FORT RILEY, Kan. (WIBW) -- Army leaders are used to giving orders to those in their ranks but this Thanksgiving, they’re taking orders, serving their soldiers a holiday feast to express their gratitude for the work they do.
Thousands of 1st Infantry Division soldiers take part in the tradition each year and Wednesday, it was the Combat Aviation Brigade’s turn.
"The leadership is serving the soldiers and their families as an act of appreciation and respect and for the hard work and commitment and professionalism that our soldiers and families exert each and every day in the defense of this great nation," said Colonel Mike Morgan, Commander of the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade.
Preparations for the massive undertaking started weeks ago. Big Red One soldiers from other brigades will participate in the festivities Thursday.
Each November, the post’s dining facilities provide traditional meals as well as decorations in honor of the holiday season.
The meals are open to soldiers, family members and civilians.
Fort Riley currently has 5,000 soldiers deployed to countries around the world who will be apart from their loved ones this holiday season. Many of the Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) soldiers are also far from home.
"I’m from the Virgin Islands. This is my first time away from my family so it’s kind of tough but I’m holding on," said Private First Class Neandra Auguste.
The CAB soldiers are savoring this Thanksgiving meal.This time next year, they’ll be in southern Afghanistan. They’re training to deploy in late summer and have already served two previous deployments to Iraq.
"What we ask of our soldiers and families in this tremendous profession is that they do something that is greater than themselves each and every day... Certainly, over the last 10 years, these soldiers have served a great deal overseas so we cherish the time we have with our families and we encourage our soldiers and their families to enjoy these opportunities," Colonel Morgan told WIBW.