By Tim Orwig
Fort Hood Herald
GATESVILLE — A crowd of about 500 soldiers and civilians shared catfish and fellowship at the sixth annual Military Appreciation Fish Fry on Thursday.
“I have never seen a community reach out the way Gatesville has,” said Maj. Gen. Warren Phipps Jr., commander of First Army Division West, at the event sponsored by the city of Gatesville, Coryell County, the local chamber of commerce and several businesses.
From rodeo to barbecue to Veterans Day, Phipps ticked off the events the community regularly hosts for Fort Hood soldiers.
“When some soldiers can’t make it home for the holidays, Gatesville families take soldiers into their homes for Christmas Day,” he said. “This community truly wraps its arms around us and makes us feel at home.”
Soldiers of the 419th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and the 730th Transportation Company, both units from California, and the 498th Transportation Company of Alabama were first in the chow line. The three units are set to deploy to Afghanistan soon.
Also taking part in the event were elements of III Corps, 1st Cavalry Division, 13th Sustainment Command, Operational Test Command and Division West units.
Gatesville Fire Chief Billy Vaden and a dozen members of the Gatesville Volunteer Fire Department fried 600 pounds of catfish for the dinner. Directors of the Gatesville Chamber of Commerce manned the serving lines to dish out salad, beans and coleslaw.
Elected officials from Copperas Cove, Gatesville and Coryell County — many of whom are retired military — helped host the festivities.