Breedlove serves Thanksgiving meal to US, Latvian troops
By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 26, 2015
DAZI TRAINING AREA, Latvia — Sgt. 1st class Hector Ramos stood in a long line for Thanksgiving dinner at this Latvian military base, feeling grateful.
“It is great to have a little bit of home when we are out here,” said the 3rd Infantry Division soldier.
On Thursday, about 200 soldiers along with several hundred Latvian troops chowed down for a feast, with turkey served by NATO’s supreme allied commander, clad in a plastic apron.
“You are making a difference here” Gen. Philip Breedlove told the troops during a visit on Thursday.
U.S. Ambassador to Latvia Nancy Bikoff Pettit also provided an extra hand.
Breedlove who was winding up a three-day tour through the Baltics and Poland, thanked the troops for their sacrifice.
Holidays away from home are hard, but the mission is essential, Breedlove said.
For soldiers, this turkey day had all the trimmings — cranberry sauce, mashed potaotes and pumpkin pie.
Capt. Stephen Vadovsky, a U.S. soldier assigned to the embassy in Riga, said the chance to dine with so many Americans is a rarity.
“We didn’t expect to have Thanksgiving like this. So to be served by the general and the ambassador and be with all these soldiers is special,” he said.
American and Latvian troops line up for a Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015, at a training base outside of Riga, Latvia. U.S. soldiers have been a steady presence in the Baltics as part of an effort to reassure allies in the region unnerved by Russian aggression in Ukraine.
JOHN VANDIVER/STARS AND STRIPES