The day of thankful feasting is upon us, and Fort Leonard Wood dining facilities expect to feed some 10,000 troops a celebratory Thanksgiving meal.
But, to ensure no hungry soul goes without a meal, the post’s dining facilities plan on serving 26,000 meals throughout the day to troops and family members.
For this day to be a success, it takes quite a bit of preparation, patience and coordination.
“It is one of the most challenging and enjoyable days of the year,” said William Moffitt, Installation Food Program manager. “It takes a team effort and true care from our food service professionals to put this meal out.”
Moffitt estimates that more than four tons of turkey, 1,000 pounds of shrimp, 3,000 pounds of rib eye and more than 1,800 assorted pies are slated to be served at Fort Leonard Wood Thanksgiving Day. There is a tremendous amount of effort that goes into preparing that much food, Moffitt said. More than 700 food service personnel work together to prepare this special meal.
“I start planning for the next Thanksgiving meal the day after Thanksgiving. There is always something we can do better, and we take note,” Moffitt said. “Then the logistics part starts about 90 days out from Thanksgiving until the delivery a week out and daily preparation that week,” Moffitt said. “Getting good products in — in the right quantities — is one of the first challenges. Then the actual day, managers and cooks orchestrate all the pre-planning, preparation and cooking together to come up with the final products and layout of a fine meal and atmosphere,” he said.
According to Fort Leonard Wood officials, battalion command teams, companies and cadre block off times to serve and eat with their soldiers-in-training.
“Melded in one common goal; officers and noncommissioned officers serve and greet our future war fighters to make it a truly festive day,” Moffitt said.
Moffitt said seeing the trainees’ stressful looks transition to gazes of pride, optimism and the realization of being a member of the most awesome organization is fun to see.
“This is probably the first time these soldiers have been away from their families during the holiday season. The Army is a family, and this is about the best way we as leaders can show our soldiers this,” an official said. “We as an Army family have to take time to show our service back to our soldiers. Leaders serving their soldiers this day shows our thanks and appreciation for what they do.”
It’s not just troops eating on post Thanksgiving Day —many family members choose to eat on post in order to enjoy dinner with their loved ones who are working.
Family members are invited to eat in their service members assigned dining facility, while retirees/veterans are invited to eat in the dining facility at 6111 Indiana Ave., Moffitt said. The Dauntless Diner, previously named Tony’s, is scheduled to be closed.
The Department of the Army’s 2013 Thanksgiving holiday meal rate is $7.60. All service members receiving basic allowance for subsistence, regardless of their grade/rank, are required to pay the $7.60 holiday meal rate. Guests of service members are also required to pay the $7.60 holiday meal rate. Dependents of service members in the grade of E4 and below are required to pay the discounted holiday meal rate of $6.45.
Whole Boneless Turkey 4,505 lbs
Ham 1,987 lbs
Rib Eye Steak 3,100 lbs
Shrimp P&D 1,324 lbs
Giblets 160 lbs
Whipped Topping, 16 oz 512 oz
Egg Nog 1,122 qt
Pumpkin Pie 456 ea
Apple Pie 162 ea
Cherry Pie 174 ea
Peach Pie 144 ea
Sweet Potato Pie 198 ea
Pecan Pie 246 ea
Mincemeat Pie 144 ea
Shell Nuts 400 lbs
Mixed Nuts 372 lbs
Cocktail Sauce 114 qt
Banana Cake 8 ea
Cheese Cake 48 ea
German Choc Cake 8 ea
Orange Cake 8 ea
Butterscotch Candy 342 lbs
Toffee Candy, assorted 544 lbs
tarlight Mints 432 lbs
Gourds (decoration) 373 ea
Indian Corn (decoration) 304 ea
Pumpkins (decoration) 286 ea