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Thanksgiving with Family

Thanksgiving is a very special time for many of us. Some of our fondest memories are of shared feasts with dear friends and family members, some no longer with us. The aromas, sights and tastes of the feasts shared, serve to cement those memories for us; memories to last a lifetime. The first Thanksgiving story has been repeated endlessly, reenacted with excitement and stage jitters by many a grade school child with proud parents in attendance. The funny looking clothing, black britches and the hat with the big belt buckle. The story of how the Native Americans saved the starving Pilgrims from another brutal winter by showing the settlers how to grow corn in the flinty New England soil. We can all picture those scenes in our minds’ eye. This story paints a different picture; a picture of an airborne TACAMO Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving in the alert quarters; a Thanksgiving away from our immediate families.

Many TACAMO chefs, AKA Reel Operators (RO), took great delight in minimizing the impact of the crew being away from immediate family and friends for yet another holiday. These ROs managed to cook meals in a postage-stamp sized galley area with a convection oven that only held three aluminum roasting pans. There were many Thanksgiving Day turkeys cooked on a C-130 or E-6 in that stainless-steel oven. Enterprising ROs used a roaster, freeing the oven for other dishes. One RO states, “I take fond memories of flying on turkey day with my TACAMO family and using that galley oven to its fullest potential, cooking a 24 lb. turkey.” If a crew was fortunate enough to have landed at Fairchild Air Force Base, near Spokane, WA, AND, the timing was right, the crew enjoyed smoked turkey on Thanksgiving Day. Another RO reminisced, “During a Thanksgiving Day flight, after the crew enjoyed a turkey dinner with all the fixings, including a fruit cake so saturated with rum that it was probably NATOPS illegal, that he wanted Comm to send a message to the squadron with the following details: Aircraft and aircrew experienced a midair with a turkey; No damage to the aircraft; Turkey did not survive; Crew well fed.” Sadly, the Mission Commander, citing that discretion is the better part of valor, as well as maintaining rank and wings, declined the message request. Except for that midair part, it still sounds good.

Yes, these TACAMO crews away from their immediate family on Thanksgiving Day, but they were with another family, their TACAMO family.

To the TACAMO families that will be away from their immediate family on Thanksgiving Day, we salute you!

TACAMO Community Veterans Association Board of Directors Families:

Vern & Colleen Lochausen, Mike & Cheryl Vos, Dennis “Coach” Warren, Jim & Annette Meppelink, Mike & Cathy Neri, John & Joan Alger, Joe & Judy Caruso, & John “Mom”& Linda Burgoon


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