The Mission Command Center on Clay Kaserne presents a holiday series of displays in the foyer. At the end of November, a Thanksgiving food traditions feature is displayed.
“We are putting these exhibits of the different holidays to show the Soldiers and civilians who work here USAREUR’s (U.S. Army Europe and Africa) past history on these holidays,” said Fred Adolphus, the museum curator. “The Army during the Thanksgiving of 1944 made it a point to provide the GIs with Thanksgiving turkey.”
For the Americans, Thanksgiving is one of the most important holidays, he said. The Army wanted to provide the Soldiers at the front with a real Thanksgiving meal, and sent thousands of turkeys to Europe. They were alive and were prepared locally.
“It was important to the troops’ morale that they get their Thanksgiving turkey,” Adolphus said.
In addition to the pictures of the troops with their Thanksgiving meals, the display shows pictures of Soldiers eating their normal meals at the front lines, and k-rations – the combat rations, he said.
“We show pics of cigarettes and coffee and canned meat and biscuits,” he said. They also have an original World War II canteen and cup and a Soldier’s mess kit on display.
“We show how they ate in the field,” Adolphus said.