HILL AIR FORCE BASE -- Thanksgiving came a day early for the men and women of Hill Air Force Base's two fighter wings.
On Wednesday, Hill's 388th and 419th Fighter Wings held a combined Thanksgiving feast in one of the base's airplane hangars.
The massive meal fed more than 1,200 people, including airmen and their families, using 30 turkeys, 45 hams, and nearly every food one could desire on Turkey Day.
Layton Mayor Steve Curtis and Davis County Commissioners John Petroff Jr., Louenda Downs and Bret Millburn helped dish out the food, along with retired Maj. Gen. Pat Condon, former commander of the Ogden Air Logistics Center.
Senior Master Sgt. Tracy Rau, one of the event's organizers, said preparations began Tuesday at a base kitchen.
"Last night, we had teams start cooking the turkeys," he said. "We started (before) midnight and then continued through the morning. Then some of our officers volunteered to cook the hams at home."
Rau said the money for the hams and turkeys, which were purchased at the base commissary, came from certain morale-based funds, while pies, casseroles, stuffings and other foods were donated by members of the two wings.
Cols. Scott Long and Keith Knudson, commanders of the 388th and 419th, respectively, said the event was a way for leaders of the wings to show thanks, boost morale and bring families together.
"We just want our people to know that they are truly appreciated," Knudson said. "Our people do an amazing job. They deploy to all parts of the world, they work weekends, they are missing their kids' soccer games, birthdays. We want them to know how much we care about them."
Long said the feast also was a chance to bring together families that have members serving in faraway places.
"We've got a lot of families here today where one of the spouses is deployed," he said. "So this is a chance for them to come together and share a common bond and just talk."
Chief Master Sgt. Mark Batzer said a committee of about 10 people spent the past two months planning for the big event.
"It's taken a lot of preparation to get it off the ground," he said. "Feeding 1,200 people isn't very easy."
Senior Master Sgt. Jeremy Todd was among the airmen who enjoyed the feast.
"This is a pretty nice touch," he said. "It's nice to know that someone cares enough about us to go to all this trouble and cook all this great food for us."