278th Armored Cavalry Regiment: Tennessee Guard members celebrate Thanksgiving in Ukraine

Soldiers from the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Tennessee National Guard, headquartered in Knoxville and deployed to Ukraine, in line for the Thanksgiving dinner Nov. 22 at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center, Yavoriv, Ukraine.

YAVORIV, Ukraine – Soldiers from the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Tennessee Army National Guard, deployed to Ukraine celebrated Thanksgiving Nov. 22 with multinational service members at the Yavoriv Combat Training Center.

U.S. Soldiers were joined for a Thanksgiving feast by service members from Canada, Denmark, Lithuanian, Poland, Sweden, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

“Thanksgiving is being thankful for the people around you, and the different opportunities life presents you throughout the day,” said Spc. Justin Smith, 278th Armored Cav. Regt.

The Tennessee Army National Guard Soldiers helped prepared 12 turkeys, 10 hams, 100 steaks, 18 pies, 400 cookies and 1,800 deviled eggs. The dinner also included 300 pounds of corn, 400 potatoes and 20 pounds of cabbage. Soldiers then brought in a bit of home by preparing home-cooked dishes such as pineapple upsidedown cake, banana pudding, peach cobbler and gumbo.

The feast was prepared for approximately 400 service members, and the leftover food was delivered to the Soldiers’ adopted local organization that provides services for children with special needs.

“Cooking is my passion,” said Staff Sgt. Brandy Rhone, 278th Armored Cav. Regt., who not only lead the cooking team but also introduced her Family’s homemade gumbo. “I want to thank all those who helped in preparation for this meal; it really feels like a blessing to be able to give back to my brothers and sisters in arms and the local community.”

The dinner began with some words from the leadership, a blessing from the chaplain and then transitioned into a Family-style feast.

Thanksgiving 2018 at the YCTC was a night to remember. Multinationals sat side by side to share this unforgettable experience and understand the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Many Soldiers shared what Thanksgiving means to them and the importance of being thankful.

“Thanksgiving to me means Family, friends and a celebration of everything you have received in the past year,” said 2nd Lt. Ran Pressley, 278th Armored Cav. Regt.

“I am thankful for my Family, my friends and the opportunity to serve in the U.S. Army,” said 2nd Lt. Tim Stanczak, 278th Armored Cav. Regt.

The 278th Armored Cav. Regt., headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, is deployed to Ukraine in support of the development of the Yavoriv Combat Training Center, Yavoriv, Ukraine.