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What is the BEEF?
Air Force Senior Master Sgt.
474th ECES Operations Supervisor
Many personnel around Guantanamo Bay hear the term, "BEEF" and may
think of cows. However, the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard have
a different meaning for the word. The acronym "BEEF" stands for Base
Engineer Emergency Force. The Air National Guard
has approximately 84 Prime BEEF units throughout
the United States, made up of approximately 50-person
teams and varies in many Civil Engineer Air Force
Prime BEEF teams respond to many emergency
situations. Members assist in military and civilian
communities for the recovery of natural disasters
which include; Hurricane Camille in 1969, Hurricane
Agnes in 1972, Hurricane Fredrick in 1979 and
Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Prime BEEF teams also have
what is called, "Deployment for Training" or DFT These
deployments are to assist any and all bases approved by
the National Guard Bureau in projects around those bases.
This serves two purposes, it saves the government money
by eliminating base contracts and it also trains the Civil
Engineering members in their specialty codes.
September 1, 2007 was a huge date as members of
the BEEF deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, making
history and supporting a $10.2 million construction
project for Phase I of the Expeditionary Legal
Complex used for Joint Task Force Guantanamo
military commissions, at Naval Station Guantanamo
Bay. After settling into "Tent City," now known
as Camp Justice, and without realizing the date
significance, this projectbroke ground on September
11. Approximately 100 Air National Guard Civil
Engineering members from six different states
combined efforts to help ensure trials are provided
for the detainees held at JTF Guantanamo.
Blueprints designed by another group known as
RED HORSE, (Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy
Operational Repair Squadron Engineers) called for
converting an abandoned airfield into an expansive
campus that would include all the amenities needed
to facilitate the Office of Military Commissions.
The BEEF was to work on a six-month deployment
with the 474th Expeditionary Civil Engineer
Squadron on pre-specific construction goals.
The BEEF, assigned to the 474th ECES, used
their exceptional and innovative skills to overcome
unforeseen obstacles to complete their dedicated
contributions to this project. The logistics of
acquiring the materials by airplane or via a barge
from Florida were nightmarish to say the least.
Weather aside, the logistics of this mission were
uncontrollable and truly tested the ability of the units
to beg, borrow and network materials for the project.
Focus, teamwork and island community support were
incredible assets to the mission's success.
It has been my Air Force career experience to learn
how well Prime BEEF is known throughout all the
services. It is always an experience to work beside
our counterparts in the different branches of service
such as the Navy Seabees. Along with the construction
responsibilities inherent to civil engineering, we are
also the back-up force for our security forces.
If there was any advice I could give to a confused
new recruit it would be start in any branch of service
in the construction area. It is a great experience in the
service and outside the service as well. Q
TROOPER-TO-TROOPER I FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 2009
PAGE 2 1 THE WIRE
Army Staff Sgt.
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
In the coming month, Joint Task
Force Guantanamo will see new
leadership on both the enlisted
and officer sides. The JTF's new
senior enlisted leader is already on
board, spending his first few weeks
meeting and greeting the Troopers
and getting accustomed to daily
life at Naval Station Guantanamo
Navy Master Chief Petty
Officer Scott Fleming recently
began a two-year tour as the new
JTF command master chief.
Like many others who come
here, Fleming was curious about
what to expect upon his arrival
at GTMO. In his short time on
island, Fleming has had the
opportunity to observe Troopers
throughout the JTF at their day-
to-day mission and has gained a
better understanding of the JTF
mission and the Troopers who
make it happen.
"It's obvious to anybody who
walks through that the people here
understand their business and do
it very well," said Fleming. "The
perceptions that exist externally
are most decidedly not true."
Fleming is no stranger to
detention operations. During his
most recent assignment, he served
as the command master chief
of Navy Provisional Detainee
Battalion 5, which conducted
detention operations at Iraq's
largest detention facility at Camp
Bucca for nine months. Fleming Navy 1A
explained that the difference comm,
between the environment in Iraq photo
and at GTMO is that his involvement in Iraq
was more at the tactical level. However, his
experience has given him an appreciation
for the broader detention mission.
"I see the importance in understanding
how troops deal with all of the things on
their plates here," he said.
