A NY Aommal
In pursuit of a
Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer
Joint Detention Group Detainee Operations NCOIC
As I was involved in preparing for the 2009 Ramadan
briefings, one of my tasks was to get Ramadan information
cards printed. I noticed the Joint Task Force Guantanamo logo
and saw all of the services represented. I studied it and said
to myself that it takes a lot of elements to make the mission
come together and to get everyone pulling in the same direction
toward mission accomplishment. The JTF team does just that -
gets the job done! As with the pentagon, I came up with my top
five points that are very important to our mission success.
Good leadership is the binding force that keeps it all
together. A leader communicates goals, takes appropriate
measures to mitigate the risks and gets everyone
involved. Communication is an integral part of the
mission. Good leaders depend on it to disseminate
information, give orders and receive guidance.
As with our next big operation, Ramadan, we ..
must communicate the command goals, expected -
detainee behaviors and cultural practices to ensure
a successful operation. A good example of this
can be taken from our recent briefings from senior
Professionalism is continually demonstrated
on the cell blocks. We must all know our jobs and I
perform them at a high level. When professionalism
is observed, it canbe contagious and inspires others to
rise to the occasion. A command can move from being
just effective to being an award-winning organization
if we all make peak professionalism our standard.
Even the detainees can recognize a professional
We have a diverse team at the JTF. Everybody
is important to the mission. Whether we are service
personnel, civilians or contractors, we rely on
each other. We all add value to the mission, so we
must respect each other and recognize everyone's
importance. How can the guard work without the
interpreter? How can we house the detainees in
working facilities without contractor support?
How can the JTF maintain force protection and
commissions support without the service elements
working together? In short, it cannot happen without
us respecting and embracing our diversity.
Institutional and tactical proficiency are key .
to our mission. Joint Task Force Guantanamo is a
unique assignment, and it has its own challenges. Past
experiences may be helpful, but getting proficient with
the standard operating procedures and knowing camp-
specific practices will serve you well on the blocks. In
my job of updating the JDG-SOP, I see all the changes
as it is continually being updated. It's imperative that
leaders and guards stay aware of the changes and
follow the SOP.
Leadership, communication, professionalism,
embracing diversity and tactical proficiency if practiced,
they will present us in good stead. Again, as I see the task
force logo, it brings to mind the old adage, "One Team, One
PAGE 2 I THE WIRE
TROOPER-TO-TROOPER I FRIDAY, AUGUST 21, 2009
Army Sgt. joint atmosphere.
Andrew Hillegass "This has been my first joint
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs environment. I have had to learn how the
Army and Air Force do things. The entire
With a considerable number of Troopers
deployed here, it takes a large number of
doctors, dentists and nurses to treat any
injury or ailment that might prevent them
from completing their mission.
The task of helping to care for the bumps,
bruises and sprained ankles of Troopers
deployed to Joint Task Force Guantanamo
falls to the Joint Trooper Clinic.
Although many people think of the
JTF medical staff's primary mission as the
health and well-being of the detainees at
Joint Task Force Guantanamo's detention
facilities, their focus is not purely on
detainee well-being. They also assist in
caring for personnel who may have medical
needs ranging from toothaches to broken
"[The JTC] is a split responsibility with
the [525th Military Police Battalion and the
Joint Medical Group]. The [525th] provides
doctors and medics, and [the JMG] provides
some hospital corpsmen, dental technicians
and dentists," said JMG senior enlisted
leader Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer
The staff of the JTC is comprised of
Army, Navy and Air Force personnel.
While members of the medical staff
may only be deployed for six-month or
one-year rotations, their time here gives
them invaluable experience working in a
FRIDAY, AUGUST 21, 2009 | MISSION
experience has been excellent," added
With his group here for such a short
period of time, Wheeler stresses that
staying focused at all times is a constant
goal for his team.
"Our challenges are ever-changing and
they come in waves. When we first arrived
here, we had to make sure that all of our
[Troopers] were up to speed on the JTF
standards and that everyone was learning
that standard," said Wheeler.
