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* Joint environment provides
opportunity for development
Army Master Sgt.
JTF Guantanamo Housing Commandant
The word "teamwork" has many meanin-s Iin tIih
military, it refers to two or more Soldiers Silois
Airmen, Coast Guardsmen or Marines "\olikmil
together for a common goal. Here at Joint T.sk Forc
Guantanamo, it has a special meaning because c i i nd
ourselves working with members of diffeiInt n c I iccs
and we need to work together to make the iiss-ion .
Being in a small community like GTMIO \\c
often find ourselves sharing and spending out oil
time with Troopers from all services. Where e Is
can you find such a unique opportunity? Tlis.
tour is a great opportunity to make friend
from all of the services.
After spending time at duty stations
in Texas, Panama and Florida, I realized
they are all similar because you have the
Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines
Corps working together for the support
of Troopers who are stationed in harm's
way. The experiences Troopers get from
each other vary because none of the
services work or train in the same manner
Promotion systems are different, yet all
Troopers strive to better themselves with
the same goal.
I feelvery proud to serve with Troopers
from all services. After spending nearly
30 years in the military, I think back to
all the units I was a part of and all the
Troopers I have met and wonder what
happened to them, how are they doing or
if they are still in the military. When you
are part of a team you always make that
effort to find out.
I have personally had a great
experience here. Capt. Eric Bey,
chaplain of the 525t Military Police
Battalion, and I were stationed together
in Panama in 1987. Who would have
thought that after so many years we
would be stationed together again, and in
such a different environment?
This deployment has taught me that a tcinl
is truly a group of people in a collabo]jtil c
relationship working toward a mutual goll -
a goal that dominates all other individual Ilnd
sub-group goals a goal for which every tclain
member is mutually accountable. O
PAGE 2 THE WIE
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Joint Task Force Command Masler
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Arnlf Sgl 1 Class Micrael Gn.ilos n 35.1
,rnm. Slaif S l1 Emil, J Pussell 3".5
rmrn, Staff SqC Blair Heusden3- '3.94
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Editor's Desk: 365.1 o:r 21 71
Fr.:.n' Ine- .:..ninenlal ulnI.ed Sales
Commercial: O 11.5 3.99.3651
DSN: .660- 3651
Email: Ine ireii.lliirmo -. ;.uni.:o.n' nii
Online: . ili.alm o.:. Soulirn.: i m .I
Navy Cmdr. George Sellock. a
dentist at the Joint Troop Clinic.
fills a crown for a Trooper.
May 13. .I'in TasI F,'i,:e
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TROOPER-TO-TROOPER | FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2009
A Navy combat cameraman with Joint Task Force
Guantanamo cleans his camera gear in preparation
for a mission. JTF Guantanamo photo by Army Staff
Sgt. Blair Heusdens
FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2009 I MISSION
Army Staff Sgt.
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
All the world's eyes have been on Naval Station Guantanamo Bay
since the detention facilities opened in 2002. Another set of eyes have
constantly been on the facilities as well, silently documenting the daily
activities in the camps to serve as a permanent record of the care and
custody of those who have been detained here.
Navy combat cameramen document daily life at the detention facilities
for Joint Task Force Guantanamo using still and video imagery. Made
up of both active duty and Reserve component Sailors, the JTF combat
camera section, or COMCAM, is responsible for the complete and
objective recording of actions of the detainees and guards who oversee
"This mission has taught me that it is important to always pay attention
no matter how repetitive ajob canbe. If we miss a shot or get complacent,
it could ruin the credibility we've worked hard to earn," said one combat
cameraman with the JTF.
Combat camera imagery provides commanders and decision-makers
with essential battlefield information in support of strategic, operational
and tactical mission objectives. Up-to-date imagery can be used for
planning, intelligence and operational purposes.
"What we do helps decision makers make more informed decisions,"
the section's non-commissioned officer-in-charge said.
Combat camera assets often have the ability to cover an event or
situation as it is happening or immediately afterward, to provide real-time
imagery of fast-breaking events. Images and video can then be fed to
"Some news organizations cannot get to places as quickly as we can,"
the NCOIC said.
The imagery also serves an important archival and historical purpose.
