SAN ANTONIO -

U.S. Air Force Col. Marc Stratton leads the Inter-American Air Forces Academy Field Study Program at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, and spent Tuesday sharing the American tradition with forces from Latin American countries.

"There's no more American holiday than Thanksgiving, next to the Fourth of July,” he said "Inter-American Air Forces Academy trains military and police forces from Latin America."

Countries like Colombia and Mexico send military trainees to the program for joint training and education.

"This is part of our national strategy. It's outreach to our neighbors, it's building partnerships,” added Stratton.

For many of the attendees, the trip may be their only visit to the United States. 

For that reason, the United States Air Force strives to give them a total experience. Part of that is learning about and enjoying American traditions like Thanksgiving.

Some 187 students representing 14 countries attended Tuesday’s celebration. Many of them had never enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal before.

"It’s a really good celebration by the people from the United States,” said Ivan Cediel, an officer in the Colombian Air Force, describing the Thanksgiving meal. "I understand that it’s really a good day to say thanks."

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