Thursday, November 22, 2007

We Get Letters: A Tour Of Guantanamo

Long...but I wanted to share

"At 0830, Monday, 12 Nov, we were scheduled to go on a "Camp" tour. This of
course, meant we were going where all of the GTMO "detainees" were kept. I
was not sure if Linda and I would be able to see any of this area of GTMO,
but Adm Buzby made this happen. He is the boss of GTMO.

At the appointed time, an Army bus pulled up to the White House, the name
given to Headquarters Marine Security Force Company, and out comes an Army
Lieutenant Colonel. Maj Nunez expected a Lieutenant or a Captain, and he
was surprised that a LTCOL was assigned this duty.

GTMO is only 45 square Miles, and a lot of that is water, so a 15 minute
drive is a long one. Every few minutes, LTCOL Nuzio would call on his cell
phone and call in a check point. It appeared that any vehicle approaching
the Camp must call in these check points to make sure they belong on this
road. When we arrived at the first gate, there were several Army guards,
super road bumps, and a two section wire cage which meant the bus drove
through one gate, then that gate was secured, and the bus then went through
another gate. This happened twice.

When we were told to get off the bus, there was Adm Buzby, and we were very
happy to see him. Admiral, thank you for being there. This is a very
serious area, and all hands were treating it seriously. The other officers
and enlisted men had name tags without vowels so the detainees would never
see their real names.

Here I would like to write about the term, "detainees." The media uses the
term "insurgents" to describe Islamic terrorists, and Nancy Pelosi, the
Speaker of the House, has declared that we are no longer in a Global War on
Terror (GWOT). She wants to call it the Afghanistan War and the Iraqi War.
I imagine this attitude is so we do not antagonize these people who have
sworn to kill all of us, whether over there or in our own homes. When you
learn of how we treat these terrorist sons of whatever, you will not care
about antagonizing them. I came out of the campo with my teeth hurting.

The first camp we were taken to had a display of how different terrorists
are treated at GTMO. The most "compliant" prisoners have a cell with clean
clothing, a Koran, a prayer rug, rubber shoes, a tooth brush and toothpaste,
and an arrow pointing east so they know which way to pray for strength to
survive GTMO and get back into the fight against us. These terrorists have
a white robe and some kind of headgear to wear. Non-compliant prisoners
have a smaller issue of gear and are given orange robes to wear. The really
bad guys don't have much, but none of these guys have ever had 3 hots and a
cot in their lives until we started taking care of them.

There are basketball courts, volley ball nets, exercise machines so they can
stay in shape to get back in the fight, ping pong tables, television, a
daily newspaper in several languages, and school rooms. Some of these guys
have clothe washers and a place to hang out their laundry. I guess when
they come here clean clothes are important.

We then were taken into the medical facility. There was a Navy doctor who
gave us a brief of this facility. If you can imagine a complete hospital,
with all the best equipment available, including operating rooms, you have
this facility in mind. This doctor told us that they have 146 medical
personal available at all time, to take care of 300 terrorists. They have
ophthalmologists, dentists, internists, and every other kind of specialists
to treat any and all ailments these terrorists can think up.

There is one guy who has a really bad heart valve or something similar, and
we have a complete cardiac team on 24/7 standby to come and treat this jerk.
Since every prisoner is "eyeballed" at least every 3 minutes, the guards
have nitro pills to give this guy if he goes blue. He has refused any kind
of treatment so far, and he has gone so far as to lawyer up with probably
some ACLU slick or some International Red Cross guy. His lawyer is accusing
the United States of America of not giving this Islamic jerk adequate care.
How does one handle a situation like this without shooting the bad guys? I
was told by a Navy Commander that they cannot shoot them.

Another doctor told us that Navy Corpsmen, that have seen action in
Afghanistan, Iraq, and Horn of Africa, putting Marines back together from
combat, are now doing their ordered duty treating these guys that throw
urine, feces, and other bodily fluids at them. The Commander told us these
Corpsmen and all the personal at the Camp are completely professional and do
their duty explicitly as ordered. We saw this everywhere we went while in
this camp.

