Bagram, Afghanistan First Sgt. Betty Jones will celebrate Thanksgiving away from her family for the first time in 20 years.
Though she admits celebration might be too generous a description: At Bagram Air Base, headquarters of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, she and the 8,000 other members of the Cincinnati-based 377th Military Police Co. will have to settle for chow hall turkey and potatoes, and maybe a phone call home.
"Sure, I miss my family, my friends," says Jones, 50, a coffee-drinking, cigarette-smoking, no-nonsense woman who works as a janitor for UPS in Indianapolis when not serving in the Army. "But it'll all be there when we get back. We'll have Thanksgiving when we go home. We'll have Christmas when we go home. It'll all be there."
The chow halls at Bagram will be open this afternoon and evening, serving the usual " and some unusual " Thanksgiving fare: processed turkey roll, nonalcoholic beer and wine, corn on the cob, roast beef, shrimp cocktail and egg nog.
Troops at Bagram are more used to canned fruit and vegetables and weak coffee.
Officers will serve enlisted men throughout the day. U.S. television networks with crews stationed at the base will broadcast taped and live greetings from soldiers to their families back in the United States.