Aside from treating Troopers ailments,
the JMG also has the eyes of the world on
them as they provide 24/7 medical care
including general surgical, dental care,
preventive medicine, routine care, mental
health services and specialty care for
Wheeler stresses that while conditions
may be different; the standard of care
rendered to everyone is the same across the
"It doesn't matter if they are a detainee
or a Trooper. The only thing that changes
in regards to medical care is the way it is
handled. That is because with a detainee
we have additional safety measures that we
have to be aware of," said Wheeler.
Those high standards of safe and
humane treatment of all people are evident
everywhere that medical care is provided
around the JTF. Wheeler credits his team's
performance and their willingness to accept
new challenges in their jobs.
"We try to rotate our guys through
both the detainee hospital and the JTC in
order to provide them with a broad level
of experience in order to increase the
effectiveness of the care that is given,"
concluded Wheeler. Q
THE WIRE I PAGE 3
Army Staff Sgt.
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
Troopers from the Arkansas Air National
Guard's 188t Tactical Fighter Wing, along
with elements of the Maryland Air National
Guard's 175t Air Wing, Illinois Air
National Guard's 183rd Fighter Wing and
the New York Air National Guard's 109th
Airlift Wing, arrived recently to fill the 474th
Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron
at Joint Task Force Guantanamo.
The new Troopers replaced Troopers
from the 130th Airlift Wing of the West
Virginia Air National Guard and will serve
a six-month tour in support of the JTF.
"We had about a week with the previous
unit for a handover," said Air Force Chief
Master Sgt. Gene Vaughn. "They showed
us what they did and the methods to get it
JTF Guantanamo's 474h Expeditionary
Civil Engineering Squadron is responsible
for construction and sustainment of Camp
Justice and the Expeditionary Legal Complex
in support of military commissions at Naval
Station Guantanamo Bay.
Teams of engineers from the 474th
maintain generators and electricity, provide
carpentry skills, pest control services, utilities
maintenance, heavy equipment operation
and liquid fuel support. Administrative, work
control and operations teams work behind
the scenes to coordinate all of the projects.
When commissions are not happening at
GTMO, the Base Emergency Engineering
PAGE 4 I THE WIRE
Force, or BEEF, stays busy by completing
projects around the naval station and JTF
to improve the conditions for the Troopers
Currently, the engineers are working to
build a soccer field at Camp America and
repairing flooring and distribution panels in
the Expeditionary Legal Complex.
Many of the national guardsmen are
experienced engineers who work in similar
jobs in a civilian capacity or work on a
full-time basis for the National Guard.
The guardsmen from Arkansas are also
fortunate to have equipment and assets at
their home station.
"InArkansas, we are one of four regional
training sites," said Vaughn. "We have all
of the BEEF assets and equipment."
Some of their newer Troopers and those
from other states may not have the opportunity
to work with the equipment on a regular basis.
This six-month deployment will provide
an opportunity for the younger Troopers
to gain valuable experience and for the
more experienced Troopers to refamiliarize
themselves with newer equipment.
"We don't always have the chance to
see some of the newer equipment," said Air
Force Master Sgt. Frank Vallsclelosreyes.
"It's different when you only have one
weekend a month to work with it."
Out of the more than 40 Troopers with
the 474h, approximately 10 are junior
enlisted, according to Vaughn.
"We have junior airmen in just about
every shop," added Vaughn.
Guantanamo Bay provides a unique
opportunity for recreation in addition to the
valuable training the Troopers will receive.
The 474' leadership plans to get their
Troopers involved in the community.
"[When I found out I was coming to
GTMO], I was excited and surprised," said
Vallsclelosreyes. "Usually we just go to the
The new Troopers with the 474t look
forward to taking advantage of all that
GTMO has to offer during their free time,
such as participating in scuba diving,
fishing and team sports. 0
- - S
MISSION I FRIDAY, AUGUST 21, 2009
Army Sgt. 1st Class
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
Many Joint Task Force Guantanamo
Troopers might not know that the Joint
Personnel Center is responsible for services
other than personnel actions. Soon the
Joint Personnel Reception Center, which
greets new arrivals and processes them
onto Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, will
be part of the JPC.
