FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. – They spend $40,000,000 feeding the troops each year at Fort Leonard Wood. The most important meal served each year may be Thanksgiving.
With 10,000 troops to feed, fort staff begins planning for the big day two months in advance.
“In order to get all the products you need, we have to make sure it’s available in the logistic supply chain,” said Bill Moffitt, the installation’s food program manager.
It’s a numbers game: 3 tons of turkey, 2,000 pounds of beef, 1,200 pounds of shrimp, and thousands of cakes and pies are served. The recipes are not just like moms, they come from the US Department of Defense.
“This being a basic training installation, there’s a real strict nutritional guideline,” Moffitt said.
The chefs and cooks, a total of 300 food workers, add something special to each meal — care and compassion.
“They’re missing home so we bring home to them,” said Tanya Roberts, a cook at the fort.
Roles are reversed on this day as senior leaders serve the newly enlisted.
“Put your soldiers first and show them we do care about them,” said First Sgt. Jesse Cody.
Staff Sgt. Josh Kimrey is from Farmington. He’s been serving our country for 9 years. He knows what this meal means to his fellow warriors.
“It brings a piece of home to the soldiers here that are away from their families for such a long time,” he said.
The cooks will get a break for Christmas. Only one of 13 dining halls will be open. Most of the people get to go home for the holidays.