The doctor in charge of psychiatry and psychology told us he has 8
psychiatric personal on his staff. This is for 300 of the worst enemy we
have ever known. An aircraft carrier has one on the psychiatric staff for a
crew of 5,000 Americans. It is no wonder my teeth were hurting.

As a bright note, the dental doctor told us they do not whiten teeth and
they do not do lasik eye surgery. I guess the Islam guys have to wait to
get back to the sand to have those done.

Next we went to a new facility that costs $37,000,000.00. This will
eventually replace the different camps in this area, and will centralize the
confinement of these guys. They have camera, motion, and probably secret
detection systems in this new facility. It was here where we saw guards
wearing clear plastic face guards to ward off the bodily projectiles that
these mis-treated, poor, victims of US imperialism are subjected to
torturous living conditions.

We were told that when CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, and even Al Jazeera are given the
same tour as we had, all the "reporters" say they had no idea that GTMO was
so humane to these people and the living conditions are so considerate
concerning their faith. When they get back to their TV cameras and
typewriters, they cry torture, depraved living conditions, and inadequate
medical facilities. I wonder if I could be cleared to shoot the reporters.

Linda and I saw the truth at GTMO, and we have no reason to lie or shade the
truth. Adm Buzby told us that it costs $12.000, 000 a year to house 300
detainees. That is $40,000.00 per year to keep terrorists happy, that want
to and are sworn to kill all of us. The Admiral and his Joint Task Force
does a tremendous job in a very difficult mission, and very few of us get to
see this up close and personal.

This tour was frightening, in a sense that seeing these people amongst the
good and true members of our military, are the ones that set off IED's,
spray and pray an AK-47, bomb their own people in the name of some religion,
and will cut off the heads of any prisoners they are able to capture.

I just saw an e-mail where a little old lady says it is politically
incorrect to call these terrorists "rag heads." She suggests a more polite
term such as "little sheet heads." I agree as I always strive for political

After Camp Delta we went to the Galley, a Navy chow hall, and the food was
very good. Capt Ankey, a FAST Platoon leader, provided us with good scoop
and picked up the tab. Thank you Captain.

Next in our adventure was a mud ride along the Fence. Maj Nunez organized
this for any and all with 4-wheel cars, trucks, and Jeeps. After Tropical
Storm Noel, there were sections of the fence line that had plenty of mud to
go around. Linda Bell and I rode with Maj Nunez, in his Ford 250 pick-up
with 4 wheel drive. Two of the Jeeps were driven by Mrs Buzby, the Admirals
lady, and Mrs Levault, the Command Master Chief's lady. It is always good
to have the bosses ladies along on an operation like this. The run went out
to Post 21, which is the last post before the water. On the way back we
stopped at the Northeast Gate for photos, and the aforementioned mosquitoes
took their toll on all hands. Again, they are not very big but they are

We were scheduled, at 1500, to meet Coast Guard CDR Mike Hart, the CO of
Maritime Security Detachment (MCD) and he also controls the Port Security
Unit (PSU) on GTMO. We arrived at 1501, right behind the Commander. We met
some of the "Coasties" (I do not know if they like that term or not) on the
docks, and we also met Chief Roger Holland. This was our chance to really
see GTMO from the water, of which there is a lot of.

We climbed into a 25' Boston Whaler with twin 175 horse power Evinrude
outboards. I am a boat guy and this seemed to me to be a bit overpowered,
like a Chrysler powered tongue depressor, but the weight of the Whaler
handled this power very well and these engines were well suited to the boat.
Their Whalers have one Ma Deuce mounted on the bow. For those who do not
know what a Ma Deuce is, it is a M-2 Browning, .50 caliber, crew served,
machine gun. I have never had one of these fired at me, but I would imagine
it is like having cigar butts coming at you. The bullets are about 2 inches
long and ½ inch in diameter. They also mount two, 240 G, 7.62 (.308
caliber) machine guns, on the port and starboard sides. These boats can
reach 40 knots and they are very fast and deadly boats. They are called
Viper Boats, and the name fits these boats.