"With the upcoming merge of
the two departments, the process
of receiving, tracking and
out-processing personnel will
become much easier," said Army
Sgt. 1t Class Jorge Martinez,
charge. "Our primary mission is
customer service and accountability."
"'Spaces and faces' is a term we use
for manpower and personnel," said Air
Force Capt. David Wilson, officer-in-
charge. "Manpower back-fills individual
augmentees and evaluates the future
position requirements. When a position is
being vacated, the manpower section will
coordinate with higher headquarters to fill
it. If a position is slotted for [an E-7] and
it is determined that the position should
have [an E-8] in it, that position can be
The JPC provides total force
accountability for the JTF commander. One
FRIDAY, AUGUST 21, 2009 I MISSION
of the biggest process
in business is duty
When Troopers go
duty, pass or are reass
it is the responsibility
the status of these Tro
"The JPC must
position in the JTF
rank. At the end of the
care of the Trooper,"
A challenge the J
with multiple policie:
branch and adjusting
doing business. Each
regulations and pape
must become familia
policies to figure out h
the needs of the JTF.
JPC must become a
in his own area suc
administration and aw
Each time an action i
must be done to en
receiving the very b
"Once all the regu
es that keeps the JPC the joint services have been interpreted,
status accountability, a joint standard operating procedure will
on leave, temporary be in place," said Navy Petty Officer 2nd
signed off the island, Class Anthony Gaston. "This will make
of the JPC to know processing awards, decorations and
opers. personnel action much quicker."
account for every One of the changes the JPC has made
by branch, grade, for JTF Troopers is the new affiliation of
specialty, gender and the JTF post office with the naval station
day, it is about taking post office. The JTF post office has been
Wilson said. able to improve the quality of customer
PC faces is dealing service by providing metering machines
and a quicker processing system.
mission is customer Previously, the JTF post office
accountability. was limited to selling stamps
and distributing mail. Now with
Sgt. 1st Class Jorge Martinez the affiliation, new equipment
has been introduced that can
weigh, scan, track and meter
packages as well as sell money
s from each military orders, offering a wider variety of services
to their method of in Camp America.
service has its own "The JTF post office went from a partial
rwork and the JPC service post office to a full service post
r with each of these office. They have extended their hours
ow it canbest support during the week from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00
Each member of the p.m. and are open Saturdays from 9:00 a.m.
subject matter expert to noon. A future improvement at the post
h as leave policies, office is credit card capability," Wilson
ards and decorations, said.
s requested, research "What we're going for here is a level of
sure the Trooper is trust, and as a customer operating center,
est customer service you build that trust when people think that
when I go to J1, they are going to take care
nations from each of of me and my problems," Wilson said. O
THE WIRE I PAGE 5
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
Notes of mysterious music float through the air. The heady
scent of women's perfume accentuates the sensual movements and
tinkling of coins as a group of women sway in synch with the beat
of the drums. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay's own belly dance
class is in full swing.
Army Spc. Mercedes Diaz, a member of the 525h Military Police
Battalion, teaches the Belly Dance Fusion class at the Marine Hill
Fitness Center every Sunday from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. She took over
the class from the former instructor several months ago and has
been going strong since then.
"I have been belly dancing for five years, ever since I learned in
college," Diaz said. "I was excited to be able to continue dancing
here in Guantanamo."
Made popular by pop star Shakira, belly dance is a western term
for a traditional Arab dance genre known as raqs sharqi (literally
"oriental dance") or sometimes raqs baladi ("dance of country").
It is also sometimes called "Middle Eastern Dance" or the "Arabic
Dance" in the United States. Native to the Middle East, belly dance
takes on many different forms, both in costume and style. Part of
its popularity is the adaptability of the dance form to various styles
of music and experience levels.
