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Thanksgiving meals en route to troops around the world

By Megan Hadley
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Thanksgiving meals en route to troops around the world
Leadership from the 408th Contracting Support Brigade based in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, serves junior soldiers Thanksgiving lunch on November 26, 2020. Photo by U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Jermaine Jackson

Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Holiday meals will look more normal this year as turkeys, ham, sweet potatoes and eggnog make their way to troops around the world.

In-person dining is expected to return to many locations, Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Cmdr. Army Brig. Gen. Eric Shirley said in a press release.

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Planning and prep for the troops' holiday meals starts as early as March, and ingredients for the meals reach vendors by September so they can be shipped in high volume to the U.S. military.

The meals will reach troops across the United States, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Korea, Japan, Qatar, the Philippines, Guam, Singapore and other locations around the world.

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"Thanksgiving is one of the most important meals we work on all year," Army Col. Larry Dean, director of the subsistence supply chain at DLA Troop Support, said in the release. "Our entire team works on it for months, and we don't stop until the big day."

This year, troops will receive an estimated: 5,706 whole turkeys, 59,666 pounds of roasted turkeys, 99,187 pounds of beef, 51,994 pounds of ham, 43,767 pounds of shrimp, 38,400 pounds of sweet potatoes, 68,465 pounds of pies and cakes and 23,461 gallons of eggnog.

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Last year, the Pentagon sent nearly 300,000 pounds of Thanksgiving food to the troops.

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However, meals were switched to grab-n-go style, rather than large group gatherings in dining facilities to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are scheduled to visit Fort Bragg, N.C., on Monday for a Thanksgiving celebration.

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