Also aboard for our ride in the Viper was Chief Roger Holland. When the
Chief had cleared the Coast Guard docks and the no wake zone, he asked if I
would like to take the helm. I immediately, if not sooner, answered yes,
and we were off across Guantanamo Bay and up the Guantanamo River. The
Commander and the Chief explained that the water was murky form the storm,
Noel, which washed tons of mud off the hills into the water. They said when
the mud settles, the bay and the river will be crystal clear and Caribbean
green again.

The only thing I do not like about boats is the beach. You have to stop
sometime, and too soon our ride was over. CDR Mike Hart has a very
interesting past, and I am sure he would not mind if I told you a little
about him. He is a former Marine and a decorated Vietnam Vet. He was
awarded the Silver Star and 4 Purple Hearts. When he got back from Vietnam,
he went onto college, earned his degree, and tried to get back into the
Marine Corps as an officer. Because he still had a VC bullet in him, the
Corps would not take him and the VA would not take out the bullet. So he
went into the Coast Guard. He is a hard charging, one of the good guys, and
the Marine Corps lost out on this deal. The Coast Guard beat us bad
concerning CDR Hart.

From the boat we went to the Commander's office, and there we met Gunnery
Sergeant Craig Basel. The Gunny is the guy in charge of MWR. Remember I
said MWR is very important to military aboard a closed base, and the Gunny
runs a very squared away MWR. It was here that we discussed the
possibilities of doing a Marine Corps Steaks & Beers (MCS&B) for all the
Marines stationed here. A MCS&B is all the steaks, beer, bread, and beans
the Marines care to consume, and these are all the food groups Marines need.
If this was going to happen, the Gunny is the guy to make it happen. We
hope sometime in January for this operation.

When the MCS&B meeting was over, Linda and I went directly to the Nunez
quarters for evening chow. Some of you on the All Hands, that know me, are
probably thinking this old Corporal might be getting a little tired by now.
We were up at 0200 on 10 Nov and hit the rack at 0030 on 11 Nov. 11` Nov
was brunch, The Fence tour, Cuzco Wells and the Spanish-American War
battlefields, a stop at the Goat Locker, and chow at the Admiral's quarters
with all those Generals. Don't forget the Post Prandial. The Admiral tried
to explain what that is, but I still do not know what it is. 12 Nov was The
Camp Tour, the Fence mud ride, and the boat ride with the Coast Guard.

I forgot to mention the Goat Locker. This is a little club for E-7's and
above. It is a neat club with a lot of grills outside and a lot of
memorabilia inside. Linda and I gave them a Marine Barracks Gettysburg coin
and a .50 cal shell with the Sands of Iwo Jima inside. If I was stationed
at GTMO I would lie about being a Corporal (E-4) and try to hang at the Goat
Locker with all those Navy guys.

The Nunez quarters are a very nice, big home, and it is well suited to
raising 3 kids. The 1stSgt and Taunya, and their lovely daughter were
there, and we had a quiet, family dinner. Martie, dinner was absolutely
perfect, and after our schedule at GTMO, dinner was very much appreciated.
Thank you! By this time I was ready for a quiet, family dinner. There was
good chow, wine, and Irish Whiskey, and Linda Bell drove us back to the BOQ.

13 Nov had us up at 0600, we met the Major, got on the Captain's gig back to
the Leeward Side and the airfield, got on a twin engine commuter, and flew
back to the world.

Linda Bell and I can never thank all our new friends enough for the grand
time we had on GTMO. Everyone we met could not have been friendlier or more
helpful. As a final thought, when we were at Post 21 on the mud run, Mrs
Buzby, the jeep driving Admiral's lady, told me that maybe not getting the
USS Reagan was not so bad after all. They think that God put them there
because of the absolute family atmosphere that is everywhere on GTMO. She
also told me that the folks that did get the Reagan are very good friends of
the Buzby's, and this makes them happy.

To all on GTMO, we plan to come back for Steaks & Beers."

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