Supply Chain Issues Won’t Stop US Service Members From Celebrating Thanksgiving

Supply Chain Issues Won't Stop US Service Members From Celebrating Thanksgiving soldier holds plates of food Soldiers hold their plates at Fort Bragg to mark the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 22, 2021, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

By Charlie McCarthy | Thursday, 25 November 2021 11:34 AM

Global supply chain issues failed to prevent U.S. service members stationed around the world from celebrating Thanksgiving.

The Department of Defense's Logistics Agency Troop Support team began working in March on coordinating the annual Thanksgiving meal for the troops, the DOJ announced.

The department's efforts helped ensure that food got to bases internationally despite global supply chain issues caused indirectly by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have been working with our vendors well in advance of the holiday to reduce chances that the necessary items won't be available on the big day," Robin Whaley, DLA Troop Support's Subsistence chief of customer operations for the continental U.S., said in a statement.

The DLA said that service members around the world — including bases in Japan, Korea, Qatar, the Philippines, Guam, and Singapore — received an estimated:

  • 5,706 whole turkeys
  • 59,666 pounds of roasted turkey
  • 99,187 pounds of beef
  • 51,994 pounds of ham
  • 43,767 pounds of shrimp
  • 38,400 pounds of sweet potatoes
  • 68,465 pounds of pies and cakes
  • 23,461 gallons of eggnog

"The holiday meal should look more normal this year, with in-person dining returning in many locations," DLA Troop Support Commander Army Brig. Gen. Eric Shirley said. "I am so proud of the workforce here at Troop Support. They work tirelessly for months to make sure this meal happens."

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin sent a holiday message to troops on Wednesday.

"As I told troops stationed out in the Middle East this week, you are the reason the United States still enjoys its vast array of allies and partners," Austin said in a statement. "You are the reason we still field the most powerful military in human history. You and your families represent our shared sense of purpose, our dedication to democracy, and our uniquely American optimism for the future.

"Wherever this holiday finds you, please know how thankful I am for your service and for the support and love you receive from your families. Please also remember to check in on your teammates and let them know you care. Not everyone enjoys the holidays quite the same, and for many of us there will be an empty chair at the table — a reminder of loss and longing."

Austin on Wednesday spoke via video-teleconference with service members from each branch of the armed forces to extend holiday wishes. The secretary spoke with 111th Engineer Brigade, West Virginia Army National Guard; 2nd Marine Logistics Group, Task Force Quantico; USS O’Kane (DDG 77); 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, 28th Bomb Wing; and 12th Space Warning Squadron, 21st Space Wing.