As the detention facilities will prepare to close, this documentation
remains to serve as a historical record and archive of what happens on
a daily basis. The cameramen must be as inconspicuous as possible to
document events without becoming a distraction. After being a feature in
the camps for so long, the cameraman's presence doesn't attract as much
attention and they are allowed to document the scene as it is.
THE WIRE I PAGE 3
April D. de Armas
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
Are you looking for a way to get
involved and bring a smile to the residents
of Naval Station Guantanamo Bay? The
Trooper Volunteer Program of the 525th
Military Police Battalion of Joint Task
Force Guantanamo is a great way to do just
The volunteer program is a new concept
put together by the officers and senior
enlisted personnel from the 5259 and has
only been in action for a month.
Army Staff Sgt. Rene Salazar is the
operations and training non-commissioned
officer for the 525th's 193rd Military Police
Company and volunteers his time to clean
up the beaches.
"The program gives Troopers a
way of becoming involved with their
community and it's a great way to get out
and see something other than their rooms,
while doing something positive for the
community," said Salazar. "The command
felt it would give Troopers other options
for their time."
Anyone can get involved with the
volunteer program and there are incentives
for Troopers who do. Not only do they get
the satisfaction of a cleaner community, but
Troopers can earn the Military Outstanding
Volunteer Service Medal for every 100
hours of service logged through the
"Troopers can earn a service
award for giving their time, however
this is not our focus," said Salazar.
"We feel it is important to have a
clean environment and cleanbeaches
for our Troopers and residents here
The volunteer program focuses
on cleaning up the beaches around
the naval station by picking up trash
Army 2nd Lt. Joshua Frye,
assistant officer-in-charge for the
193rd, has been volunteering his
time since the program's inception
and said he was very happy to be
"The beaches are the most
important asset and are the main
source of recreation for Troopers
and residents at GTMO," said Frye.
"I am a diver and always wanted
to clean up the beaches, so I was
very excited when this program was
Salazar said the response from
Troopers has been very good and the
number of volunteers has steadily
increased since the beginning.
Army Sgt. John Norris, a military
policeman with the 193rd, is one
Trooper who spends some of his
off-duty time volunteering with the
"I come to the beaches a lot and
PAGE 4 I THE WIRE
Army Pfc. Dana Eltaher with the 193rd
Military Police Company finds sea glass
while conducting trash pick-up at Girl Scout
Beach, May 9. JTF Guantanamo photo by
Army Spc. April D. deArmas
MISSION I FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2009
Army Capt. Stephanie Hall, the Veterinary Detachment officer-in-charge, performs surgery on a Joint Task Force
Guantanamo civilian's cat. The cat, Aries, was spayed, which, according to Hall, is a routine procedure. JTF Guantanamo
photo by Army Sgt. Michael Baltz
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
The U.S. Army Veterinary Corps was formally established by
an Act of Congress on June 3, 1916. However, recognition of the
need for veterinary expertise had been evolving since 1776 when
General George Washington directed that a "regiment horse with a
farrier" be raised, according to the veterinary service's Web site.
The veterinary corps continues its mission in support of Joint
Task Force Guantanamo.
"Allowing [Troopers] to have their pets, since they are in an
isolated area, brings up their morale," said Army Capt. Stephanie
Hall, the Veterinary Detachment officer in-charge. "[They] are
their friends and it makes people happy to have their own pets here
or to be able to come into contact with them."
The Army Veterinary Service is responsible forfood inspections,
veterinarian programs and providing full medical care to animals,
including the care of military dogs and Troopers' pets.
They also care for the local wildlife by working with the San
Diego Reproduction Center for Endangered Species on critical
reptile species management.
FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2009 | MISSION
The clinic offers medical, dental and surgical care. The VTF
is well equipped with the following: an in-house laboratory,
radiology machine, operating room, ultrasound machine and a
"I enjoy performing surgery," Hall said. "With surgery you are
able to see immediate results."
In some cases the VTF lacks certain specialized capabilities and
cannot perform all tasks on island.
"If it is a bone surgery that I am not comfortable with or
something I cannot do, I'll send it off island," Hall said.
Hall enjoys herjob even though it can be difficult at times.
"You can become very attached to your patients because you see
them a lot toward the terminal end," Hall said. "You can become
emotionally attached and you have to be strong for the [owner], so
they [will] do what is best for the patient."
Hall also said, "People are understanding and do not want [the
animals] to feel any pain, so they understand when it comes to the
point where the animal is ready."
