A Vietnam War Thanksgiving

Conflict: Vietnam

 

Members of Co D, 116th Engr Bn (Cbt), are served Thanksgiving dinner at the base camp. 27-28 November 1968.

Members of Co D, 116th Engr Bn (Cbt), are served Thanksgiving dinner at the base camp. 27–28 November 1968.

During the Vietnam War, the military tried to provide as many troops as possible with a hot, traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Accomplishing this sometimes meant the meals had to be prepared at a base and then flown by helicopter to soldiers serving in more remote places. In other areas of Vietnam, the meal was served to the Americans a few days before or after the holiday, depending on the intensity of fighting. But besides the meal, Thanksgiving was often business as usual, and after eating, the men resumed their duties and missions.

Below is a selection of photos that showcase some Thanksgiving dinners during the war, from Fold3’s Vietnam War Army photos collection:

SP5 John L. Cooper of Hqs Co., 12th Inf Regt., 3rd Bde, 4th Inf Div., loads marmite cans filled with the Thanksgiving Day meal for D Co., located at Landing Zone St. George. 27 Nov 69.

SP5 John L. Cooper of Hqs Co., 12th Inf Regt., 3rd Bde, 4th Inf Div., loads marmite cans filled with the Thanksgiving Day meal for D Co., located at Landing Zone St. George. 27 Nov 69.

SP4 Robert Brodersen Hq Co, 12th Inf Regt, 3rd Bde, 4th Inf Div, loads the Thanksgiving Day meal on a UH1D helicopter that will take it to LZ St. George. 27 Nov 69.

SP4 Robert Brodersen, Hq Co, 12th Inf Regt, 3rd Bde, 4th Inf Div, loads the Thanksgiving Day meal on a UH1D helicopter that will take it to LZ St. George. 27 Nov 69.

Members of Det “A”, 5th Special Forces Group, located north of Saigon in War Zone D, are served their Thanksgiving Day dinner a little in advance of “Turkey-Day”. With two regiments of North Vietnamese Regulars in the vicinity, it is unlikely the men will have a quiet Thanksgiving Day. Prepared at a distant base, the complete hot meal was flown in by helicopter during a lull in the fighting.

Members of Det “A”, 5th Special Forces Group, located north of Saigon in War Zone D, are served their Thanksgiving Day dinner a little in advance of “Turkey-Day”. With two regiments of North Vietnamese Regulars in the vicinity, it is unlikely the men will have a quiet Thanksgiving Day. Prepared at a distant base, the complete hot meal was flown in by helicopter during a lull in the fighting.

L-R: PFC Victor R. Sheets; SP4 Jim L. Barstad; and SP4 Clint R. Bath of D Co., 12th Inf Regt., 3rd Bde, 4th Inf Div, enjoy their Thanksgiving Day dinner at LZ St. George. 27 November 69.

L-R: PFC Victor R. Sheets; SP4 Jim L. Barstad; and SP4 Clint R. Bath of D Co., 12th Inf Regt., 3rd Bde, 4th Inf Div, enjoy their Thanksgiving Day dinner at LZ St. George. 27 November 69.

SP/4 Ron Dillon, rifleman, B Co, 2nd Bn, 8th Cav, 1st Air Cav Div, shares his turkey dinner in the field with a dog who had wandered in for the occasion. 10 Nov 1967.

SP/4 Ron Dillon, B Co, 2nd Bn, 8th Cav, 1st Air Cav Div, shares his turkey dinner in the field with a dog who had wandered in for the occasion. 10 Nov 1967.

A member of the Air Cav Div eats a turkey drumstick while having Thanksgiving in the field. 10 Nov 1967.

A member of the Air Cav. Div. eats a turkey drumstick while having Thanksgiving in the field. 10 Nov 1967.

Find more photos of Thanksgiving during the Vietnam War in Fold3’s Photos – Vietnam War Army.