Here's what Thanksgiving looked like for US troops at the southern border

Tamir Kalifa/Getty ImagesUS soldiers deployed to the US-Mexico border served a Thanksgiving meal to fellow troops at a base near the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge on Thursday in Donna, Texas. Culinary specialists prepared 34 turkeys along with a full Thanksgiving buffet for the hundreds of troops stationed between Donna and Weslaco, Texas.
  • The Department of Defence 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 against migrant caravans.

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 defend from harm.

The Pentagon provided traditional Thanksgiving meals to American troops at the border as well as those abroad in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other parts of the world.

These photos show what the holiday looked like for some of the US troops at the border.


The Department of Defence sent more than 300,000 pounds of traditional Thanksgiving food to American troops serving overseas and at the southern US border, the Pentagon said Monday.

Tamir Kalifa/Getty ImagesCulinary specialists preparing turkeys as part of a Thanksgiving meal for troops deployed to the US-Mexico border at a base near the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge on Thursday in Donna, Texas. Culinary specialists prepared 34 turkeys along with a full Thanksgiving buffet for the hundreds of troops stationed between Donna and Weslaco, Texas.

“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, the Defence Logistics Agency Troop Support commander, said in a statement.

Tamir Kalifa/Getty ImagesCulinary specialists preparing Thanksgiving turkeys for troops deployed to the US-Mexico border at a base near the Donna Port of Entry on Thursday.

“The DLA Troop Support staff and I are excited about this amazing opportunity to provide them the very best Thanksgiving meal our country has to offer,” he said.

Source: CNN


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.

Tamir Kalifa/Getty ImagesSoldiers deployed to the southern US border preparing a turkey at a base near the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge on Thursday in Donna.

Source: The Washington Post, The Hill


Nearly 800 pounds of turkey was delivered to US troops serving along the southern border in Texas.

Tamir Kalifa/Getty ImagesCulinary specialists with the Army cooking a Thanksgiving meal for fellow soldiers deployed at a base near the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge on Thursday.

Source: The Washington Post


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.

Tamir Kalifa/Getty ImagesTroops celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday at a base near the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge in Donna.

Source: The Washington Post


An estimated 5,800 active-duty troops are 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.

Tamir Kalifa/Getty ImagesSoldiers serving a Thanksgiving meal to fellow troops at a base near the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge on Thursday in Donna.

The newest arrivals were deployed to the border late last month in response to White House pressure.

Tamir Kalifa/Getty ImagesSoldiers serving a Thanksgiving meal to fellow troops at a base near the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge on Thursday in Donna.

Troops from across the country were sent to support Customs and Border Protection officials as they prepare for the impending arrival of caravans consisting of thousands of migrants from across Latin America determined to enter the US. The Trump administration sent the US military to help harden and secure the southern border.


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 Defence James Mattis, have rejected such accusations, insisting that the approaching migrant caravans are a threat to US national security.

Tamir Kalifa/Getty ImagesSoldiers at a base near the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge on Thursday in Donna.

Some observers have expressed disappointment that the US military personnel deployed to the southern border were not allowed to go home for Thanksgiving.


“These are tough people,” President Donald Trump said earlier this week, adding: “They know what they’re doing and they’re great, and they have 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.”

Tamir Kalifa/Getty ImagesSoldiers eating a Thanksgiving meal at a base near the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge on Thursday in Donna.

Source: Task & Purpose


The deployment is expected to last until December 15, but it could be extended.

Tamir Kalifa/Getty ImagesTroops at a base near the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge on Thursday in Donna.

Mattis said Wednesday that some US troops might spend Christmas as the border.

Source: Task & Purpose


For weeks, the military has been tasked with erecting barriers at the border.

Tamir Kalifa/Getty ImagesTroops at a base near the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge on Thursday in Donna, Texas.

Troops ran miles and miles of razor wire with no clarity on what the mission, previously known as “Operation Faithful Patriot” and later changed to “border support,” would look like going forward.

The White House on Wednesday authorised US troops to take protective measures, including the use of lethal force, to defend border-patrol officials from violence, expanding the mission from support to security.

Source: Business Insider


“If they have to, they’re going to use lethal force,” Trump said Thursday.

Tamir Kalifa/Getty ImagesSpecialists Krayveon Harris and Austin Garcia after eating a Thanksgiving at a base near the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge on Thursday in Donna.

Mattis said the day before that there had been no request for lethal force, that troops would not be armed, and that the military was not there to kill migrants. “Relax. Don’t worry about it,” he told reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday.

Source: Voice of America, Task & Purpose

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.