Regardless Hall enjoys her job and ability to support the
"I am defiantly here to help the [Trooper] out," said Hall, whose
Veterinary Treatment Facility has 24-hour emergency services. O
THE WIRE I PAGE 5
David William McLean
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
A group assembles and boards a pontoon boat as the sun
slowly dips down into the horizon, May 7. The boat captain gives
final instructions before they embark on their evening activity.
The group readies poles and baits hooks in an attempt to catch
anything that will bite.
Joint Task Force Guantanamo Troopers can fish Guantanamo
Bay and enjoy the outdoors at no cost through the Morale, Welfare
and Recreation Liberty Tours. The free fishing trips happen twice
a month; once during the day, and once during the evening.
Navy Seaman Randy Comeau, a master-at-arms with the base
police, captains some of these trips in search of watery game.
"There is no typical fishing trip," Comeau said. "Leave the
docks at 7 p.m. and you never know what's going to happen from
there. Sometimes it will be a beautiful day and you'll catch a lot
offish. Sometimes it will be windy, and all you'll catch is a cold
and some disappointment. But you never know unless you get
out there and try."
Three Troopers were trying the blue waters of Guantanamo
Bay for the first time on this night trip. Navy Lt. John Rankin
and Navy Lt. Rich Ryan with the Navy Expeditionary Guard
Battalion and a Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class with Joint Medical
Group were trying to land some fish for the first time, and would
not be disappointed by coming up empty-handed. It took Rankin
364 days here to finally come out and fish.
"[I have] no expectations, just wanted to come out and do
some night fishing," Rankin said. "I wish I could have done it
more often. It's very relaxing."
The quiet waters help add to the relaxing environment, said
"I enjoy it. It's nice, calming," the petty officer said. "It's an
adventure. It's stuff you can do to just get out of work, relax and
not worry about what you went through during the day."
The day is quickly forgotten as the activity of tending lines and
baiting hooks with shrimp, squid or the occasional baitfish takes
the place of a rough day at work. The only work to look forward
to is reeling in one of the bay's many
different types of fish.
"Snapper, barracuda, croaker, a
little bit of everything," said Comeau.
"You never know what you're going to
catch till you get out here."
Most of the catch that evening
were croakers, but a small puffer
fish, juvenile tarpon, and an eerie
ribbonfish made it into the mix as well.
The tackle for catching these fish was
a simple weight-and-hook rig on
equipment supplied by the fisherman
and the MWR site facilities. MWR
also supplies the bait, drinking water,
boat, some food, gas for the boat and
"I get to go fishing for free,"
Comeau said. "They provide some
tackle, a free trip out, food, water, and
hopefully a good time."
"We'll just go back home and have
enjoyed saying that we got out and
went fishing," Ryan said.
For more information about fishing
trips, the Liberty Tour schedule on
the intranet provides trip dates, and a
reservations can be made by calling a. a
ext. 2010. 0 e. i
PAGE 6 I THE WIRE
LOCAL SPORTS I FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2009
Bromance brings laughs to big screen
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
What happens when the average person
reaches the point in life when they're
ready to walk down the aisle? For Peter
Klaven (Paul Rudd of "Role Models"),
it's not the usual fear of commitment that
plagues him, but instead the realization that
all of his friends are women. This strange
predicament forces the Los Angeles realtor
to search hastily for a best man. The stress
involved leaves almost no time for tux
shopping, family cohesion, or ceremony
planning. This situation has an enormous
effect on Peter's self-perception and places
a new spin on the average wedding crisis.
This year's latest romance flick,
"I Love You, Man," picks up as Peter
adventures out on a comedic man-hunt for
Mr. Right. After many man-on-man dates
and one misunderstood candlelit evening,
his fiance Zooey (Rashida Jones from
NBC's "The Office") notice's his struggle
and, in an attempt to help, enlists Peter in
a fun-filled night of poker and drinks with
the dudes. Unfortunately, the male bonding
inadvertently concludes with disastrous
drunken results. Through his many
missteps, Peter realizes that neither his
fiance, his brother, a gay personal trainer,
FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2009 1 MOVIE RECON
PAUL RUDD JASON SEGEL
I LOVE YOU,
L- A- VI MAW BdOUS1 SAY II?
nor he could assist him in this quest.
