Sgt. Asa Bingham/US Army

Editor's Note: A version of this article was first published in 2016.

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Editor's Note: A version of this article was first published in 2016.

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Photo by Russell Midori

Sometimes MREs are a lifesaver. Like when you’re on Day 10 of a field op, or stuck in the middle of Afghanistan with just a bunsen burner, and a rock…or something. But they aren’t what you’d want gracing the table when it comes to Thanksgiving with your family.

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Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, and that means a crap ton of turkey. Ahh yes, these ugly, stupid, and delicious animals will die in droves, baste in their own juices, and be devoured by countless Americans come Nov. 24. Unless somebody messes up in the kitchen. No, let’s reword that. Somebody will most definitely screw up while making Thanksgiving dinner, but if we’re lucky, someone else will be on hand to record it.

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Thanksgiving morning in 2014 found me on a small Kenyan army training base outside of Nairobi. I was serving as a public affairs mentor for an African Union staff officer training course. It was hardly a foxhole Christmas, nor even my first holiday on active duty, but there was something about spending most of the day away from other Americans that was bringing me down.

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DoD photo by Jeff Hancock

Ah, Thanksgiving. It’s when we find ourselves fighting with our siblings over who is going to bring what to Turkey Day dinner, and then actually physically fighting our neighbors as we bum rush the aisles of our local shopping center in the wee hours of Black Friday. Fisticuffs aside, there are actually plenty of ways to reintroduce some charm back into the holiday. What’s my go-to strategy? Doing Thanksgiving like they used to: with a boom stick in one hand and a basket in the other.

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