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FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (AP) _ Fort Leonard Wood is once again preparing for a traditional feast that serves thousands of Thanksgiving meals.

Food program manager William Moffitt says his team and a food service contractor will provide nearly 12,000 meals during a lunch-time celebration Thursday and more than 35,00 meals throughout the day.

More than 300 food service workers will cook five tons of turkey, 1,100 pounds of shrimp, 3,500 pounds of beef and more than 2,000 assorted pies.

Moffitt says it’s the best meal of the year and brings together a wide variety of brigades and branches of service.

Family and friends are welcome to join their military member in their assigned dining facility, and veterans and military retirees also are welcome from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.