Just as Peter has given up hope he meets
the laid back, brutally uncensored scooter-
riding hipster named Sydney (Jason Segel,
"Forgetting Sarah Marshall"). The pair first
meet while he's scoping for rich divorces
and scoring free Paninis at one of Peter's
open houses. Sydney is a nightmare to
those who are blissfully into adult life he
instead enjoys hanging out with his homes
and chillaxing in his apartment garage,
appropriately referred to as "the man
cave"- where no woman has ever and will
never place foot.
While falling deeper into the haphazard
adventures of Sydney, Peter encounters
a hulky choke-hold, winds up nude on a
billboard and gets engulfed in "slappin' the
Comically portraying the ins and outs of
true friendship, Jason Segal and Paul Rudd
keep the audience blushing and rolling
throughout one of the best-made romance
flicks of all time. This movie should be
watched by all who are insecure, unsure
and confused about manly relationships. It
should not however, be viewed by youngsters
or those who are easily offended.
Even though the male bonding is off
the wall, and often cringe-worthy, this
film should give every man the urge to add
some romance to his life and seek out that
Mr. Right. 0
THE WIRE I PAGE 7
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
Called the "Pearl of the Antilles,"
Guantanamo Bay's wonders are little-
known to the rest of the world. Once a
frequent port of call in Spanish colonial
days, this community on the southeast
corner of communist Cuba is now a closed
port where only a few experience the beauty
it has to offer.
One of the hidden beauties of
Guantanamo Bay is Glass Beach. Nestled
between Ferry Landing and Girl Scout
Beach, this small stretch of sand and rock is
cloaked in local legend. From pirate ships
to long-dead Sailors, the stories abound
to explain the namesake of this particular
beach. Famous for the sea glass that washes
up on the shore, Glass Beach is a favorite
spot for anyone who appreciates these
gems and who wants to get away from the
inherent stressors of life on this particular
Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Johnston, director of
public works, Naval Station Guantanamo
Bay is familiar with the stories about Glass
"Like so many things at Guantanamo, the
lines between story and truth are somewhat
hazy," Johnston said. "Everyone wants to
believe something exotic about the glass
that washes up here. There isn't a house in
Guantanamo that doesn't have a jar of sea
glass from here on their windowsill."
Johnston said one of the main stories
involves the Enlisted Men's Club that
used to be located overlooking the beach.
Known as the "White Hat Club," because
of the headgear worn by enlisted men in
the early part of the twentieth century, the
recreational facility was a place for enlisted
men to let off steam after a long day of
"It has been said that Sailors would
chuck their empty bottles into the bay and
this is what washes up on the beach now,"
said Johnston. "Some bottles probably did
end up in the drink, but not nearly enough
to explain the volume of glass that washes
The true origin of the glass that gives
the beach its name is something much less
pleasant to the sensibilities of today.
"Prior to any sort of environmental
awareness, the naval station used to dump
trash directly into the bay," Johnston said.
"That, and the landfill just down from
the beach. The waves from the bay and
inclement weather loosen the old trash
and wash it out into the bay with the
rest. Eventually, it washes back up on the
The reason Glass Beach has the most
glass on its shore lies in the way the land is
shaped. The beach is set back a little from
the rest of the shoreline and is protected
from the rough waters.
"There is really no other place for glass
to wash up," said Johnston. "This beach
is the only real place that sediment is
able to remain on. This is due to a large
storm drain that empties at this beach. The
storm drain washes the sandy soil onto the
shoreline here, creating the sandy beach
and mixing with the sediments from the
PAGE 101 THE WIRE
While the sea glass that glistens in the
sand of Glass Beach may not have the
most romantic origins, it is unique in its
sheer volume. Also known as "mermaid's
tears" or "lucky tears," sea glass is rare
in most places around the world. But, in
Guantanamo Bay anyone can visit Glass
Beach and take home a handful.
In his book, "Pure Sea Glass," Richard
LaMotte describes these semi-natural gems
as "castaway glass" that has been naturally
tumbled by sand and sea before washing
ws & INFORMATION I FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2009
FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2009 I NEWS & INFORMATION
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
There's no greater professional compliment than
receiving a prestigious award for completing your daily
mission. For one Army officer, the fact that the award was
presented by the Army Chief of Staff at the Pentagon made
the honor even more rewarding.
