Thanksgiving arrived early at Fort Jackson.
Nearly 1,200 soldiers at Fort Jackson descended upon a dining facility on the base for a pre-Thanksgiving meal on Wednesday.
Following tradition, the meal is served by commanders, their staff and senior non-commissioned officers of each company as their soldiers pass through the line.
"Serving us was a bit of a shock," says Savionne Baylock, soldier trainee. "But it’s nice to see that they’re taking initiative and feeding us on this Thanksgiving. Today is just one of those days you can dig in and fill your belly up and not have to worry about it."
Second cycle soldier trainee James Coleman says, "It was good because it feels like the drill sergeants and the commanders know what we’re going through, because they want to be home with their families, too! This is our second family, so to speak."
Teresa Brown, who has helped organize and prepare the meal for nearly 3 decades, says it's a blessing to be a blessing to the soldiers. "I’ve been out here 29 years, and I love feeding the soldiers," says Brown. "Seeing the expression on their faces. And I meet different people every day. They got awesome stories to tell you. I’ve seen soldiers come through that come back as drill sergeants. So, I see them come and go."
Soldier trainee Issac Guillama said, "Everyone kinda slowed down and we’re allowed to talk and usually we’re not allowed to talk. So, we’ve been kinda socializing and getting to know each other more, and I think it’s just a nice occasion all around."
The Fort serves several dishes, including over 500 pounds of ham and over 950 pounds of turkey.