Traditional Thanksgiving meal for newcomers at Camp Casey, South Korea
Life 11 miles from the DMZ at Camp Casey is not easy. Throw in the constant rotation of nearly 60% of the 6,000 soldiers stationed here every nine months and it becomes that much more challenging. With all major rotational units changing over in the month of October there are quick and difficult adjustments made by brave young soldiers, many of whom arrive on their first overseas deployment.
Not only is it difficult to acclimate to a foreign land, but also, the separation from family and loved ones right before the holiday season is even more stressful. No one realizes this more than the USO Casey staff, “Our mission is to strengthen America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country.”
USO Casey Center Manager, Tom Higgins, stated: “We are also very fortunate to have two dedicated staff members on board that are committed to helping soldiers. Ms. Hye Suk Harper, USO Casey Operations Manager, and Ms. Jieun Song, USO Casey Programs Manager, put in numerous hours to ensure all newcomers to the community enjoyed a full traditional Thanksgiving Lunch at our center on 21 November 2018. Nearly 500 patrons were served a full course Thanksgiving lunch consisting of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, grits, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and much, much more!!!!
Ms. Harper’s cooking ability is well known throughout the community and Ms. Song’s planning and organization contributed to one of the best holiday programs USO Casey has provided this year and there is no Army installation that needs these Quality of Life programs more than a forward deployed location such as Camp Casey. Also, assisting in the event were six volunteers and the USAG Casey command team. The commander, LTC Brian A. Jacobs, and CSM Jason A. Copeland helped served the 500 plus patrons attending the event.
Thanksgiving Holiday is really a special day. It was first celebrated in 1621 when the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians shared a fall harvest. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it a national day of thanksgiving to be held each year in November. Thanksgiving is about families celebrating and reuniting.
The Camp Casey community is a close-knit family working together and welcoming new arrivals, helping them adjust to an overseas environment and the fast pace intensive missions for which they have deployed here. If you want to know how important this event was just follow USO Casey Facebook and see the dozens of comments from family members in the USA thanking USO Casey for what they do for the troops here.
“Thank you USO for all you do for our military,” commented Dar O’Neil. “Thank you for taking care of our service members while they’re away for the holidays!” commented Tarina W. Pleasants.