Last week, some 4,000 Marines and sailors on the East Coast furiously worked to get themselves and their units and ships ready for a scheduled deployment overseas. The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and its 2,300 Marines and sailors headed out March 30 from Camp Lejeune, N.C., aboard amphibious assault ship Iwo Jima, dock landing ship Gunston Hall and dock transport ship New York. It will be an eight-month deployment to the Mediterranean and the Middle East for the U.S. European and Central Command regions.
You can bet during that last weekend home, just about every Marine and sailor made the most of every single free minute. The 24th MEU asked its Facebook fans for their must-have favorite food they’d want to eat before deploying on ship. More than three-dozen responded with choices ranging from pizza, meatloaf and steak to even sushi. Other favorites:
- Louisiana gumbo.
- Ribeye steak, baked potato and fresh corn on the cob.
- Pumpkin pie.
- Chicken and dumplings from Cracker Barrel.
The chain restaurant must be a popular stop – Sam Tate wrote that he would enjoy its meatloaf and accompanying side dishes. Diane Brankley Zimmerman relayed that she made her son’s favorites before he left home: Corned beef and cabbage and beef stroganoff. Hmmm, yummy. Andy Warren brought back memories of a timeless comfort food: Grilled ham and cheese with a bowl of tomato soup. Craig Babich was open to most any meal with one caveat: “Anything but chicken.” But Christopher Olinger and James J. Hayes must have been kidding with this suggestion: An M.R.E. We hope.