Army Capt. Christopher Hodl, Commander of the 189th
Military Police Company, assigned to Joint Task Force
Guantanamo, received the MacArthur Leadership Award at
a ceremony held at the Pentagon Auditorium in Washington
D.C., May 8.
Capt. Hodl said he was very humbled by the
"I got to meet the Chief of Staff and senior generals,"
said Hodl. "It was also interesting to meet my peers who
also received the award. Many were very accomplished."
Gen. George W. Casey, Jr., Chief of Staff of the U.S.
Army, and Mr. Henry U. Harris, III, representing the
General Douglas MacArthur Foundation, presented Hodl
and his fellow recipients with the award.
Each year the MacArthur Leadership Award, an engraved
15-pound bronze bust of Gen. MacArthur, is presented to
25 U.S. Army officers and three U.S. Army warrant officers
for demonstrating the qualities that Gen. MacArthur strived
to exemplify duty, honor and loyalty to one's country.
MacArthur award recipients demonstrate the ability to
influence others to accomplish the mission by providing
purpose, direction and motivation; are technically
and tactically proficient in their positions; and exhibit
outstanding team-building and
The U.S. Army Southern
Command nominated Hodl
for the award based on his
performance during the past
16 months of his tour at Naval
Station Guantanamo Bay.
With more than one-third of
his six-year military career spent
overseas, Capt. Hodl responded
with genuine surprise.
"All I did was come to work
everyday and take care of my
Soldiers," said Hodl, who sees
his nomination and other junior
awards that have been presented
during his deployment as just
another, "validation for the
caliber of people deployed to
Officers and enlisted
personnel assigned to Joint
Task Force Guantanamo, like
Hodl, strive to place the safe
and humane care and custody
of detainees at the forefront of
their mission. 0
THE WIRE I PAGE 11
GLASS from 10
"Each piece is unique with its own story
behind it, and can date from ancient times
to the present," LaMotte writes. "One can
only imagine where the glass originated
and how long it has been bobbing in the
Rebecca Bayless has spent much time
combing the beaches for sea glass and
fashioning it into wearable art.
"I never saw sea glass until I came here
a few years ago," Bayless said. "I was
amazed at how pretty it was and began to
learn about the different kinds of glass."
Bayless said she has found even the
rarest colors of sea glass on Glass Beach.
"Black is the most rare color world-
wide," Bayless said. "It dates from the
mid to late 1800s, before the naval station.
It is really green or purple glass that has
darkened to almost black over time. The
most likely origin of the black glass is
probably rum bottles from the pirate ships
that were known to be in this area."
Here in Guantanamo Bay there are
other colors of sea glass that are even less
common, said Bayless.
"Here, I would say orange, yellow and
red are the hardest to find. And then, of
course, there is the coveted cobalt blue that
you have to really look for," Bayless said.
Bayless said she has seen an increased
interest in sea glass from the time she first
arrived on the island to the present.
"There used to be more," Bayless said.
"Since that time more people have become
aware of the special nature of sea glass."
Whether from pirate revels, tipsy
Sailors, or the less-romantic trash dump
into the bay, Glass Beach undoubtedly
holds a beauty unique to Guantanamo Bay.
It is a place alive with legend, that glitters
when the sun hits it just right. Enjoyed by
everyone on the island, the beach is part of
what makes Guantanamo Bay the "Pearl of
the Antilles." 0
NEWS & INFORMATION I FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2009
The history of JTF Guantanamo, through the eyes of a lens
CAMERA from 3
"We have to be an unbiased party,
strictly there to document what happens,"
the combat camera NCOIC said.
Navy Combat Camera is a command
that deploys around the world in support
of various missions. Photographers
must be trained and ready to go into
different situations at a moment's notice.
From humanitarian missions to combat
operations, combat cameramen document
military operations to support commanders
in the field.
With units based in Norfolk, Va., and
SanDiego, Calif., Navy combat cameramen
cover surface, subsurface, air and ground
operations of armed forces engaged in
combat, combat support operations,
humanitarian efforts, scientific research and
other peacetime activities. The cameramen
are trained to provide still photography and
video documentation which can be quickly
uploaded in the field to commanders around
In addition to photographic training,
combat cameramen also receive additional
combat, weapons and aircraft safety
training, as well as other specialized training
to prepare them for deployment and
insertion into hostile and remote $
areas, often embedding on the front
lines with combat units.