In addition to keeping a finger on the
pulse of the Troopers here, Fleming plans
to look at ways each entity within the JTF
can better work together to accomplish the
mission. Fleming will work with senior
leaders at all levels to increase coordination
and ensure the success of the mission.
FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 2009 I MISSION
master Chief Petty Officer Scott Fleming recently began a two-year tour as the
and master chief for Joint Task Force Guantanamo. JTF Guantanamo command
"I see myself as the person who
is looking at everything to figure out
where we can implement some process
improvement," Fleming said.
As the senior enlisted leader of the
JTF, Fleming has high expectations of the
Troopers and expects that the same high,
professional standards that have been
followed since the detention facilities
opened in 2002 will continue until the
"The core concepts of standard operating
procedures and good order and discipline
continue to be crucial here," Fleming said.
As the JTF prepares to close the
detention facilities, Fleming believes it
is still important to focus on the day-to-
day mission and continue to provide safe,
humane, legal and transparent care and
custody to each and every detainee until the
mission is complete. He has some advice
for Troopers to keep them "in the game"
and stay focused and professional.
"Resist external perceptions, don't get
caught up in the end-state," Fleming said.
"Look at the person on your left and right
and figure out how to get through that day
in a professional manner." 0
THE WIRE I PAGE 3
West Point Cadets Michael Niemiec, John Oswald, William Yankauskas, Carson Williams and Chad Plenge spent two
weeks job-shadowing platoon leaders with the 193rd Military Police Company at JTF Guantanamo. JTF Guantanamo
photo by Army Staff Sgt. Emily J. Russell
Army Staff Sgt.
Emily J. Russell
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
For five West Point Cadets, a trip to
Joint Task Force Guantanamo has been an
educational and eye-opening experience as
they jump into the role of platoon leader,
working with the Troopers who serve at the
most talked-about detention center in the
"The cadets are assigned to individual
lieutenants and get to [job]-shadow them
during their time here," said Army 2nd Lt.
Stephanie Wormwood, Camp 5 assistant
officer-in-charge. "They get to see the
Army in action and they [experience] the
cohesion that comes with being on a real-
The program is intended to expose
cadets to the job of platoon leader, and
show them what the position is like in an
active duty unit.
"It's a great program," said Army Capt.
Pedro Vazquez, company commander of
the 193rd Military Police Company. "[The
Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Alexander
Conyers, and I] give the cadets an officer
evaluation report when they leave here.
Basically, it's an assessment of their
leadership potential. The evaluation helps
them with their [duty] assignment because it
can help them get the branch they desire."
While the cadets are here, they are
considered to be in platoon leader positions,
PAGE 4 I THE WIRE
dealing with all facets of leadership like
Soldier counseling, evaluation writing,
mentoring junior Soldiers, performing
inventories as well as other key tasks
performed by a platoon leader.
"The cadets work the entire shift with the
platoon leader," Vazquez said. "It's good
for the cadet, and for the platoon leader
because it shows them how far they've
come from when they were cadets."
Cadet Chad Plenge, the cadet-in-charge,
began planning and coordinating the visit
for the team long before their arrival. He
worked with West Point leadership and
193rd MP Co. leadership to plan the tour,
addressing transportation, lodging, meals
and many other details that are important
to a seamless mission.
"They really tried to show us the bigger
picture down here," said Cadet Michael
Niemiec. "They've taken us to the different
camps to show us how each service
contributes. I've never seen so many
military branches and civilian agencies
working together on a project before so it's
been really interesting."
The cadets have been busy since they
"At West Point, we learn that the main
point for an officer is leading Soldiers
and providing everything they need," said
Cadet John Oswald. "Down here, with such
close interaction between the officers and
the [enlisted] Soldiers, it's a really neat
experience to see day-to-day [operations]
in the camps. You're working shoulder-to-
shoulder with other Soldiers and really get
a feel for what they need on a daily basis."
"I had the opportunity at the beginning
of this training to help prepare the meals for
some of the detainees," said Cadet William
Yankauskas. "Initially coming here, I
didn't know what to expect. Guantanamo
Bay is portrayed in a really shady manner
by the [civilian] media but I discovered that
the guards go to great lengths to serve the
detainees. I want to become an [Military
Policeman] more than before. I believe
that you don't ever want to become what
you fight. You have to lead by example.
