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NEWS | Dec. 4, 2008

Navy family shares Thanksgiving tradition with AF basic trainees

By Joe Bela 37th Training Wing Public Affairs

Goodwill transcended traditional military service lines recently when a local Navy family shared Thanksgiving Day with three Air Force basic military trainees from Lackland.

The Lindley family of San Antonio adopted the future Airmen by participating in Operation Homecooking. In its 33rd year, Operation Homecooking gives area residents the opportunity to invite Air Force trainees into their homes for Thanksgiving.

Many recruits in military training are away from home for the first time and more than 4,100 of them participated in Operation Homecooking this year.

"I've been in the Navy almost 25 years and I know what it's like to be away from home over the holidays, away from family," said Senior Chief Petty Officer Kevin Lindley, a member of the Joint Information Operations Warfare Command, here.

"Many holidays were spent in the galley (Navy dining facility) or in the barracks overseas. It's just the life you get accustomed too," said Senior Chief Lindley, who together with his wife, Penny, and daughter, Addison, played host to the three trainees - Danielle Gates, Jessica Morgan and Paige Hooper.

All three expect to graduate today and will remain at Lackland to attend the security forces technical school.

"Honestly, I was expecting to spend Thanksgiving Day in the squadron and eating in the dining hall. So, I feel privileged to have the opportunity to participate in Operation Homecooking. I appreciate everything the Lindleys are doing and I am grateful," said Morgan, a resident of Valley View, Penn.

"Really, who wants to spend Thanksgiving in the dorms? We're giving these Airmen a family atmosphere as a way of showing our appreciation for their service," said Mrs. Lindley. "Besides, we've got a big house and a lot of food. It's the right thing to do for those who serve our country."

"I'm thankful because this is a day I would spend with my family. I feel very fortunate. It takes a very generous family to do this," said Hooper, from Chapmansboro, Tenn.

"I've been on my own since I was 16," said Gates, who joined the Air Force from Bremerton, Wash.

"Joining the Air Force was my best option to feel like I have a family," she said. "I love it; my flight and the Air Force are now my family. What the Lindleys did for us today just reinforces the military family tradition of commitment to one another. This is what America is all about."