"We train for whatever force we deploy
with," said the section's NCOIC.
This additional training helps the
cameramen to seamlessly integrate with
whatever forces they deploy with and not
become a liability.
"The training we receive allows me
to go through my job with confidence,"
a combat cameraman said. "I know that
I am properly trained so I can eventually
get home to my family once my mission
is done." Q
tsw. r ,t:.,r- "
Clean-up makes positive impact
VOLUNTEER from 4
I always get mad about the trash," said
Norris said he was glad to get involved
with the clean-up efforts and feels it has a
positive effect on the living conditions for
everyone on the island.
"If we don't keep it clean, no one else
will," said Norris.
Army Pfc. Dana Eltaher and Army
Sgt. Joshua Boyer, both administrative
specialists with the 193r1, said they both
feel it is a great way to get to see all the
beaches on the island.
"I get to see all the beaches and the view
is breathtaking," said Eltaher.
Eltaher said she feels volunteering is a
great way to make the best of her time at
Naval Station Guantanamo Bay.
"I enjoy doing something positive for
the community I share with others during
my deployment here," said Eltaher. "I have
already gotten to see several beaches
since I started volunteering in the last
Salazar said the volunteers have
been to Windmill, Cable and Girl
Scout beaches thus far and plan
on making the rounds to all of the
beaches located on the base.
"We meet every Saturday at the
basketball goal inside the Tierra Kay
housing community at 7:45 a.m. and
welcome anyone who would like to
join us," said Salazar.
"We are looking to get the word
out and hope that more Troopers
will get involved with the program,"
said Salazar. "Not only can we make
a difference, we can also build new
friendships during our time here."
For more information about the
volunteer program, please contact Staff
Sgt. Rene Salazar at extension 2314. 0
Boots on the Ground by Army Sgt. Derrol Fulghum
What is the best or most interesting thing you've received here in a package?
Navy Petty Officer 31d Class Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class
Evan Hill Zachary Harris
"I received a pack of "I received photos of my
Tarot cards." niece."
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Air Force Staff Sgt.
Ashley Griffith Adam Hensley
"I got my Nintendo Wii "I enjoyed the homemade
with the 'Zelda: Twilight fortune cookies with
Princess' game." messages from my family
FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2009 I VOICE OF THE FORCE
THE WIRE I PAGE 13
Mission first, people always
JTF Guantanamo Deputy Command Chaplain
"Man Down!" When that cry sounds, Troopers selflessly move toward the
sound. They will ignore danger and move toward their injured battle buddy
or shipmate. The man or woman down knows that help will come. Whatever
the risk, someone will run or low crawl to get there in time to protect and give
aid. U.S. military history is full of stories of brave men and women who were
determined that no one would be left behind. It is part of the Soldier's Creed,
and at the very heart of what, "Mission First, People Always" is all about.
Most of us have seen the movie or read the book "Black Hawk Down."
This is part of that heroic account from a talk given by religious leader Henry
"During fighting in Somalia in October of 1993, two United States Army
Rangers in a helicopter during the firefight learned that two other helicopters
near them had fallen to the earth. The two rangers, in their relative safety
aloft, learned by radio that no ground forces were available to rescue one of
the downed aircrews. Growing numbers of the enemy were closing in on the
The two men watching from above volunteered to go down to the ground
to protect their critically wounded comrades. Their request was denied
because the situation was so dangerous. They asked a second time. Permission
was again denied. Only after their third request were they put down on the
Armed only with their personal weapons, they fought their way to the
crashed helicopter and the injured fliers. They moved through intense small
arms fire as enemies converged on the crash site. They pulled the wounded
from the wreckage. They put themselves in a perimeter around the wounded,
placing themselves in the most dangerous positions. They protected their
comrades until their ammunition was depleted and they were fatally wounded.
Their bravery and their sacrifice saved the life of a pilot who would have been
They were each awarded posthumously the Medal of Honor. The citation
reads that what they did was "above and beyond the call of duty."
But I wonder if they saw it that way as they moved to the downed airmen.
Out of loyalty they felt a duty to stand by their fellow Soldiers, whatever the
cost. The courage to act and their selfless service came from feeling that they
were responsible for the lives and the safety of comrades."
