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America’s First Corps feed hundreds of soldiers

Culinary Specialists cook all night long

Leadership from across “America’s First Corps” served and ate with their soldiers during the annual Thanksgiving celebration at the Courage Inn Dining Facility on Joint Base Lewis-McChord Nov. 22, 2017. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Christopher McCullough

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In preparation for the Thanksgiving meal to be served at Courage Inn Nov. 23 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, soldiers from across America's First Corps were in the kitchen there overnight preparing food enough for 500 people.

"(Tuesday) evening we started preparing for today's lunchtime Thanksgiving feast for the soldiers," said Sgt. 1st Class Julio Quintanilla, Courage Inn's Noncommissioned Officer in Charge from Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, I Corps. "We cooked up all the meats, some of the vegetables and starches, so that we could just come in today and set up the line. We also decorated the dining facility for today's celebration."

Commanders, and members of their staff, served the soldiers who attended from across I Corps -- 201st Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade, 51st Signal Battalion, 62nd Med, HHBn I Corps -- as well as their family members and civilians across JBLM.

"This is like our Super Bowl, so we like to make sure that we get some of the foods the soldiers don't get to eat on a regular basis," Quintanilla said. "For instance, today we have salmon as well as rotisserie chicken that we're preparing in addition to all the usual Thanksgiving fare."

In preparation for this afternoon's feast, cooks from across I Corps prepared over two dozen turkeys, a dozen roast beef "steamships," as well as eight hams and 250 servings of salmon; and that was just the main course!

"We're prepared to serve over 500 soldiers, their families, and civilians," Quintanilla said. "We like to serve as much as we can for their Thanksgiving meal, because for some of the soldiers, this may be their first time away from home at Thanksgiving and we want to make sure they have everything they need, just like at home."

The Culinary Specialists from Courage Inn didn't disappoint. Their Thanksgiving meal was served beginning at 11 a.m. and continued through 2 p.m. It was open to all persons with base-access -- active-duty, Reserves, National Guard, DoD civilians, contractors and family members -- and meal card holders ate free. Non-meal card holders paid $9.10, which was a bargain for all the great food served Wednesday; a true taste of home on JBLM.

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