Here's what Thanksgiving looked like for US troops at the southern border
Ryan PickrellNov 23, 2018, 23:31 IST
The Department of Defense delivered thousands of pounds of traditional Thanksgiving food to deployed units.
Thanksgiving was a "light-duty day" for US troops at the US-Mexico border, a reprieve after weeks of running razor wire and erecting barriers.
The US military personnel deployed to the border are at the center of a heated debate over immigration, as they were sent to help Customs and Border Protection secure the southern border as migrant caravans approach.
Thousands of US troops spent the Thanksgiving holiday not with their families but at the US-Mexico border, where they are awaiting the arrival of migrant caravans alongside the border patrol personnel they were deployed to support and, if necessary, defend.
The Pentagon provided Thanksgiving meals to American troops at the border, as well as those abroad in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other parts of the world.
These 12 photos show what the holiday looked like for some of the US troops at the border.
The Department of Defense sent more than 300,000 pounds of traditional Thanksgiving food to American troops serving overseas and at the southern border, the Pentagon revealed Monday.
"Many of America's military men and women are away from home this Thanksgiving, making sacrifices to secure our freedom and to protect our southern border," Army Brig. Gen. Mark Simerly, Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support commander, said in a statement.
51,234 pounds of roasted turkey, 16,284 pounds of sweet potatoes, 81,360 pies, 19,284 cakes and 7,836 gallons of eggnog were sent to 270 dining facilities serving US military personnel.
Nearly 800 pounds of turkey was delivered to US troops serving along the southern border in Texas.
Thursday was a "light-duty day" for troops at the border, US Army North told reporters, explaining that the deployed military personnel would be doing little to no work during the holiday.
There are an estimated 5,800 active-duty troops currently serving at the US-Mexico border. This is in addition to the 2,100 National Guard troops who were deployed to the border in April.
The newest arrivals were deployed to the border late last month in response to White House pressure.
Critics of the deployment of troops to border areas in Texas, Arizona, and California have called it a political stunt, but Trump administration officials, including Secretary of Defense James Mattis, have rejected such accusations, insisting that the approaching migrant caravans are a threat to US national security.
"These are tough people," President Trump said earlier this week, explaining, "They know what they’re doing and they’re great, and they’ve done a great job. You’re so worried about the Thanksgiving holiday for them. They are so proud to be representing our country on the border."
The deployment is expected to last until December 15, but there is a possibility that it could be extended.
For weeks, the military has been tasked with erecting barriers at the border.
"If they have to, they're going to use lethal force," Trump said Thursday.