Thursday, April 24, 2014

Guantanamo Bay Cuba, aka GITMO

Located in South Eastern Cuba GITMO is a Naval training Facility.  It is 40 square miles and surrounded by the largest live mine field in the world. The mines were placed there after the base was shut off, politically, from main-land Cuba.

scans GITMO 016

(This was our house while we were in Defense Housing)

scans GITMO 009

(Mark in our back yard with Grouch. Grouch was also a hand me down, I took him from a family shipping out that was going to take the puppy, when we left he went with another couple.)

When Batista was in charge of Cuba, many Sailors were sent to GITMO and maintained residence in Camanera or even Guantanamo City. But with the isolation after Mr. Castro came into power, things changed. Cuba cut the water supply, so we built a huge desalination plant. He limited the number of Cubans who were allowed on base.

With the local labor force for the installation diminished, Jamaicans were recruited.  Also many dependent wives took ‘temp’, civil service jobs (The temp meaning they were not accumulating time for retirement, etc.)

That last statement fit my girl’s thinking, not long after landing in GITMO she applied for work and got a job in HHG (House Hold Goods, shipping and receiving)  She really liked her job and it was only about a block from my work space.

The boys finished the school year down there. They enjoyed it.  There was no cafeteria at the little school so the kids were bused home for an hour then picked up and taken back to school.

Fence line GITMO0011

(Chuck & Becky Kraun shipmates, on Kittery BEach)

The first few weeks we visited ‘Kittery Beach’, the beach set aside for families. Went to outdoor movies (where we took our lawn chairs), and attended church at the base chapel.

Most of the men aboard were on unaccompanied tours, which means a one year isolated duty tour. Sherry fell right in step with many of the wives who had parties and dinners for the unaccompanied guys.  If you brought your family, it was a minimum 2 year tour.

Most folk only know about a Prison that is on Guantanamo, and think that is the reason for its existence. No one seems to want to explain. Even our president when running for office said he would close GITMO! Most folks thought ne meant the base, but that has never been considered.  The USA has a legal lease on the land where the base is located.

We learned to snorkel, WOW a new undersea world opened up. The tropical fish are beautiful.  You can spend hours just admiring the changing undersea scenery.  The weather is always beautiful, it is honestly a tropical paradise, for a family. After a few months I knew this would be our best duty assignment ever. And it was.

The most unique thing about Gitmo was “THE DUMP”. Everyone (even some officers secretly) visited the dump, it was nick named “SEARS’.

If you needed a part for a washer, dryer, car or a piece of furniture. There was no auto parts places no appliance repair, so the alternative was “SEARS”. I never bought a tire for our cars, if we needed a tire, we took a jack and went to the dump. Found a car like ours, jacked it up and took the tire wheel and all. put ours on the wreck and left.

I found washer/Dryer and other parts at ‘Sears’ and they were free.Smile with tongue out

Thanks for coming by the LOG

Nite Shipslog


Liability insurance on GITMO was $20 a year with no discount for the second car, dadgummit!Winking smile



Ford Torina 1970, MotorTrend’s car of the Year


Annesphamily said...

Goodness I have so enjoyed this post! What a world of wonderful info you are! I was talking about the Bay of Pigs and all the orphans from Cuban I went to school with. Back than they were forced to learn English and lived in the orphanages. I forget we are older than most of our youngest sons parents. One mother said "What was the Bay of Pigs? Yikes! I guess she missed History at school! I went to Catholic school and we learned so much more early on from the public schools. Always a pleasure to be here. Thank you and the photos are terrific. Have a great weekend. Anne


Liked the part about the dump being nicknamed SEARS.

Mevely317 said...

Me, too! (The reference to Sears, that is.)

That's such a cute picture of Mark with Groucho. Love the white picket fence, as well -- like something out of the Cleavers' fictional residence -- when all felt well with the world!

Paula said...

The doggie must have been a good boy that everyone was agreeable to give him a home. Sears would have been a place Mel and I would have gone, not the one where I worked as a switchboard operator. lol

Paula said...

Oh intended to tell you my big hair wasn't as pretty as Sherry's. Mine was partly fake. Hee hee

betty said...

That was cute about the dump/Sears. Interesting recycle program. It did seem like it was a wise decision for you to get the assignment in Gitmo; lots of good opportunities for the family. That was also cute about the dog; must have been a pretty adaptable dog to "go with flow".


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

It sounds like you all landed in a little bit of heaven there. I can remember days years ago when folks around here would visit the dump for car parts. I don't know if they still do today... With folks coming and going like that they would probably leave behind things that could be used by others. Glad that you and your family could be together.

Cher' Shots said...

I loved this bit of your history. I had to laugh when you mentioned the dump for auto parts. I can't tell you how much money my son has saved over the years by going to the salvage yard for car parts. It also helps that he has the know-how to put the pieces to work.
'love & hugs from afar'

Louis la Vache said...

hee hee....
That Torino was supposed to be a mid-size car. «Louis» remembers Car and Driver magazines' put down of it, labeling it a "Forrestal-Class" car, alluding to the then-new Forrestal Class of aircraft carrier...