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Sgt. Brad Nix of the 644th Transportation Company grabs a Thanksgiving dinner Thursday at Logistics Support Area Anaconda, Iraq. Troops across the country had a chance to enjoy a traditional turkey dinner.

Sgt. Brad Nix of the 644th Transportation Company grabs a Thanksgiving dinner Thursday at Logistics Support Area Anaconda, Iraq. Troops across the country had a chance to enjoy a traditional turkey dinner. (Ron Jensen / S&S)

Sgt. Brad Nix of the 644th Transportation Company grabs a Thanksgiving dinner Thursday at Logistics Support Area Anaconda, Iraq. Troops across the country had a chance to enjoy a traditional turkey dinner.

Sgt. Brad Nix of the 644th Transportation Company grabs a Thanksgiving dinner Thursday at Logistics Support Area Anaconda, Iraq. Troops across the country had a chance to enjoy a traditional turkey dinner. (Ron Jensen / S&S)

Command Sgt. Maj. Ed Whittington of the 172nd Corps Support Group serves up turkey dinner Thursday at Logistics Support Area Anaconda, Iraq.

Command Sgt. Maj. Ed Whittington of the 172nd Corps Support Group serves up turkey dinner Thursday at Logistics Support Area Anaconda, Iraq. (Ron Jensen / S&S)

Three soldiers from the 369th Transportation Company — from left, 1st Sgt. David Dibble, Spc. David Kingsland and Staff Sgt. Ken Colson — toast the holiday Thursday at a dining facility at Logistics Support Area Anaconda.

Three soldiers from the 369th Transportation Company — from left, 1st Sgt. David Dibble, Spc. David Kingsland and Staff Sgt. Ken Colson — toast the holiday Thursday at a dining facility at Logistics Support Area Anaconda. (Ron Jensen / S&S)

LOGISTICS SUPPORT AREA ANACONDA, Iraq — Thanksgiving.

Give thanks.

Thanksgiving in Iraq.

Hey, thanks. Thanks a lot.

“It kind of stinks,” said Pvt. 1st Class Clifton Thompson, a mechanic with 1st Brigade, 25th Base Support Battalion.

He’d rather be back home in Olympia, Wash. He’d be deer hunting with his father. Then he’d eat a big meal. Then he’d watch football. Then he’d sleep.

Instead, he’s in a chow line. In Iraq. At LSA Anaconda’s largest dining facility.

Thanksgiving. Give thanks.

“It’s like another duty day,” said Tech Sgt. Tim Dorman of the 732nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron.

He, too, is in line. The sun is shining on the dust. He’s not home in Virginia. They’re smoking a turkey there. He’d help eat it. Watch football. Take a nap. Get up. And eat dessert. Again.

The dining facility looks nice. Some big colorful cakes declare in icing “Happy Thanksgiving.” There’s a house made of crackers. Colorful bunting. In autumn colors. Brown and orange.

It’s festive. It’s Thanksgiving-like.

They piled it on. KBR brought 200,000 pounds of turkey, 45,000 pounds of stuffing and 25 tons of mashed potatoes to Iraq.

Thanksgiving in Iraq.

“Right now, my family’s getting together at my brother’s house. He lives in Fort Walton, (Fla.),” said Master Sgt. Philip Gaylord, 732nd Expeditionary Mission Support Group.

He’s not there. He’s in Iraq.

Sgt. Jimmy Billingsley is a driver with the 1171st Transportation Company with the Tennessee National Guard. He’s dealing with it by playing mind games.

“We make the best out of it,” he said. “We know it’s Thanksgiving. So in our minds, we make it Thanksgiving.”

Football later. Much later. The first game is at 9 p.m. in Iraq, long after the pumpkin pie. There were 73,750 pies in theater.

Back home in Humbolt, Tenn., Sgt. Jerry Cox, also of the 1171st, would “eat till you fall down.”

He might do that here. There’re 5,000 hams to be eaten, too.

That's one thing, then, he won’t miss out on: The food.

“It just seems like another day in Iraq,” he said.

The dining facilities held a competition. Which one would be best decorated for the holiday. Ice sculptures. Big, tall cakes of several layers. Autumn colors.

Thanksgiving, you know.

The troops ate the turkey and the ham and the cranberry sauce — 25,000 pounds of cranberry sauce is in the country.

They dug into the pumpkin pie and the eggnog. Iraq was floating in 8,750 gallons of eggnog. Alcohol-free eggnog, of course.

It was a special day. A thankful day. Plenty of food. It was good, too.

“I'd be at my mother’s house right now [in Tennessee]," said Sgt. Christie Cosola of the 1171st. “That’s where they’re at. The whole family gets together.”

Not the whole family. She’s in Iraq. First in line, actually. Just happened that way.

“Like every other day around here,” she said. “I’m going home soon. That’s what I’m thinking about.”

Something to be thankful about. It’s Thanksgiving in Iraq.

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