Fort Sill prepares for Thanksgiving feast

Fort Sill prepares for Thanksgiving feast

FORT SILL, Okla._Fort Sill's culinary experts are preparing for their busiest day of the year, serving up Thursday's Thanksgiving meal to hundreds of service members, their families and military retirees.

Over the last month, menus have been finalized and ingredients have been ordered, the turkeys are defrosting, side dishes are being prepared and the final touches are being made to desserts.

For many of these soldiers, they are away from their families. The workers want to make sure that morale stays high by giving those men and women a little taste of home.

"This is definitely the Super Bowl for food service. We are one of the most underappreciated MOSs in the Army. So, being in food service, this is our one day out of the year to shine," said Sgt. 1st Class Derrick Smullen, Garcia Dining Hall's director.

Sergeant 1st Class Smullen says he expects this to be a very long next 12 to 15 hours.

"We are going to make everything from our turkeys, to our prime rib, to our macaroni and cheese, to our steamed ship rounds. Pretty much by the time the first person comes through the door, the only thing they should have on their mind is food," Sgt. 1st Class Smullen.

They will have 500 pounds of turkey, 300 pounds of ham and 300 pounds of prime rib. Culinary arts instructor Staff Sergeant David Bernier says seven workers have helped him put together the deserts following a traditional theme this year.

"With that, we decided to do all the cornucopias, the traditional fall style, the Bible cakes, the cross cakes, some pilgrims and stuff like that for turkeys and they are also putting together some tee-pees in the other room," Staff Sgt. Bernier said.

New this year, Staff Sgt. Bernier says he created intricate sugar sculptures that took him more than a week to build by hand.

"Let it cool to a certain point where you can start to handle it. About 300 to 275 degrees and you start folding it and stretching it and it starts getting that shine to it. Then you are able to mold it into the shape you want," Staff Sgt. Bernier explained.

Staff Sgt. Bernier says even after all the preparation and hard work, the thing he is most looking forward to is making each soldier's Thanksgiving a positive experience.

"We are very important for morale. Anything that we can provide to help these soldiers remember home, the traditional food, the comfort stuff. They can remember what it was like to be home and just feel the love that we can give them," Staff Sgt. Bernier said.

This year, the Thanksgiving meal will only be open to Fort Sill soldiers, their dependents and retirees. It starts at 11:30 a.m. Thanksgiving and will run until 2:30 p.m. at all three dining facilities on Fort Sill.