U.S. military troops deployed overseas will receive more than 250,000 pounds of Thanksgiving food on a “take-out” basis, as the Department of Defense cuts traditional holiday gatherings in mess halls to prevent the spread of coronavirus among residents. military.
Instead of the standard group meeting in the dining rooms, service members stationed in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Korea, Japan, Qatar, and Honduras, among others, will enjoy their meals from Thanksgiving this year as take out. take out, ”the Pentagon said Tuesday.
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The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), which coordinates the annual holiday meal, shipped 9,000 whole turkeys, 51,000 pounds of roast turkeys, 74,000 pounds of beef, 21,000 pounds of ham, 67,000 pounds of shrimp, 16,000 pounds of sweet potatoes, 19,000 pounds of pies and cakes and 7,000 gallons of eggnog.
“The holidays will be very different this year for everyone,” said the army brigadier. General Gavin Lawrence, DLA troop support commander, said in a statement. “I am proud that our troops are doing everything they can to ensure that our fighters receive a good holiday meal, especially since many of us will not be able to be with our family and friends. We want to make sure they taste like home, no matter where they are in the world. “
There have been nearly 75,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus among members of the U.S. military. More than 46,000 have recovered; 821 were hospitalized and 11 died as a result, according to cumulative DOD totals last updated Monday at 6 a.m. EST.
DLA, which has provided country kitchens, restaurants and galleys around the world for more than 50 years, said it began coordinating with vendors as early as March to have Thanksgiving shipments arrive to troops between mid-October. and mid-November. The agency provides the US military with $ 19 billion a year in food, uniforms, protective gear and other vital items.
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“Our supply chain takes vacations very seriously,” said Army Col. Eric McCoy, director of DLA troop support livelihoods. “Our troops are far from home and they are looking forward to this meal. Disappointing them is not an option.”
As of 5:00 a.m. EST Thursday, the Pentagon improved its health protection conditions to account for the steadily increasing COVID-19 cases and positive test results on the Pentagon storeroom since late August, as well as a steady increase in cases in the National Capital Region since mid-September.
Under the condition of Bravo-Plus health protection, at least 60% of the workforce is expected to work remotely. For DOD employees who will show up in person, random entry checks will be in effect at 5-15% and food courts will only offer take-out. All visitors will continue to be screened. Cloth masks also remain mandatory and the use of public transport and carpooling to get to work is not recommended.
On his first international trip as head of the Department of Defense, Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller is traveling this week to the Middle East to “meet with service members to express gratitude for selfless service to the nation by them and their families and wish them a Happy Thanksgiving holiday, ”according to a press release.
Miller is also expected to meet with U.S. commanders and host nation leaders to discuss the security interests and priorities of countering violent extremism and countering malicious activity that threatens the sovereignty and stability of the region.
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Last week, a senior Pentagon official, retired Brigadier General Anthony Tata, tested positive for COVID-19 following a meeting with Lithuanian Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis. Tata had just assumed the role of Under-Secretary of Defense for Politics on November 10.