FORT BENNING, Ga. (WTVM) - One day out of the year around Thanksgiving, a common tradition takes place at Fort Benning.
The chain of command at Fort Benning, consisting of senior officers and non-commissioned officers, serve the junior enlisted.
“This is a time that we want them to see that we are part of a team altogether and here during the holidays thinking of everyone and taking care of each other,” said 1st Sgt. Jason Ruiz.
Ronald Harrison is a veteran who spent many holidays overseas before hanging up his boots. Now, he serves Fort Benning as the dining facilities manager.
This year, he had to take extra steps planning the Thanksgiving meal due to COVID-19.
“It used to be self-serve, but now everything has to be individualized,” Harrison said.
Soldiers coming in and out of the dining facility have to wear their face masks. When seated at a limited capacity table, they are able to take their masks off and enjoy the meals.
Regardless of Thanksgiving occurring in the middle of a pandemic soldiers say this meal means everything to them.
“Especially being away from our families, being able to celebrate with each other really makes a difference,” IOC Sarah Fox said.
“Oh man… it means so much to know that they can take time out of their day to dress up in their finest military uniforms to show humility and serve us,” IOC Lawrence Davis said.
“Even though we are not with our family, we have each other. We have been able to respect and know and love one another through this process. So, it’s a good feeling as well as remembering those who we have lost at the same time,” IOC Alana Booth said.
In prior years, Fort Benning offered it’s traditionary Thanksgiving meal to veterans, retirees, and family members. This year, only active-duty soldiers are allowed to eat holiday meals in the dining facility.