Troops home from Iraq & other reasons to give thanks on Thanksgiving
This year, the Defense Department plans to deliver about 168,000 pounds of turkey – including roughly 6,000 whole birds – to troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait. Also being delivered: 37,800 pounds of stuffing, 43,560 pounds of sweet potatoes and 34,560 pies, plus some other dishes.
But for the military’s logisticians, the ultimate challenge this year has been pinning down how many meals to send to Iraq, as Iraqi and American officials negotiated over the size of the U.S. troop presence there.
Those talks collapsed in October, leading to the decision to pull out virtually all U.S. troops by Dec. 31. Planning for the Thanksgiving meal typically begins during the summer.
“We were very concerned about what number to use,” said Rich Faso of the Defense Logistics Agency.
Whether by “sheer genius or a little bit of luck,” Faso said, DLA feels pretty good about its planning for Iraq, where an estimated 20,000 troops still remain, not counting the tens of thousands of contractors and Defense Department civilian employees. (Click HERE for article)
Arizona soldiers get a big welcome home
Michael Ramirez, 8, had been waiting for his father to return from Iraq for a year. He wasn’t going to wait a second longer when he saw Sgt. Rod Ramirez marching home Wednesday.
Michael ran up to his father and hugged him as the last Arizona Army National Guard unit in Iraq returned home just in time for Thanksgiving.
“I was just trying to stay in formation, and he ran out. It surprised me, but it was a nice surprise,” said Rod, a Phoenix resident.
Elsi Ramirez, Rod’s wife and Michael’s mother, said her son was too fast for her to stop his gesture of heartfelt love during a homecoming ceremony.
“It feels like Santa came home,” Elsi said. “It’s like Christmas already.”
The 39 members of Company F of 1-168th Air Traffic Control Squadron weren’t scheduled to return home until sometime in December. With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, officials at Fort Hood, Texas, weren’t able to obtain commercial airline tickets, but the Arizona Air National Guard came to the rescue by sending a plane to pick them up.
Spc. Matthew Linton, 23, a Guard member from north Phoenix, appreciated the extra level of respect.
“It’s definitely an awesome feeling. I made it home for my mother’s birthday,” Linton said. “Initially, we thought it was a bus ride.”
Nona Linton, 55, was thrilled, just like all the other family members who had endured a long, anxious year worrying about their loved ones in Iraq. (Click HERE for article)
Troops leaving Iraq is reason to give thanks
(Delaware County Daily Times) – November 23, 2011 – Thanksgiving is upon us, which means many Americans will sit down at the dinner table Thursday with their families and enjoy a festive meal.