MILITARY MATTERS: Thanksgiving Dinner - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

MILITARY MATTERS: Thanksgiving Dinner

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FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) -

Preparing a meal for 500 guests is not easy, but three members of the 11th Engineer Battalion at Ft. Benning, Ga. make it seem that way.

We caught up with the trio on a Tuesday night as they began working on the battalion's pre- Thanksgiving meal.

"We put in probably six hours to begin with", said Spec. Charles Rivero. "And then we go home, get a couple hours of sleep and come in here and serve everyone their Thanksgiving meal."

All three are food specialists who cook for the battalion on a daily basis.

They volunteered for the shift, which began at 7pm, long after everyone else had gone home.

"We put pride into our work every day, no matter what we do", said Sgt. Kasey Kastenbaum. "But when it comes to Thanksgiving this is more like our Super Bowl. We get our passion by watching other people being satisfied with our food."

Those who enjoyed the meal probably didn't know that a majority of the work was done by just three soldiers.

"I really don't think they realize that", said Pvt. Ervin Martinez. "They just think that everybody is here right now, but it's just us three."

Each man has his own duties, and the cooking is done systematically. 

Turkeys and hams go into the ovens first, set at 350 degrees.  Since basting keeps the bird moist, melted butter is drizzled over the turkeys.

Veggies don't take much prep time, so they aren't prepared until the morning of the meal.

The payoff is seeing soldiers and their families enjoying a feast prepared with a lots of love by the three amigos of the 11th Engineer Battalion.

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