Modified Operation Home Cooking welcomes JBSA-Lackland trainees

Pandemic canceled Military City USA tradition last year

SAN ANTONIO – Thanksgiving wasn’t the same last year for local families who’d always welcomed Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Air Force trainees into their homes during Operation Home Cooking.

Due to the pandemic, the Military City USA tradition had to be canceled last year. This year, a modified version returned with fewer host families and trainees.

A spokeswoman for the 37th Training Wing at JBSA-Lackland said host families this year were limited to about 300 fully vaccinated U.S. Department of Defense I.D. holders, including those who are active duty, retired military or civil servants.

Among the participants was Lorraine Adams, an Air Force veteran, who said she’s been preparing Thanksgiving meals for airmen for the past 12 years.

“I’m just telling you, it’s just the best experience,” Adams said. “They’re just great people, and they have their whole world ahead of them.”

Airman Desirae Roberts and Airman Noah Little were among the more than 800 others who were allowed to participate this year.

Roberts said, “It reminds me of home. It does.”

“This is the most I’ve felt at home in seven weeks,” Little said.

As Adams put the finishing touches on the Thanksgiving feast she’d been preparing since 4 a.m., Roberts and Little were playing with the dogs when they weren’t on Facetime with their friends and loved ones back home.

Both said they’ll never forget Adams or her heartfelt hospitality.


About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.