It's important to treat people in a humane
way as the guards at Guantanamo Bay have
In an effort to give the cadets a well-
rounded experience, the 193rd has arranged
for additional tours that educate them about
the other branches of service and how all
the branches of service come together at
Naval Station Guantanamo Bay.
"We've toured Coast Guard [vessels],
visited the Northeast gate and learned how
the Marines [patrol] the perimeter," said
Niemiec. [We also see] how the Navy,
Army and [Air Force] all contribute within
The opportunity to spend time within
the detention facilities, observing and
following the example of the Troopers
MISSION I FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 2009
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
Maritime Safety and Security Team
Seattle 91101 arrived at Naval Station
Guantanamo Bay to replace Port
Security Unit 305. Although the team has
changed, the mission for Joint Task Force
Guantanamo stays constant.
"The primary mission of MSST is to
provide anti-terrorism force protection
within the naval defensive sea area at Naval
Station Guantanamo Bay," said Coast
Guard Lt. j.g. Jason Berger, the external
security officer in-charge for commissions.
"Additional duties include landside security
for the expeditionary legal complex during
The MSST is new to the Coast Guard,
and was created under the Maritime
Transportation Security Act of 2002. The
creation of the unit was in response to the
terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, which is
where the unit gets its name from (91101).
The unit was modeled after Port Security
Units and Law Enforcement Detachments.
"MSST provides waterborne [security]
and a modest level of shore-side anti-
terrorism force protection for strategic
shipping, high interest vessels and critical
infrastructure," Berger said. "We are a quick
response force capable of rapid, nationwide
deployment in response to changing threat
conditions involving maritime homeland
security mission requirements."
FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 2009 I MISSION
The MSST will work hand-in-hand
with all other services to support the JTF
"This is the first time I have worked
with other services," Berger said. "There
is a language barrier, [but] I am anxious
to learn about the other military
This mission is something new
for a MSST.
"This is more of a PSU mission,"
said Chief Warrant Officer Jon
Nolan. "We are qualified for this
mission, but the transition has been
Traditionally, MSSTs are focused
on federal law enforcement, boating
enforcement laws and treaty
"Our coxswains are trained to
[perform] high risk maneuvers
to support Navy vessels," Nolan
explained. "That is included in our
Not only are the unit members
switching missions, some of them
are switching from reserves to active
"I spent my first 10 years on active
duty [with the] Coast Guard and the
last 10 as a reservist," said Chief
Petty Officer Brad Rogers, a safety
chief. "Coming from my civilian job
to being part of this process has been
quite a change. This environment is
much more professional."
Even though Rogers misses coaching
his son's baseball team, he is proud to be
part of this mission.
"I am honored that I was selected for
this mission," Rogers stated. "I really love
supporting this mission and working with
this group of professional individuals." Q
THE WIRE I PAGE 5
U Army Chaplain Capt. Eric Bey remains undefeated in racquetball tournaments at
Naval Station Gunantanamo Bay.
Michael Baltz 0 1
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs -
Stereotypes are found in all aspects S
of society, especially when it comes to
chaplains. They are expected to be mild-
mannered and laid back people. Nobody
expects them to be competitive.
Army Chaplain Capt. Eric Bey defeated
his on-island rival in a Morale, Welfare and
Recreation racquetball tournament, June 5,
as he continues to dominate the racquetball
courts at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay.
"You don't know how sweet that is," said
Bey, the 525th Military Police Battalion
In the field of seven competitors, Bey
came from the losers' bracket to claim
another racquetball trophy.
"In this tournament, I tried to reschedule
a match with [my opponent], but he
wouldn't do it," Bey explained. "As a
result of forfeiting, I went to the losers'
bracket and ultimately came back and beat
him twice in a row."
The tournament was a double elimination
tournament. In order to win a match, a
player had to beat his opponent in a best
of three series to give a loss. Since Bey
lost a match to forfeit, he had to win two
matches in the championship in order earn
the first place trophy. He went on to win
four straight games in the championship
giving his nemesis two losses and no hope.
