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Inside the Gates: Army Alaska gives soldiers something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 10:42 AM AKST|Updated: Nov. 24, 2021 at 6:46 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - There’s plenty of turkey and all the trimmings necessary to make this an enjoyable Thanksgiving feast. That’s not easy when you expect around 1,200 guests.

That’s how many got served this week at Army Alaska’s Thanksgiving Meal at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

“We started prepping the food Friday, and started cooking Monday,” said Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Couts of the 725th Support Battalion. The battalion helped prepare the meal.

The chefs came armed for battle, as the number of turkeys they prepared will prove. They cooked 55 this year, but also offered other items such as lobster, prime rib and pork.

Normally, the chefs serve the soldiers, but not during Thanksgiving. That duty falls upon the senior staff, an Army tradition.

“It’s extremely important because in a time of thanks, it’s a great time for us to give back and serve our young paratroopers and our soldiers to say thank you,” said Col. Michael “Jody” Shouse, the commanding officer of Army Alaska’s 425th infantry division.

Most Americans enjoy their meal on Thanksgiving, but Army Alaska serves its soldiers two days early.

“We do this a couple of days before Thanksgiving to insure the soldiers get to spend Thanksgiving Day with their family,” Couts said.

Many soldiers will not be with their loved ones for the holiday. This gathering provides the next best thing.

“We can’t go home right now because we’re working, we’re on duty,” said Pvt. Jordan Walker of the 725th Support Battalion. “Eating this is like a little Thanksgiving here with our unit, like a family. Like a whole big family.”

That’s what these soldiers are grateful for, as they take a break from defending the nation.

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