830 Iowa soldiers are on duty today in foreign countries, and the military’s doing its best to see that they all get a Thanksgiving dinner. National Guard spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Greg Hapgood says the Army really “goes out of its way” to see that active-duty soldiers get some good chow on special occasions. It’s not uncommon to have goodies like a roast turkey, shrimp cocktail, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing — all the holiday fixings. Hapgood’s been on active duty himself, and says in his experience, the Army “goes all the way” to make a soldier feel as hospitable as possible during a holiday when they’re separated from their loved ones. He says it’s “amazing” the logistics that go into play to get fresh turkeys to Yugoslavia, Iraq or Afghanistan, but they really strive to get every soldier “a little bit of home” during the holiday season. And it’s not just holiday meals they’ll serve up when they can. Families of Iowa’s 20 soldiers in Afghanistan were going to send care packages to them with a delegation preparing to visit there. The troops sent word that actually what they’d really like was steak and sweetcorn, so the commanders back home figured out how to freeze some sweetcorn and pack steaks in dry ice. It was all delivered to the Iowans in the war zone, and Hapgood says “they had a real cookout.” He says the soldiers really appreciated it. In addition to the 830 Iowans in the war zone today, there are 600 training here in the U.S., in preparation to head for the Persian Gulf sometime after the first of the year.
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