The matches were highly intense and called
for a referee. It was the only match in the
tournament that had a referee.
The tournament was a mirror image
from a previous tournament where Bey
had to come up from the losers' bracket to
defeat his "arch-rival."
Bey has never lost a tournament here.
"I played some good players," Bey
confessed. "There are some good guys who
can improve on their game."
In 1989 Bey found his love of
racquetball and has continued playing and
learning the game ever since. He has 'court
savvy' that gives him the advantage over
"There are a lot of guys [who] can hit the
ball well, some as good as I can," Bey said.
"Court savvy gives me the advantage."
According to Bey, court savvy consists
of court position, opponent position,
racquet preparation, stroke mechanics, shot
selection and speed.
The tournament is one of the many ways
MWR sports boost morale. If you have
any questions regarding future racquetball Army Chaplain Capt. Eric Bey poses for a photo after winning MWR's racquetball
tournaments or MWR sports, call the sports tournament, June 5. He has never lost a racquetball tournament at Naval Station
office at ext. 2113. 0 Guantanamo Bay. JTF Guantanamo photo by Army Sgt. Michael Baltz
PAGE 6 1 THE WIRE
LOCAL SPORTS I FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 2009
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
Most carnivals have one of those
rides that spin, twist and turn you, and
at the same time as snot and drool leave
your body you are left with excitement
and pleasure. That is the same feeling
Tony Gilroy creates in "Duplicity."
Julia Roberts stars as Claire Stenwick,
a corporate spy for a pharmaceutical
company, along with Clive Owen as
Ray Koval, a corporate spy for a rival
pharmaceutical company. The two pair
up and become a spy team, as well as
the definition of sexual tension. The duo
construct a plan to become rich through
The movie's tag line is: Outwit.
Outspy. Outsmart. Outplay. Then get
Although the movie doesn't have the
most original plot to hit the big screen,
Gilroy, who also directed the movie
"Michael Clayton," uses flashbacks and
mind games that force the characters
to think outside the box to keep it
Claire and Ray constantly play
games with one another, testing each
other's loyalty to their mission and
their faithfulness to each other. They
are constantly being challenged and are
FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 2009 I MOVIE RECON
often paranoid, which goes with being
a spy. Since both of the main characters
have trust issues, the romantic aspects,
added with mission complications,
allow Gilroy to fool the audience with
multiple unpredictable events.
The movie manages to keep the
viewer intrigued with constant questions,
but unfortunately there are several cases
where the movie can be confusing with
an excessive amount of flashbacks.
The flashbacks are beneficial by
creating a unique atmosphere, but they
are also a drawback. There are several
incidents where you are left clueless to
what day it is or the order of events.
Regardless of a few minor faults,
"Duplicity" is an enjoyable romantic
spy flick and should be seen by all
fellow spies abroad. The movie will
provide guidance of what to do, but
more importantly, what not to do. Q
THE WIRE I PAGE 7
oint Logistics Over-the-Shore keeps Troopers busy
vith day and night operations as the exercise gets
The exercise will demonstrate Navy, Army and Marine
Dorps abilities to deploy, discharge and conduct re-
:eption and staging of equipment in a scenario that
equires ships to offload cargo and supplies while still
Lydia Alvarez, vice president, Naval Station HAHA chapter,
prepares her plate of food after working with other
members of her organization to prepare for the festival.
- JTF Guantanamo photo by Army Spc. April D. de Armas
April D. de Armas
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
Officially, Hispanic American Heritage month does not begin
until Sept. 15, however, this year the Hispanic American Heritage
Association at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay kicked off its
heritage celebration early with a festival held at the Naval Station's
community center June 6.
Doraina Alvarez, Naval Station's HAHA chapter secretary and
Tolteste Construction employee said the event was one of two to be
held at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay this year.
HAHA's goal is to bring more awareness to the community
PAGE 101 THE WIRE
The Panama table is one of the displays people saw at the
HAHA festival June 6. JTF Guantanamo photo by Army
Spc. April D. de Armas
about Hispanic heritage and help promote a better understanding
of the Latin community, said Doraina.
They also want to raise funds for a larger party, scheduled to
take place in September, she said.
