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Thanksgiving - Troops at War - Union to Current

Fellow Patriots,

As we approach the Thanksgiving Holiday I personally reflect back over my life and the history of our nation, I like to give thanks to the many who served in some capacity to allow others to celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving where ever they may be. We are a nation of people surrounded by someone serving in some capacity. Military, Fire, Police, Medical, Emergency Responders, hot food lines for those in need, town and city public works workers. Someone is serving in some capacity to support the American way of life all over the world.

In my 20 years of serving in the military, I enjoyed the Thanksgiving celebration in some capacity. The military leadership, planners, and transporters always made some degree of effort to ensure the troops had a taste of home. As simple as that may sound, it was priceless. From marching in a Thanksgiving day parade on the Island of Guam, to having canned turkey on a warm dinner roll in Saudi Arabia, it was all good. I think it is fair to say, most troops smiled and shared stories of Thanksgiving at home growing up. We always thought of home and the good memories of the past but we always held the rope tight to ensure our enemies and threats didn't catch us with our guard down. Twenty-Four and Seven, someone is standing guard to allow us to celebrate the things we are thankful for.

I thought you may enjoy these storyline pics in our nation's history on Thanksgiving.

In the middle of the Civil War the president felt like the nation needed some context, a chance to reflect on America's collective gifts. So in 1863 Abraham Lincoln set apart the last Thursday of November "as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise."

The proclamation begins with this thought: "The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God." But the creation of a national holiday didn't end the war, and since that time American service members have spent many Thanksgivings in war zones.

Here are 16 photos that show some of what that experience has been all about:

1. On the first official Thanksgiving holiday in 1863 Union troops took a break from the fighting to enjoy an actual sit-down dinner. (Photo:Nat'l Archives)

2. Here a sailor and a Doughboy enjoy turkey legs during World War I. (Photo: Nat'l Archives)

3. During World War II these soldiers were giving the run of a farmer's stock of turkeys. (Photo: U.S. Army)

4. A group of soldiers sit down for Thanksgiving meal during World War II. (Photo: U.S. Army)

5. Thanksgiving dinner for the 1st Signal Battalion at Hamhung during the Korean War. (Photo: Department of Defense)

6. Marilyn Monroe got in on the Thanksgiving act in the early '60s, much to the delight of GIs serving across the globe.

7. During the Vietnam War the Army designed special Thanksgiving Day meals that were shipped to war zones in metal tins. Yum! (Photo: U.S. Army)

8. Members of Det "A", 5th Special Forces Group, located north of Saigon in War Zone D line up for Thanksgiving meal. (Photo:

9. SP/4 Ron Dillon, B Co, 2nd Bn, 8th Cav, 1st Air Cav Div, shares his turkey dinner in the field with a Vietnamese dog who had wandered in for the occasion in 1967. (Photo:

10. President George H.W. Bush shared Thanksgiving with the troops in Saudi Arabia in 1990 as they got ready to invade Iraq for Desert Storm a few months later. (Photo: U.S. Army)

11. Thirteen years later President George W. Bush followed his dad's lead and surprised the troops by showing up in Iraq for Thanksgiving dinner. (Photo:

12. In 2010 Gen. David Petraeus, CENTCOM commander, served turkey to sailors (including Petty Officer Third Class Albrian Crisotomo) while visiting the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) underway in the Persian Gulf. (Photo:

13. Chief Aviation Ordnance man Robert Flake, from Fort Smith, Ark., serves himself aboard the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) during Thanksgiving 2013. (

14. Those who get to eat their turkey in the comfort of a dining facility are relatively lucky. Here soldiers are assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade sit down for dinner at Combat Outpost McClain in 2012. (Photo:

15. Those on the tip of the spear have to get resourceful to get any turkey at all. (Photo:

16. Wherever our troops are serving in the world the team at WATM says "Happy Thanksgiving!" Here's hoping AFN beams an NFL game to a widescreen TV at a FOB near you and you get all the turkey you can eat. (


Bravo Echo Out

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