RAWAH, Iraq --
Deployments are hardest during the holiday season.
Marines with Civil Affairs Team 5, Detachment 1, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 5 decided to make an extra effort to celebrate Thanksgiving with all the right ingredients despite having limited resources.
“We were able to buy two turkeys and potatoes out in town, and we got some other vegetables from the chow hall,” said Sgt Mitchell S. Wilder, 25, from Boise, Idaho, who is a civil affairs Marine with CA Team 5.
Though the turkeys were not big, the Marines did not let that curb their enthusiasm for the holiday.
“The best part was just getting the turkeys and knowing we were going to be cooking them for Thanksgiving,” said Wilder. “Everyone pitched in and helped prepare the meal. We built an (outdoor) oven to cook the turkeys in, and we had to get creative with ingredients and spices because we were limited.”
The team is on a yearlong deployment in Iraq. During this deployment, they have worked closely with local key leaders to help stabilize the Iraqi infrastructure. Much of this work involves interacting with the local population of the cities and towns. This close relationship allowed the Marines to procure their thanksgiving supplies.
“We just picked them up after we finished the mission for the day and came back and started cooking,” said Cpl. Randy J. Brewer, 22, from Temple, Ga., who is the communications chief for CA Team 5.
“It was nice to do something different and have everybody cooking and helping out. Despite the face that it wasn’t at home, it felt like a regular Thanksgiving,” added Brewer. “All we were missing was a football game.”