"Although we usually only have one party a year, we decided
to host this festival so we can raise money for our main event in
September," said Doraina. "We would like to bring in a band for
our big celebration and we thought this festival would be a great
way to get things started."
The purpose of Hispanic American Heritage month is to
recognize the contributions Hispanic Americans have made to the
United States and to celebrate Hispanic history and culture.
The event showcased many historical and current items people
might find when visiting Hispanic countries such as: Ecuador,
Dominican Republic, Panama, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba and
Spain. Included amongst the different items were fancy dresses,
books, drums and dominos.
Lydia Alvarez, Navy Exchange employee and vice president of
the Naval Station's HAHA chapter helped plan the event.
Lydia said, when people visit the different tables they can see
some of the items on display and learn more about them as they
talk to the representatives of each country.
"People love to learn the Latino history and experience the
culture," said Lydia. "We feel it is important to bring a little of
home to the people of our community since we are all so far away
from home at the moment."
Lt. Col. Doris Acevedo, Joint Task Force Inspector General
was one who attended the festival and said she was very happy to
be a part of something this unique.
"This is the first festival I have attended and I am really
enjoying myself," said Acevedo. "I think it is important to have
the opportunity to experience different cultures since we have such
a diverse community here in Guantanamo Bay."
The different food options were a large part of the festival's
offerings with black beans and rice from the Cuban table to flan at
the Puerto Rican table and various meat and soup choices.
"The food is great and I love being able to taste the different
flavors from each of the countries represented," said Acevedo.
"You can tell everyone involved has a lot of pride when it comes
to their heritage."
The HAHA chapter members said they were excited to see such
a large turn out and expect to meet their fundraising goals in order
to make the September celebration even better.
"It's a lot of fun in spite of the work and I look forward to
seeing everyone in September," said Doraina. O
NEWS INFORMATION I FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 2009
U After 65 years, U.S. and Allied forces are still remembererd for their bravery
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
"You are about to embark upon the Great
Crusade, toward which we have striven
these many months. The eyes of the world
are upon you. The hopes and prayers of
liberty-loving people everywhere march
with you. In company with our brave Allies
and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you
will bring about the destruction of the
German war machine, the elimination of
Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of
Europe, and security for ourselves in a free
world." -Dwight D. Eisenhower
As the 65t anniversary of the watershed
event D-Day passes, we honor veterans and
keep alive the principles and lessons learned
from World War II.
On June 6, 1944 the United States and
Allies joined forces to end the German
occupation of France. With the territory
more favorable to the defenders than
to the invaders, the U.S. would have to
contend with several obstacles in order
to be victorious. Along with territorial
advantage, the Germans also had over seven
divisions of troops ready to defend. Samuel
Eliot Morison, an American naval historian,
stated, "the Germans had provided the
best imitation of hell for an invading force
that American troops had encountered
The amount of time, effort and training
necessary to prepare for an invasion of this
magnitude is almost unimaginable. Training
exercises began as early as September of
1943. They trained in areas such as deception,
refueling at sea, medical readiness for
inevitable casualties, aerial bombings of the
railroads and bridges in northern France and
logistics. Though the training was thorough,
new personnel and equipment made the
preparations more complex.
After careful groundwork and planning,
the eve was upon the U.S. troops and Allied
forces. Not wasting any time the day before
the invasion, a few minutes after midnight on
June 5h British and Canadian minesweepers
went to work. During the early hours of the
Omaha Beach invasion disaster was around
every corer. Out of eight companies, only
two landed at their designated beaches.
Around mid-afteroon troops began to make
progress. Late on the night of June 7th the
"higher ups" from the German forces began
to take the invasion seriously, but it was too
late. On May 8, 1945 the Germans finally
The D-day landings had various
meanings for different people and different
countries. For the Americans the D-Day
landings were an opportunity to demonstrate
that their forces could be highly effective
in providing the majority of the strength
needed to carry out a massive invasion.
D-Day was significant to the Americans
as it also demonstrated the strength and
success of their alliance with Britain. For
the Americans the D-Day landings were
considered to be instrumental in the defeat
of Nazi Germany and hopefully the return
of liberal democracy throughout Western
FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 2009 I NEWS & INFORMATION
THE WIRE I PAGE 11
who work here, has left an
impression on each of the
"I was unbelievably
impressed at how patient
the Soldiers are," said
Cadet Carson Williams.
