Excerpts from yesterday's Defense Department briefing by spokesman Pete Williams:
In terms of what activities are planned for Thanksgiving for the troops in Saudi Arabia, there are quite a few things planned . . . . Now there will be quite an endeavor underway to try to serve Thanksgiving dinners to as many people as possible. Could well be over 200,000 people. As many of the personnel as possible . . . .
Many of our troops will be given some time off to let them take part in a little R&R, sporting events, recreation activities. Some Saudi families have invited American troops to their homes for dinner, some American families who live in Saudi Arabia, and other gulf countries have offered to share Thanksgiving dinner with military personnel as well. I don't know how many; I don't have a number for you.
In terms of the effort to cook Thanksgiving dinner, there will be more than 105,000 pounds of turkey prepared by military cooks for our troops there . . . . You got the 60,000 pounds of roast beef that the Saudis are contributing. There will be also shrimp cocktail. Bread and cornbread dressing. Cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, glazed sweet potatoes, corn, other mixed vegetables, fruit, and assorted pies.
Now the Saudis are also contributing whole turkeys, as I mentioned, roast beef, and then bread, fruitcakes, that kind of thing. These meals will be prepared mainly in field kitchens and whatever dining facilities are available to us over there . . . .
The goal is to provide a hot, traditional Thanksgiving dinner during the course of the day to every military person. That is the goal and they're going to do their level best to try to do that.
And the military folks say that they don't envision a problem with trying to get a hot, traditional meal to everybody. And the commanders in the field will make every effort to assure that everybody gets a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. There are backups, however, in the event that it's impossible for some reason to reach everybody.
There is a -- what's called a T-ration, which is, as many of you know, is sort of a -- it's a little plate with different compartments; it looks like a TV dinner and that is available if necessary. It's a special Thanksgiving T-ration that's been made up. It includes turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, bread dressing, cranberry sauce and a vegetable. So the goal is to try to get Thanksgiving dinner to everybody . . . .
Armed Forces Radio and Television Service will be broadcasting live on radio and on the television service -- and there are a few areas in Saudi Arabia that can get the television service -- two NFL football games, Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos, and the Redskins-Cowboys game . . . . Then Armed Forces Radio only will broadcast the college game, which is West Virginia and South Carolina.
And before the game, the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service will also broadcast the president's Thanksgiving Day message, which was a prerecorded message that he did before he left, to troops, to Desert Shield troops.