Veterans share Thanksgiving deployment stories


The holidays aren’t always an easy time for service members, many of whom have spent at least a few of them deployed rather than in the company of family. Though it can be tough to celebrate Turkey Day on base, someplace thousands of miles from home, some veterans may, upon reflection, look fondly back at those experiences and what they did to make the best of them.

For some, it’s about the people who shared the day.

Most memorable was bringing Miss America to Kuwait in 2016. 🦃 I always enjoy the family dining with service teammates, US and International. It’s a special experience to share together. Iraq 04, Iraq 06, Afghanistan 09, Afghanistan 12, Iraq 15. 🦃🇺🇸🦃🇺🇸

— Heather Reilly (@AA_ATW) November 25, 2020

Others, meanwhile, thrived on a little spirited competition.

Nov 2008. North Fort Hood, there leading 1st FST. The DiFACs had a contest to outdo one another, and my small group of dedicated NY Reserve Soldiers got treated to a real feast. Food was great, deserts/pie over the top. Decorations incredible. A special day before going to Iraq.

— Dr. Nelson Rosen (@nelson_rosen) November 24, 2020

And while some stories about deployed holidays center on the bad food, others managed to secure themselves a feast.

This was Thanksgiving at COP Restrepo, 2008. They tried to give us canned turkey but as you can see that didn’t happen. We had all the fixings and plenty of left overs for all to enjoy.

— Edward O (@r_edward2018) November 24, 2020

Unless of course, you’re this guy, who fell asleep before he could return for seconds.

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Not much to tell.

374th R. R. C., 4th I. D., Camp Enari.

Had the meal.

It was good.

Went to lay down for a nap. With plans, to go back for more. Slept so long, they had stop serving.

— Nick Plessas (@NickASAVet) November 24, 2020

Share your holiday deployment experiences with us. Email photos and stories to


Sarah Sicard is the Digital Editor of Military Times. She previously served as Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, Defense News, Fast Company, Business Insider and AdWeek.

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