"They get jerked around
by detainees who play
mind games with them
over and over, day after
day. These Soldiers work
[long shifts], are expected
to remain in peak physical
condition and still perform
their jobs consistently and
professionally. That takes Members of t
a very strong person to do Gate, June 5.
The job-shadowing program isn't just
beneficial for the cadet, but for the military
members they work with as well. As they
come to the end of their mission, the feedback
about their performance has been positive.
he 193'" Military Police Company and four West Point cadets toured the Northeast
- JTF Guantanamo photo by Army Staff Sgt. Emily J. Russell
"We understand that [being here may
be] an inconvenience," Williams said.
"There's times when we're more in the
way than we are helping, But, it has been
an awesome experience."
"The Soldiers here see the cadets coming
out of West Point are high-caliber Soldiers,"
Wormwood said. "They're going to be good
leaders. These Cadets are personable and
have really impressed the Soldiers." 0
NEWS & INFORMATION I FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 2009
PAGE 12 1 THE WIRE
In full swing
Participants of the golf tournament held May 30-31 pose with Greens Keeper Leader, Thompson Best (center).
Best, under the guidance of Outdoor Manager Glenford Simmons, coordinated the event, set up the tournament
course, registered players and assisted in tracking scores throughout the weekend. The tournament culminated
with Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Ed Moreno taking first place in the men's competition with a score of 67.2,
and Lydia Alvarez, the only female participant, taking first place in the ladies competition with a score of 112.8.
Second place went to Terry Snee scoring 69.6 and third to Jamal Youkhanna scoring 72. Photo submitted by Lydia
FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 2009 I VOICE OF THE FORCE
THE WIRE I PAGE 13
525th MP Battalion Chaplain
I can't tell you how often, in the short
time that I have been a Chaplain, I have
heard the words, "He's a Chaplain?" Most
people don't know that I have been in the
Army nearly 24 years now and that I was
enlisted for 16 years.
A man smarter than I might take those
words as an insult, but I have come to
like hearing them. I am not on some kind
of crusade to debunk the stereotype of
Chaplains or of Clergy in general. In the
words of the prophet Popeye, "I am what I
am, and that's all that I am." And truthfully
I think that that is the exact point I would
like to make.
I am a man like any other. I have the
same struggles, weaknesses, and problems.
Just because I have chosen to humble
myself before my God doesn't mean that
he changed me outright into the image of
Jesus. That is more of a process than an
event. Still, I recognize that I represent
God everywhere I go. It kind of bothers
me when people change their behavior or
speech when I come around them but at
least I understand it. To them, I represent
So the problem I see is that many people
put others on a pedestal and think more
highly of them than they ought. As a result,
one is held to a higher standard than others.
When people say incredulously, "He's a
Chaplain," what they are really saying is that
somehow I have failed their expectations
they hold for a Chaplain. It is true that
Scripture says that teachers and preachers
will be judged by a higher standard but it
does not give anyone else the right to. In
a way, I think it is dangerous for the ones
If you start holding others to a higher
standard than you do yourself, you're
setting yourself up for disappointment -
or worse. When you exalt the man of God
rather than God in the man you run the risk
of getting a David Koresh and the Branch
Davidians or Jim Jones and the People's
Temple kind of behavior. God is the only
one who is perfect.
The Apostle Paul wrote, "Follow me, as
I follow Christ." Even he would tell you,
as I do now, follow me until you see that I
am no longer following Christ then break
path and follow him. I am nothing; I can
do nothing of myself. The Bible reveals
that every man is like a branch. No branch
can produce fruit by itself. It needs the vine
or trunk and roots. So if I am deceived and
start my own religion where people follow
and worship me, I will be the most pitiful of
men and a short time will reveal that I am
a branch cut off from the tree. I will wither
Fear God and obey His commands. Be
courageous and of good cheer, love and
serve all, but worship One. When Reverend
Jimmy Swaggart preached on a particular
Sunday there were 1,500 people in the
pews intently listening to the Word of God.
