TEWELEH, Djibouti -- Turkeys were flying in Djibouti November 27 when Marines of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron-464 and other staff of Camp Lemonier delivered Thanksgiving dinner here for Marines of Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/1, soldiers of the 916th Well Drilling Detachment, and other support personnel.
The 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) Marines are providing security for the first well drilling project being conducted in the northern region of Djibouti, and the third project overall being conducted by the 916th in Djibouti, according to Marine LtCol. Jerard Brewer, engineer officer, J-4, CJTF-HOA.
"They were basically the only ones in the field for the holiday season from the camp, so we went out there with the hot meal as motivation," said Brewer.
The traditional meal prepared by Kellogg, Brown and Root food service personnel who are contracted to provide all meals for Camp Lemonier, was delivered in hot food containers and included turkey, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, and apple pie, among other things.
"I was told the meal was being brought to us," said LCpl. Shawn C. Putnam, J-6, CJTF-HOA, who is spending his first Thanksgiving away from home here, "but you never know until things are here, so it's nice to get it."
"This was an opportunity for my staff section to serve them as a token of thanks for their service to CJTF-HOA," said Brewer, who mentioned despite their hard work, there were many difficulties at the first two well sights the Army Reserve well drilling detachment from Bismarck, N.D., worked at.
"They've had a rough time in the southern well digs, so it was important to provide the motivation," said Brewer.
For many of the service members at the sight, it is the first time to spend Thanksgiving away from home. The first-timers include all of the Marines except the squad leader of 1st squad, 3rd platoon, Bravo Co., part of the group that has been tasked with providing security at the well sight, according to Marine SSgt. Nicholas G. Fox, platoon sergeant, 3rd plt., Bravo Co., who went with the group to deliver the traditional holiday meal.
Several of the Marines mentioned they actual felt homesick being in the cooler temperatures that can be in the low 40 degrees in the evening and rugged, mountain terrain compared to being in the warm, coastal climate of Camp Lemonier, said Fox.
"The mountain area where they are reminds them of home," said Fox, who added many of the Marines are from Montana and Wyoming and other mountain states.
"It was important to come out here to let them know we're all in this together, being away from home," said Fox.
13th MEU Marines ashore in Djibouti will conduct training through December and return to their ships to continue their scheduled deployment, currently expected to return to Camp Pendleton in late spring 2004.
For additional information about the 13th MEU (SOC), view the official website at www.13meu.usmc.mil.