Fort Jackson serving a ton of turkey to soldiers for Thanksgiving

Fort Jackson file photo.

By Pat Jones, Fort Jackson

The holidays away from home are … well, they are just different; especially if you are away from home for the first time and are in Basic Combat Training. However, the leadership at Fort Jackson tries to provide a little relief from the holiday doldrums by at least making sure the soldiers have a good, hearty and close to home-cooked meal.

This year the Thanksgiving meal is spread out over two days- of next week- with various unit dining facilities varying their serving times between lunch and dinner.

This schedule will allow many of the cadre to enjoy a holiday meal with their families.

This year’s menu includes; 2665 lbs. of whole turkey, 2,090 lbs. of ham, 2530 lbs. of prime rib, 475 lbs. of shrimp, 2,475 lbs. sweet potatoes, 1,435 assorted cakes and pies, as well as eggnog, cornbread dressing, savory bread dressing, giblet gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, herbed baby carrots, seasoned broccoli, green beans & mushroom casserole, potato salad, macaroni salad, calico salad, garden vegetable salad, assorted salad dressing, assorted pastries, hard candy, assorted fresh fruits, mixed nuts, coffee and tea.

Preparations are started at least one month prior to Thanksgiving. Food estimates are given to the Troop Issue Subsistence Officer (TISO) in October. The TISO contacts the prime vendor to give them enough time to acquire items to fulfill the fort’s request.

Preparations range from facility decoration, worker uniform/costume preparations, unit participation in development of the facility theme, coordinating meal periods and command servers, pre-preparation of ingredients, specialty cake decorating, ice-carvings, and throwing down in the kitchen preparing all the fixings. Typically food Service personnel establish shifts starting the night before to ensure all of the preparations are ready and on time.

Following tradition, the meal will be served by commanders, their staffs, and senior non-commissioned officers of each company as their soldiers pass through the serving line.