During the week he was caught in grievous
sin and the next Sunday only 500 showed
up. I tell you the truth; a thousand people
had their eyes on the wrong thing! Don't
make that same mistake. Work out your own
salvation with fear and trembling and keep
your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher
of our faith! O
II Ll i Il
Sunday: 7 a.m. Confession
7:30 a.m. Mass
Spanish Catholic Mass
Sunday: 5 p.m.
at NAVSTA Chapel
Sunday: 9 a.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m.
Sunday: 6 p.m.
Wednesday: 7 p.m.
LIFE & SPIRIT I FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 2009
Sne ruerto Kican-oasea Dana, iunAmerica, recently visitea Japan auring a concert tour wnere tney piayea ror audiences
in Fujisawa, Mishima, Atami, Hiroshima, and Tokyo. Photo courtesy of Army Sgt. 1st Class Francisco Chiroque
Army Staff Sgt.
Emily J. Russell
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
Traveling home during block leave is
fairly standard for most deployed service
members. However, traveling to Japan to
play guitar during an international concert
tour, is something out of the ordinary.
Puerto Rico Army National Guard
Sgt. 1Pt Class Francisco Chiroque, non-
commissioned officer-in-charge of the
legal assistance office for Joint Task Force
Guantanamo, and founding member of
the Puerto Rican-based band TunAmerica
surprised his fellow band members,
appearing when they least expected to see
"I took leave and traveled to Japan,"
Chiroque explained. "I arrived at the same
time the group was beginning the second
song. They saw me and were [surprised]. I
joined in with the music and when the song
ended everyone put their instruments down
and gave me a hug on stage. It was a special
Chiroque, who is originally from Peru,
began playing guitar when he was 12 years
old. After attending university in Puerto
Rico to earn his law degree and master's
degree in law administration, he found his
life taking him in another direction.
"When I finished my master's degree, I
was supposed to go back to Peru," Chiroque
said. "But I discovered music so I stayed."
During his time at the University of
Puerto Rico, Chiroque made friends with
another musician and together they founded
the musical group TunAmerica.
"We founded this group in 1993, and
now we have 15 [musicians]," Chiroque
said. "We play salsa, meringue, balata,
Spanish rock all kinds of Latin music.
When we founded this group, we had
members from three different [countries]:
Peru, Puerto Rico and Spain. We [named]
the band TunAmerica, 'Tuna' for the
'tradition' and 'America' for the people."
TunAmerica is not a commercial group,
according to Chiroque.
"Playing music is our hobby," he said.
"Everyone in the group is a professional
and has anotherjob."
Despite their non-commercial approach
to music, TunAmerica's presence is world-
"In countries like Spain, Portugal,
France and Mexico, people know us,"
Chiroque said. "We've traveled all over
the world, have been to Europe 22 times
and have traveled to Peru, Chile, Argentina
and Venezuela. Our largest audience was
approximately 12,000 members."
When Chiroque isn't busy
with work, he may be found
practicing his guitar in his
room, or writing music for an
upcoming album, which the
band hopes to release within
the next year.
"Since I've been here I've
written about 30 songs," he
said. "I send the music and
lyrics to a friend of mine and
he works with the [musical]
TunAmerica has previously
released two other albums,
"Corazon Vagabundo," and
"Toda-Via." Both albums
feature a variety of Latin beats
with influences from Latin and
Spanish American music. On
the second album, TunAmerica
began featuring their own
"I wrote two songs for this
last [album]," Chiroque said.
"When you write something,
you might think it's no good
so you don't want anyone to read it. But
when somebody hears my song and tells
me it's good, I feel very proud. Starting this
year, I'm going to write more songs for [my
TunAmerica plans to release their third
album with all original tunes.
Chiroque's music has been influenced
by The Beatles and Juan Luis Guerra, a
popular Latin musician.
"Their music has inspired me to write
[lyrics]," he said.
Chiroque sums up his belief in the
importance of music with a quote from
author Pat Conroy, "Without music, life is
a journey through a desert."
Formore informationabout TunAmerica,
visit the Web site: www.tunamerica.org. O
FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 2009 I 15 MINUTES OF FAME
THE WIRE I PAGE 15
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