What these Army Rangers did that day is a leadership lesson like no other.
Their valor will never be forgotten. When I heard this story in church I thought
to myself, I must do more for those I am called to serve. "Mission First, People
Always," is everyone's responsibility.
Jesus said, "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even
so to them." (Matt. 7:12.)
We also need to take care of ourselves. I do not know of anyone who has
not been or is not in some kind of mental, physical or spiritual firefight. We
all need help at times. Too often, out of fear or pride, we keep our problems a
secret, and the rescue team flying overhead does not know where to land. Be
assured, there is help all around us at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay. There
is no shortage of caring people, worship space in the chapels or classroom
seating at the Fleet and Family Support Center. The doors are open and the
seats are plenty. O
Army Sgt. 1st Class Randall Shughart and Army
Master Sgt. Gary Gordon were both members of a
Delta Force sniper team. During a raid in Mogadishu
October 3, 1993, both men were providing precision
and suppresive fire from helicopters above two
helicopter crash sites. Learning that no ground forces
were available to rescue one of the downed aircrews,
Shughart and Gordon volunteered to be inserted to
protect their wounded comrades. After requesting
and being denied permission twice because of the
danger of the situation, the two fought their way to the
downed helicopters through intense small arms fire
and established a perimeter to defend the wounded.
They continued to protect their comrades until they
were fatally wounded. Their actions saved the life of
Army Chief Warrant Officer Michael Durant.
SI i II I 'I 1 l 'S
Sunday: 7 a.m. Confession
7:30 a.m. Mass
Wednesday: 11 a.m.
Sunday: 9 a.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m.
Sunday: 6 p.m.
Wednesday: 7 p.m.
LIFE & SPIRIT I FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2009
PAGE 14 1 THE WI\IRE
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Austin Humphries poses in a photo after reenlisting in the Navy for six more years, April 30.
- JTF Guantanamo photo by Army Sgt. Michael Baltz
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Austin
Humphries is a guard at the Joint Task
Force Guantanamo detention facilities who
maintains a positive outlook by living the
Navy values and the JTF Guantanamo-
coined phrase, "honor bound to defend
"He wasn't even in charge of the
block," said Navy Lt. Richard Ryan, when
explaining how Humphries earned his Navy
Achievement Medal. "He just happened to
be walking down the block and noticed a
detainee trying to commit self-harm."
The JTF Guantanamo missionisto ensure
the safe, humane, legal and transparent care
and custody of detainees.
Humphries took control of the situation,
ordering the cell door to be opened. He then
restrained the detainee and prevented him
from causing additional self-harm. As a
result, Humphries saved the detainee's life
and was awarded the Navy Achievement
When Humphries and his unit came
together for pre-mobilization in Gulfport,
Miss., Humphries immediately stood out,
according to Ryan.
"His commitment is shown by always
having a positive military bearing in this
dynamic environment," Ryan said. "He
shows courage by the particular incident
[above] and based on his performance in
those situations, he shows he has a lot of
honor by carrying out the mission."
Ryan noted that, "Humphries also lives
by the JTF GTMO phrase 'Honor Bound.'
It isn't just a phrase for him. It is a way of
In almost 10 months, Humphries has
been called on to
assist in many
situations inside the
camps. Though his
job is often stressful,
Humphries keeps a
"I have been
stationed at several
"My positive outlook
isn't going to change
just because I am
arrived at JTF
Guantanamo, he was
a petty officer third
class and weighed
235 pounds. Since
then he has been
dropped a few
"I work out six
days a week. I love
FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2009 I 15 MINUTES OF FAME
it," said Humphries. "I was 235 when I got
here and now I am about 186 pounds."
The gym is something that helps relieve
stress during a deployment for Humphries.
He said he also enjoys snorkeling and
participating in Morale, Welfare and
Humphries credits his leadership for
supporting him. He said
that Ryan's actions, by
helping him square-
away personal issues
and by maintaining
a strong presence on
the cell block with the
Troopers, helps him
maintain his positive
"I would be
happy to serve with
because he is the
epitome of a sailor,"
Ryan said. 0
Navy Petty Officer
2nd Class Austin
through one of the
at Joint Task Force
by Army Sgt. Michael
THE WIRE I PAGE 15
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