Happy Thanksgiving

I was fortunate that I was never actually deployed during Thanksgiving. The closest I came to that was spending Thanksgiving at Graf during gunnery. 

In most units, it’s traditional for the battalion and brigade combat team leadership to head to the Dining Facility for the noon meal, which is when they serve the big turkey dinner. Seeing the colonels serving turkey in their dress blues is a bit odd, but hey, tradition. And by serving at the noon meal, they get to go home and have a traditional meal with their families.

And almost universally, they do a very good job of putting out a traditional menu- bird, dressing, gravy, cranberry, and a host of other well known dishes.

As a single troop, it was also quite common for one of my married coworkers to invite me to their home to enjoy another vast meal, a few beers, and football on the television. After all, we take care of our own.

And if you’re deployed, the Army will go to great lengths to make sure you get a real meal.

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On behalf of all of us here at XBradTC.com, Best Wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving

The “3 M’s” of morale  every commander needs to pay close attention to are:

  1. Mail
  2. Money
  3. Meals

Especially during Thanksgiving, a good hot meal is the least a commander can provide to his troops.

Imagine yourself stationed at a platoon or company sized outpost in the hinterlands of Afghanistan. In my era, most of my meals would have been MREs, with maybe one hot meal delivered in Mermite cans daily from the battalion trains in the Brigade Support Area.

But the Army in the past decade, with Brigade Combat Teams covering enormous geographical regions, centralized cooking simply isn’t practical. And for many outposts, the delivery options are either a risky ground convoy, or an expensive aerial resupply by helicopter. So many units at outposts have been augmented with a mess team to provide hot prepared meals on site. Larger outposts that have power generation may have a Containerized Kitchen as well as adequate refrigeration. Smaller, platoon sized outposts are unlikely to have such luxuries, but still often have a cook assigned.

The normal ration for these outposts is the Unitized Group Ration, or UGR. In fact, the UGR is really three separate rations.

UGR-A has perishable and semi-perishable foods, and requires an actual kitchen to prepare.

The UGR-H&S (Heat & Serve) is canned foods that simply need to be warmed prior to serving.  The Company Level Field Feeding Kitchen is well suited for this ration.

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The UGR-E is designed for even more austere environments. It contains everything for a hot meal, and the ration trays are self heating! Not only that, but a special turkey holiday meal menu is available.

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Here’s a little bit on how the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) assembles UGRs.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDo4RERPBYQ]

As you sit down with friends and family today to give thanks for all the blessings in your life, take a moment to remember those Americans deployed world wide, and especially in Afghanistan, who will not be surrounded by family, but by their brothers in arms.