From the Fayetteville Observer:
Feeding a small army
By John Ramsey
The ovens in the 3rd Brigade mess hall stayed on from Monday night to Tuesday morning, cooking enough food to feed a small Army.
From 6 p.m. until 7 a.m., 22 cooks prepared 823 pounds of turkey, 526 pounds of ham and 319 pounds of pot roast, not to mention the boatloads of gravy, stuffing and all sorts of Thanksgiving fixings. And that was just for the 3rd Brigade Combat Team’s mess hall, one of several on Fort Bragg that will feed more than 13 tons of holiday feast food to soldiers this week.
Cornucopias in the center of the room — facing a fridge full of pumpkin pies — overflowed with grapes, bananas, walnuts and M&Ms.
In about five hours, officers in their dress blues shoveled mashed potatoes, meats and more onto the plates of about 3,000 soldiers.
Soon after mealtime began at 11 a.m., a line snaked outside and around the corner of the mess hall, a building that may see a lot less traffic come next week. That’s when the 3rd Brigade Combat Team — about 3,500 men and women who make up part of the 82nd Airborne Division — will deploy to Iraq.
Three such soldiers — all in the Brigade Support Battalion, Alpha Company — sat around a table Tuesday afternoon, the food on their plates tipping over onto their green trays.
They said the food was juicier than the usual fare, with more down-home flavor. And seeing the bosses doing the serving was an added treat.
Pfc. William Benis said sharing a Thanksgiving meal with Pvt. Lorne Russell and Pfc. Angela Santos seemed fitting.
“We’ve been in the same place, going through the same stuff for a year and a half,” Benis said. “This is family after a while.”