93rd Signal Brigade, more than 1,000 service members - from various brigades, battalions and branches of the military - along with military retirees and civilians were expected, said Sgt. 1st Class Clinton Gordon III, a dining facility manager.
"It's very important for them," he said. "We try to make it a relaxed, enjoyable environment."
As higher-ranking personnel served lower-ranking ones, as is tradition, service members were treated to piano music and even a step show by the Fort Gordon Dynamic Steppers, girls who are related to military and government workers on post.
While soldiers do get a holiday for Thanksgiving, not all can afford to go home for the holiday, making the meals important, Sgt. 1st Class Gordon said.
"You have a lot of soldiers whose family may be, say, in Germany, or somewhere else and may not be able to get home," he said.
The food, while delicious, can't completely make up for being away from home, Spc. Kelly said.
"It softens the blow, but food isn't a substitute for family," he said.
Feeding the multitudes at the installation required, literally, tons of food.
According to Fort Gordon's Public Affairs Office, for the meals Wednesday and Thursday, 1,200 pounds of boneless turkey, 1,600 pounds of smoked ham, 1,000 pounds of peeled shrimp and 1,100 pounds of duck were to be served, not to mention side dishes and desserts.
Reach Jeremy Craig at (706) 823-3409 or email@example.com.