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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 7/18/2002 3:50:13 PM EST
Link Posted: 7/18/2002 3:59:16 PM EST
Spent two years there during the 93-95 Haitian, Cuban migrant invasions. Drink heavily; liquor has no tax so it is dirt-cheap. The fishing is awesome, as well as the diving. Dean
Link Posted: 7/18/2002 4:00:23 PM EST
I worked with a guy who was stationed there as a clerk in the USMC. Mainly, their job was watching Cuban refugees kept in detention camps. Detainees are different now, I guess. But that's about it.
Link Posted: 7/18/2002 4:09:39 PM EST
Link Posted: 7/18/2002 4:44:42 PM EST
I was there in 1981. USS Holland AS-32 Things to do: Sweat Beer Fish Dive (awesome) Movies Sweat Sweat Sweat Beer
Link Posted: 7/18/2002 4:47:12 PM EST
Yes, I have spent some time in GITMO. I served in Navy ships that went there for training. The training is called refresher training...or REFTRA and it lasts about two months. It is the most intensive ball busting you can imagine. A ship reporting there "chops" to the commodore of the Fleet Training Group and comes under his and his staff's control. The staff is made up of a bunch of senior petty officers (E-6 to E-9, with heavy emphasis on the 7s & 8s) and warrants and LDOs with years of experience. They drill the ship 18-24 hours a day, six days a week, in all types of combat operations, damage control, fire fighting, missile shooting, gunnery, you name it...you get hit with it there. Because the ships are far from homeport, the ship devote virtually all of its time "training". No going home at night for a squeeze and a beer. The base is actually a fairly big piece of land ceded to the United States by a 99 year treaty. Castro hasn't had the balls or the ability to abrogate it and kick us out yet. It must really give him a daily redass to have us down there too. The base is pretty big. It's on the leeward side of Cuba and is hot and relatively humid year round. Surrounding the base used to be a very tall fence with guard towers every few hundred yards...but these were not all manned when I was there because the tensions between us the the Cubans was low. In fact lots of then worked on the base. Great source of income for those poor people. The Cubans likewise have their fence a couple of hundred yards away from ours. The "no-mans-land" in between is (was?) seeded with thousands of mines. When I was there last, the permanent party personnel were all integrated into the defense team; Navy folks too. Dependents were allowed to move down after an extended period of time and when housing became available. The base had virtually all of the usual stuff you find at any military installation such as clubs, a commissary, mini-marts, gas station, package store and PX. Funny...there were goats running around all over the place. A bit of strange history: Back in the early sixties, after the Cuban revolution, Castro tried to run us out by cutting off our water supply, the source of which was outside the fence. Remember, this was after the Bay of Pigs...and after we tried to assassinate the commie bastard. When he shut down the water, Navy ships at first helped supply emergency water, but the [semi] permanent fix was for the Navy to bring down a small nuclear reactor distilling plant. Once that got on line and pumping out water...Castro gave up and turned the water back on. The CO then was a CMH awardee by the name of John D. Bulkeley. If you ever saw the movie, "They Were Expendable", Robert Montgomery played the part of the PT squadron CO, LCDR Bulkeley. I met Bulkeley in 1970 when he was a two star. My eyes immediately locked onto the sky-blue ribbon with the five white stars at the top of his chest spinach...and it clicked...I had read the book and seen the movie as a kid...I had also seen the message saying he would be aboard that day but I had not put two and two together yet. This guy was a boyhood hero of mine...cool. Tough old bird though. I have not been down there in several years. I know nothing about the POW camps. I just remember that it was hot and there wasn't a whole lot to do there except go to the club, get stewed and wish you were back in the world.
Link Posted: 7/19/2002 4:22:11 AM EST
The training was hell. So fricking hot. I was on the Suribachi I think we were down there in 82 or 83, we got liberty and many ended up at Captians Mast for their drunken deeds fighting with other ships sailors, etc. Not one of our 'memorable' port of calls. Norway, on the other hand was fantastic, a little expensive but the girls,,,oh the girls...they were great! I still remember her name after all these years..."Line" she was a red hot redhead.... Those were the days...
Link Posted: 7/19/2002 4:34:32 AM EST
i was there in 1957-58ad i do not know if it's still available but "Hot Tooey" was the beer of the day, rum wasn't too bad, but as was mentioned, fishing & skin diving is great !!!
Link Posted: 7/19/2002 5:11:56 AM EST
Link Posted: 7/19/2002 7:10:27 AM EST
Originally Posted By Rebel: Spent two years there during the 93-95 Haitian, Cuban migrant invasions. Drink heavily; liquor has no tax so it is dirt-cheap. The fishing is awesome, as well as the diving. Dean
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Me too Rebel, spent most of my time at Camp Buckley. I was lucky though, got to stay in Gold Hill Barracks. All in all I didn't really mind it there, saved up alot of dough.
Link Posted: 7/19/2002 7:31:04 AM EST
I was there in 75 for training aboard the Fairfax County LST1193. One of the nightly actiities seemed to be getting in fights on the pier with the ship on the other side that you were competing against. I remember sitting on the pier one morning waiting for a ride and spotting in a drain at my feet a perfect molar. Some marines on patrol in M60s decided to race back down from the perimter and one got going a little too fast, was bouncing around so bad that he couldn't control it and rolled the tank.
Link Posted: 7/19/2002 8:16:06 AM EST
Was there in 73....as LWilde posted it is workup base for vessels being deployed, etc. We ran drills entire time there. Great fishing & scuba-snorkling....booze was cheap. Movies, bowling, etc. In 73, acute shortage of females....but I am sure that has changed now. My Dad shipped in and out of Havana in the 40s...now that was a liberty port! Cant wait till Castro departs...I do want to see Havana someday.
Link Posted: 7/19/2002 3:00:02 PM EST
Originally Posted By TexasAg: Was there in 73....as LWilde posted it is workup base for vessels being deployed, etc. We ran drills entire time there. Great fishing & scuba-snorkling....booze was cheap. Movies, bowling, etc. In 73, acute shortage of females....but I am sure that has changed now. My Dad shipped in and out of Havana in the 40s...now that was a liberty port! Cant wait till Castro departs...I do want to see Havana someday.
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When I joined up in '64, the old timers told me that Havana used to be the best damn liberty port this side of Olongapo City on the Island of Luzon in the PI. Now THAT is saying something. I believe it too, since the mob had an "arrangement" with Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista to run the "entertainment industry" down there. [;D] Havana is only ninety miles away from Miami. Lots of sins in the United States were perfectly legal in Cuba. The clubs and casinos were reportedly the best in the world short of Vegas. [:P] Damn shame Castro messed that all up. When the Cubans finally return to sanity, that place will become a great "vacation" spot again. [}:D]
Link Posted: 7/19/2002 5:48:09 PM EST
I was there several times. Tarpon fishing in the harbor is second to none and the alcohol is so cheap it is not even funny, beautiful island if we would just take the real estate.
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