US military troops deployed overseas won’t gather around a table on Thanksgiving this year due to the coronavirus, the Pentagon said.
Instead, service men and women will chow down on “grab-and-go style takeout,” as the Department of Defense does away with the traditional holiday feasts held in dining halls.
“The holidays will look quite different this year for everyone,” Army Brig. Gen. Gavin Lawrence, of the Defense Logistics Agency, said in a statement this week announcing the change.
The DLA has provided turkey and trimmings to field kitchens, dining facilities and galleys in the US, as well as the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Korea, Japan, Qatar, Honduras and other locations around the world for more than 50 years.
This year, the agency sent out more than 250,000 pounds of Thanksgiving food to overseas troops, including 51,000 pounds of roasted 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.
“I’m proud that our workforce is doing everything possible to make sure our warfighters get a proper holiday meal, especially since many of us will not be able to be with our family and friends,” Lawrence said. “We want to make sure they get that taste of home no matter where they are in the world.”
The switch from dining halls to a takeout Thanksgiving comes after the DOD announced it was seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases and that it would be implementing stricter prevention measures at the Pentagon.
Despite the change in venue for the Turkey Day meal, members of the military will still receive a traditional call via teleconference from President Trump, scheduled for 3 p.m.
Last year, the commander-in-chief made a surprise visit to troops stationed in Afghanistan.