FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WNCN) — At Fort Bragg, Thanksgiving came a few days early.

Around 600 paratroopers were served hot turkey meals at the Third Brigade Combat Team Dining Facility. 

“All of the soldiers who couldn’t be home to eat grandma’s sweet potato pie or anything like that we can kind of accommodate and fill in that role for them,” Staff Sergeant John Bawuah, a Fort Bragg paratrooper said.

Sergeant Rolando Castaneda’s family lives in Puerto Rico. And just like many soldiers, he won’t be home for the holiday.

“Reunion as a team and just eat some good food. But it has become a tradition for me,” Sgt. Castaneda said.

It’s motivation for the dinning crews who work tirelessly preparing the feast, including Specialist Raphael Gil on mac and cheese duty.

“Nice little crunch to the top and nice little gooiness at the bottom sir. What is your secret to that? It’s these wings sir. Being a paratrooper,” Specialist Gil said.

That’s what makes this thanksgiving meal so special.

“For us to pay it back for the things, the hard work that our paratroopers do on a daily basis it’s great,” Colonel Ricky Taylor, with the Third Brigade 82nd Airborne Division said.

“We go through a lot throughout our lives and stuff, and this is our time to show them hey we care for you,” Sgt. Bawuah said.