Soldiers celebrate Thanksgiving Day Striker-style

3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Story by Sgt. Jerry Saslav

Date: 11.27.2008
Posted: 11.27.2008 16:57
News ID: 26890
Soldiers celebrate Thanksgiving Day Striker-style

By Sgt. Jerry Saslav<br /> 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division<br /> <br /> BAGHDAD – It was so cold you could see your breath as approximately 60 Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division —Baghdad, gathered on Forward Operating Base War Eagle in Baghdad's Adhamiyah District for a trot ... a 5K Turkey Trot early Thanksgiving morning.<br /> <br /> For most Americans, Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and friends, eat too much food, take a nap, watch football, eat some more and watch more football.<br /> <br /> "For a holiday that's about ... overconsumption, it's important that we counterbalance that a little bit with physical training," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Radcliffe, a native of Spring, Texas, a military policeman serving as a squad leader with the Military Police Platoon, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Special Troops Battalion, 3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B.<br /> <br /> Americans from Santa Cruz, Calif., to Detroit, Mich., to St. Petersburg, Fla., also participated in Turkey Trots. <br /> <br /> At 9 a.m. the Soldiers observed another holiday tradition.<br /> <br /> "It's Thanksgiving, what else are we going to do besides eat turkey and play some football," said 1st Sgt. David Gonzalez, a native of Pueblo, Colo., who serves as the senior enlisted leader for Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B. "Since we can't be home, we give the guys the comforts of home, whatever we can."<br /> <br /> And they did play flag football ... there were so many Soldiers who wanted to play that each game was kept to two 10-minute halves with a three minute half-time. Sections played each other. There was a lot of unit pride on the field; for the winners there were bragging rights; for the losers, the chance for a rematch.<br /> <br /> The Soldiers kept playing football, even when the Thanksgiving feast was served.<br /> <br /> "This isn't about Soldiering today, this is about being a good human being," said Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, a native Hattiesburg, Miss., who serves as the commanding general of the 4th Inf. Div., and MND-B. <br /> <br /> Hammond met with the cooks and thanked them for all their hard work and work hard they did. <br /> <br /> The troops feasted on roast turkey, baked ham, prime rib, Cornish hens, eight different side dishes and seven different desserts. <br /> <br /> In keeping with a military holiday tradition, the enlisted Soldiers were served by their officers; a tradition the officers enjoyed.<br /> <br /> "Most people just put food on a plate. I'm all about presentation. You've got to get the ham with the pineapple and the cherry, placed just so in its own slot," said Capt. Mike Poaletti, a native of Virginia, Minn., who serves as the commander of the HHT, 3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., MND-B.<br /> <br /> While some Soldiers were eating, others were outside playing basketball, volleyball and of course football.<br /> <br /> By the end of the day, a few brave souls ventured out to sing Karaoke and say goodbye to the holiday.<br /> <br /> It started with a few Soldiers, and slowly more started to come forward.<br /> <br /> "Only in the military can you sing Karaoke sober and get away with it," said one Soldier.<br />