PATROL BASE BOLDAK, Afghanistan -- In the barren desert of Helmand province, Marines with Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, thought their Thanksgiving was going to be just another day. It was not.
The Marines were pleasantly surprised by a visit from leadership who convoyed to Patrol Base Boldak from Camp Leatherneck, both in Helmand province, hauling a trailer loaded with a Thanksgiving feast.
As soon as Lt. Col. Brian O’Leary, commanding officer of 1/25, Maj. Bruce Stoffolano, commanding officer of Weapons Co., 1/25, Sgt. Maj. Andrew Tomelleri, sergeant major of 1/25, and 1st Sgt. Adam Sheinkin, company first sergeant for Weapons Co., 1/25, stepped foot on Patrol Base Boldak they knew it was time for business.
Leadership quickly set out the pre-cooked food, supplied by Task Force Belleau Wood, before it cooled down and started serving the more than 40 Marines who were fresh off patrol.
“I got to spend this Thanksgiving with my Marines,” said O’Leary, who calls St. James, N.Y., his home. “It was a fantastic, once in a lifetime experience that I’ll never forget. It gave me a chance to really reflect on all that my Marines that I have been blessed with.”
“We had turkey, ham, potatoes, stuffing all that good stuff,” said Lance Cpl. Nathan W. Kirby, an anti-armor gunner with Weapons Co., 1/25.
For some, it was their first holiday away from home. For others, it was another holiday apart from loved ones in the States. But for all of them, it was a day of looking back and being thankful to have one another.
Just being safe with the other Marines and getting time to enjoy a big meal made this Thanksgiving really enjoyable, said Lance Cpl. Sidney Riley, an anti-tank guided missile assaultman with Weapons Co., 1/25.
“I think Marines always appreciate a visit by their leadership on a special occasion,” O’Leary said. “In this case, they got the bonus of being served by the battalion commander and sergeant major. I hope they enjoyed it half as much as I did. Aside from being home with my family, I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better Thanksgiving.”