The good, the bad, and the ugly of celebrating Thanksgiving while deployed

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U.S. Army Soldiers eat their Thanksgiving meal on Combat Outpost Cherkatah, Khowst province, Afghanistan, Nov. 26, 2009. The Soldiers are deployed with Company D, 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment. (U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith)

In an ideal world, Thanksgiving is spent at the dining room table, surrounded by beloved family, close friends, and good food. For U.S. service members, it's occasionally spent in the shit.


Luckily, U.S. troops are a resourceful bunch, and plenty of service members who have spent time downrange during the holidays have come away with at least some fond memories — as well as some less-than-ideal tales of dodging mortar rounds on base when they should have been dodging political conversation at the dinner table.

To that end, we asked Task & Purpose readers to share their best stories from celebrating Thanksgiving while deployed — and they came back with the good, the bad, and the ugly of their time downrange.

Here are 29 stories of mortars, meat, and merriment from T&P readers who spent the holidays downrange. Feel free to share yours in the comments below!

The GAU-5A Aircrew Self Defense Weapon (U.S. Air Force photo)

Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Air Force gunsmiths recently completed delivery of a new M4-style carbine designed to break down small enough to fit under most pilot ejection seats.

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(Navy photo / Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jess Lewis)

NEWPORT -- The Office of Naval Inspector General has cleared former Naval War College president Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley of most of the allegations of misconduct claimed to have occurred after he took command of the 136-year-old school in July 2016, The Providence Journal has learned.

Harley, in one of a series of interviews with the The Journal, called the findings "deeply gratifying." He said many of the most sensational allegations -- "offers of 'free hugs' and games of Twister in his office" -- reflected a misunderstanding of his sense of humor, which he describes as "quirky," but which he says was intended to ease tensions in what can be a stressful environment.

The allegations, reported last year by the Associated Press, prompted a national controversy that led to Harley leaving the college presidency after almost three years in office.

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A Syrian commando-in-training applies the safety on his rifle during basic rifle marksmanship training in Syria, July 20, 2019. (U.S. Army/Spc. Alec Dionne)

The U.S. government failed to effectively account for nearly $715.8 million in weapons and equipment allocated to Syrian partners as part of the multinational counter-ISIS fight, according to a new report from the Defense Department inspector general.

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REUTERS/Scott Audette/File Photo

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), has long been seen as an apologist for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, whom she met during a secret trip to Damascus in January 2017.

Most recently, a video was posted on Twitter shows Gabbard evading a question about whether Assad is a war criminal.

Since Gabbard is the only actively serving member of the military who is running for president — she is a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard — Task & Purpose sought to clarify whether she believes Assad has used chlorine gas and chemical weapons to kill his own people.

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Barrett's bolt-action Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD) system (Courtesy photo)

The Army is almost doubling its purchase of new bolt-action Precision Sniper Rifles as its primary anti-personnel sniper system of choice, according to budget documents.

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