Something was a little different near the entrance of Camp Phoenix today. We noticed that the regular soldiers that were on guard duty were not there. In fact, their superiors, officers and other high-ranked officials took their shift, so that their group of soldiers could eat thanksgiving together.
After waiting in line, we finally entered the dining hall, where a feast was prepared for the soldiers. There was everything for soldiers to make them feel closer to home. There was turkey, roast beef, gravy, mashed potatoes, and a few dozen of other things that one would want to have on Thanksgiving Day. The main thanksgiving food was giving to us as we were in line, not by employees of the Dining Hall, but by Colonels & Lieutenants, etc. It is somewhat of a tradition...they were serving their fellow men.
These guys have tough work everyday, and it's nice to know that they were taken cared of on this American holiday. It did not take me long to get stuffed after we started eating, there was just so much food, including dessert.They had amazing decorations all around the dining hall, including a cake that looked like the white-house.
I saw a group of high-ranked French soldiers whom came to the event and ate (I know in America, the term "French Army" is like a mirage, but yes they do exist), and it was fun to see them "act" in their typical french ways (for those who do not know, I grew up in France). One of the food decoration had a display of pastries, but one of the French guys did not see the sign, and brought back one of the brioche to eat. To his surprise, he knocked it on the table, realizing it was plastic. It was pretty funny. Also later on, one of them made the mistake to knock off one of these "pilgrim" displays, making a huge loud noise. Everything stopped for a split second and everybody looked at the event, almost ready to point their gun. I gotta say, these Soldiers are never on stand-by, even while eating on a safe secure U.S. camp in a dining hall, they're still very alert. It was impressive. Scary, funny, but impressive.
I noticed that a set of world clocks were on the wall, including NEW YORK, LONDON, and get this: TEXAS (I think it may have to do something with the President).
The crowd consisted of Soldiers (mostly Americans of course), NGOs, and contractors. The food was provided by KBR, a subcontract of Halliburton. In the short-run, it makes sense for U.S. Army to contract food to companies like Halliburton (sometimes when you want a Cook, you just want him to cook, you don't need him to learn how to kill), but only in the short-run. If you plan on keeping a camp for more than 3 years, then it no longer become cost-efficient.
Outside, on our way back to the car, we stopped by the running track, and we saw some soldiers were playing a "thanksgiving football game". Looks like they had a game of flag football going on between the US Navy + US Marine versus the US Army". They looked like they were having fun, although their style of flag football looked a lot like rugby to me, by the way they were tackling!
For these soldiers to be away from their wives, husbands, children and parents is hard as it is, but on big holidays, it makes it even harder (and I'm not even mentioning those on patrol today). Glad to see some of them were having a good time, eating a big thanksgiving meal with their fellow men.