Gobble Gobble

Turkey Time

Just in case you’d like to know:
Our military now: there are about 1.3 million active-duty personnel, or less than one-half of 1 percent of the U.S. population. The army is the largest U.S. military service, followed by the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

Source: Office of the Undersecretary of Defense. Jul 13, 2020.

    Experiencing the service we received in the United States Army at holiday time, was a logistical wonderment to behold. It was Thursday, November 26, 1953. We were part of the 180th Regiment of the Forty Fifth infantry division, deployed at a place in the Yongyu Valley near the 38th Parallel in North Korea. The temperature was about twenty-five to thirty-five below zero, give or take. The fighting had ceased on the 27th of July in 1953, Monday, at precisely 9:00 PM.

Top song was: “The Song from Moulin Rouge” by Percy Faith

    It was about a week or so before Thanksgiving day; from out of nowhere, in comes a team of engineers with three trucks loaded with building supplies to the point of explosion. Within one day, those guys erected a full and complete mess hall, capable of serving everyone in our company.

The prefabricated structure is known as a Quonset Hut,
a building made of corrugated metal and having a semicircular cross section.
ORIGIN: World War II, named after Quonset Point, Rhode Island, where such huts were first made.

    On the Monday preceding Thanksgiving, a large quantity of food along with a detail of cooks and bakers began arriving in the wee hours of the morning. The extra cook’s helpers had been flown in from Japan. Turkey, ham, shrimp, two or three salads, and all kinds of potatoes, along with lemon meringue, apple, and pecan pies. I honestly can’t recall what they served for hors d’oeuvres, but, I can tell you none of us were disappointed. I can’t recall the boxes of chocolate we received, but I do remember all of us had far more than we were able to consume. The only item left out was any form of hard liquor. (We were still considered a high level combat zone.)
That next day, we came to find out this was a common practice, afforded all of us serving our country, anywhere and everywhere in the world. To this day, I think about it when the traditional holidays are upon us. If it’s at all possible, our American military is made for us to feel as much at home a combat zone would permit.
    Replacing the freezing cold with the warmth of family and friends at Thanksgiving time serves as a reminder to me of how lucky a man I am today, some sixty-seven years hence. The distress caused by COVID-19 is upon us. We’re all afloat on the same boat. While our military only represent an extremely small percentage of our population, they, as well, stand together as teammates while this lousy plague continues its effect on each and every one of us as a member of the American populous. Let’s all keep it in mind. Please join me and mine, on the celebration of this wonderful day, for giving thanks. And if I may, here’s another heartfelt remembrance which manages to touch my soul, thinking back to what was a very personal day in the life and times of yours truly:

Thursday, November 26, 1953
Sharing my short remembrance:

More gently than imagined
Dinner had slowed to a savoring state
Many smiles adorned, pleased faces

Our company Chaplin led a prayer
Giving thanks for this joyous meal
A final few words
The Chaplin stepped away

Hey Rod, where’s that record player of yours
One of the guys called out
We knew he had it close by
Not a shock to me, it was under his seat

Rod set the “phono” in place
I stood alongside, smiling
Awaiting my favorite song to begin
Hand cranking completed, the needle in place

Never foreign for Rod and me
When he played Roy Hamilton
All around, listened

1953 Thanksgiving was special
At the moment, Rod and da harv were standing
The music began, and I remember
My eyes were closed during this festival

The first bar of music, a gentle call to arms sounding
Without any musical signal
All buddies, around me began to stand
Rod and I were deeply enthralled

We began to sway to the sound
Our comrades joined in that Thanksgiving Day
It was November 26, 1953

We all listened, as Roy Hamilton musically reminded us:
“We would never walk alone”

One hundred men, not walking alone!
Swaying in place as one

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of a storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark
Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone
Oscar Hammerstein II / Richard Rodgers

It was November 26, 1953
It was a very special day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *