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NMSU Army and Air Force ROTC to celebrate Thanksgiving early

The Army and Air Force ROTC at New Mexico State University will celebrate Thanksgiving early in an annual event that mixes tradition with competition. The traditional feast kicks off at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, in Young Hall, followed by the annual "Toilet Bowl" football game scheduled for 1 p.m. at Aggie Memorial Stadium.

ROTC officers and cadets host an early Thanksgiving dinner event (photo by Dani De Luca)

New Mexico State University Army ROTC cadets celebrate with the coveted 'Toilet Bowl' trophy after last year's win. (Submitted photo)

"Thanksgiving is traditionally a holiday where the leaders, in their dress uniforms, serve their soldiers a Thanksgiving meal as a means of thanksgiving," said NMSU Army ROTC Commander Lt. Col. Taylor. "Another long-standing tradition is the unit football game, typically between officers and NCOs. At NMSU, we take these traditions further and combine Army and Air Force cadre serving their cadets a Thanksgiving meal, in their dress uniforms, then meet each other for some good inter-service rivalry on the football field of strife. It is fitting that both NMSU ROTC programs play football in Aggie Memorial Stadium - after all, it is named after our fallen comrades."

Working together, Army and Air Force ROTC leadership will purchase, prepare and transport the homemade meal to NMSU. Some will cook through the night before the dinner while others will wake before dawn for the final preparations. Cadre and staff will then serve the meal, feeding more than 150 cadets.

This year's menu includes five 20-pound turkeys, three large hams and pounds of mashed potatoes as well as bowls of stuffing, green beans, corn and potato salad, not to mention several pecan and pumpkin pies. NMSU Housing and Residential Life will supply the beverages.

After the feast, cadets will head over to the stadium where they will compete in the Army versus Air Force flag football game, which they began training for in mid-October. The winning team will receive bragging rights as well as the coveted "Toilet Bowl" trophy. Last year, the Army ROTC took possession of the trophy for their 26-23 win.