Marines surprised with a special ‘home-cooked’ Thanksgiving dinner in Afghanistan

Nov 21, 2018

Thanksgiving is a time of rejoicing as we gather around to feast a bountiful meal with family and friends, expressing gratitude to the divines for all the blessings. But unfortunately, many of our military personnel, who are stationed abroad, can’t get home to celebrate the season of gratitude.

That’s what happened to Marine Cpl. Alex Martinez—an infantryman serving with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment in Afghanistan—and his fellow Marines back in 2013.

Martinez knew he and his comrades couldn’t be home for the special day, so he secretly planned a Thanksgiving meal.

On Nov. 28, 2013, after working a six-hour shift, Martinez caught each Marine in his unit unawares. The corporal personally invited each of them to dine on a home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner in his barracks room.

Martinez and his fellow Marines then sat around a small plastic table to say a prayer before eating a humble meal consisting of steak, turkey, mashed potatoes, and cornbread stuffing.

Thanks to Martinez, the Marines in his squad could enjoy a taste of home for Thanksgiving.

“It’s nice to be able to bring a piece of home to Afghanistan,” Marines Cpl. Kenton Zerr told

“Even though the food wasn’t as good as our families cooking, the intent was still the same. We all got together and bonded. I’m going to remember this Thanksgiving for a while.”

Martinez was thankful too.

Being far away from the family, he was glad to spend the special day with the members of his battalion.

“These Marines are my brothers,” Martinez said. “They are as much a part of my family as anyone.”

On this year’s Thanksgiving, as we tuck into roast turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie, let’s not forget to pay our thanks to the brave military personnel for all their sacrifices—missing family members’ birthdays, graduations, and many big days of their lives just to serve their country with all their might.

Photo Credit: DVIDS


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