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JBER senior leaders continue tradition of serving soldiers Thanksgiving meal

Installation follows CDC guidelines, COVID-19 mitigation standards and extends hours to keep holiday tradition alive
Published: Nov. 25, 2020 at 5:04 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - For as long as most people can remember, during the Thanksgiving holiday, U.S. Army senior leaders have always served Thanksgiving Day meals to soldiers and their families.

“This is a tradition that I have experienced in the Army in my 24 years and what we aim to do is create an atmosphere of family for our soldiers,” Alex Kupratty, command sergeant major for the 4-25 Airborne Infantry Brigade Combat Team, said.

While the tradition continues this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way it’s performed.

“So we’re adhering to the CDC standards right now,” Kupratty said. “Maintaining a good space and the right amount of people. What we’ve done is we’ve increased the hours, that way, everyone on this installation is able to come here, it’s up to 6:00 p.m. at this time.”

The senior leaders started serving meals to soldiers, paratroopers, airmen and their families at noon.

“Each battalion usually has a time from 30 minutes to an hour,” Kupratty said. “Those guys will try to line up and get fed. Every hour that will change and the next battalion will come in. We’ll go through the entire brigade in that way, then we’ll hit up the rest of the unit on the installation the same way.”

Like many COVID-19-altered events, it may not be the same, but to push forward with the event still means something to everyone.

“This really is a means to give back to our soldiers,” commander of the 4-25 ICBT, Col. Christopher Landers, said. “We do that every day, we come to work for our soldiers but serving Thanksgiving meals is a real overt way of demonstrating that to our soldiers. It’s awesome and given the COVID environment we’ve been living in, I think it makes it more meaningful this year.”

To put the event on is an entire team effort and couldn’t be done without the constant cleaning performed throughout the day by the kitchen crew.

On Thursday, the Air Force will perform the holiday tradition on the Elmendorf side of the installation. Meals will be served from 10:30 a.m. until around 3:00 p.m.

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