The class here at Guantanamo Bay is a combination of
yoga-inspired exercises, abdominal workout and belly dance
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Lydia Spacher, with the Naval
Station Hospital, said she likes the combination of exercises
combined with the dance experience.
"This is such a great workout, and I really have a lot of fun
doing it," said Spacher.
The class is for women only, allowing members to express
Diaz has a background in a variety of dance forms to include Latin
dance, ballet and tap. She said she loves the female-oriented aspect
of belly dancing and the confidence it instills in every body type.
"Belly dancing first sparked my interest because it is such an
elegant dance form. The focus of this style
of dance is on women and their bodies and
it is very accessible. Anyone can belly
dance and look good doing it," said Diaz.
Diaz said her class is a great way to
learn some basic belly dance moves and
to build strength and flexibility at the
"We work our whole body during the
course of the class," Diaz said. "Dancing
is a good way to get fit and have fun at the
Army Sgt. Leenmar Troche, a supply
sergeant with the Puerto Rico National
Guard, joined the class for the first time,
Aug. 16. She said she enjoyed her first
experience and was excited to learn
"I had a great time today," Troche
said. "This class was a lot of fun. I like
learning the dance movements and getting
to actually use them together."
Diaz is starting a four-week beginner
crash course in belly dancing, Aug. 24 -
Sept. 18. The classes will run Mondays,
Wednesdays and Fridays from 5:00 p.m.
- 6:00 p.m.
For more information about the Belly ll
Dance Fusion class call ext. 8242. 0
PAGE 6 I THE WIRE
LOCAL SPORTS I FRIDAY, AUGUST 21, 2009
Navy Petty Officer st Class
Richard M. Wolff
JTF Guantanamo Public affairs
The wonders of ancient Greece make
for a perfect backdrop in the feel-good
romantic comedy "My Life in Ruins." The
film stars Georgia (Nia Vardalos of "My
Big Fat Greek Wedding" fame), as a Greek
tour guide on a quest to find her calling in
life. We've seen this type of movie before,
but the concept never seems to get old. It's
a good escape from the typical overdone
effects-driven Hollywood movies that
seem to have taken over the box office in
"My Life in Ruins" isn't supposed to be
a breakthrough in filmmaking; its purpose
is to take you to a far-away place to escape
the seriousness of our everyday routines.
I found myself not outwardly belly-
laughing, but smiling throughout much of
the film due to the realistic portrayal of the
everyday commonness of the actors and
their individual quirks. Many of the laughs
come from odd comments just thrown in
randomly from the tourists who are actually
trying to be serious.
What "Ruins" does extremely well is
mix the seriousness of Georgia's personal
issues with her comedic misadventures
while escorting a group of tourists in
Greece. A widowed tourist, Irv (Richard
Dreyfess), starts out as a grumpy old man
but eventually befriends Georgia. Irv,
along with tour bus driver Poupi Kaka -
FRIDAY, AUGUST 21, 2009 | MOVIE RECON
pronounced "poo-pee ca-ca" eventually
bring out Georgia's "kafi," Greek for mojo.
An old woman who just happens to be a
kleptomaniac, makes for some interesting
moments; like when she steals a chain right
off of Georgia's neck without her knowing
it. The actual script for this film was written
by Mike Reiss ("The Simpsons"), so you
can imagine how well-developed the
characters are, and what I mean by them
having an air of quirkiness about them.
Another thing "Ruins" does well is
take you inside Greek culture. The movie
references dancing all of the time (a la
"Zorba the Greek," 1964) just for the
sake of dancing, eating loads of ice cream
during the day and night and, of course,
mentioning that anytime is a good time for
a cup of coffee.
Much of the movie looks like a TV
travel advertisement to entice tourists with
amazing footage of the Parthenon and
other historical sites. "Ruins" also throws
in some historical fact (along with some
made-up stories provided by Georgia to
make the tour more interesting). While
this might seem a little self-serving, it is
not overdone in a way that detracts from
the storyline. On a side note, this is the first
time an American studio (FOX Searchlight
Pictures) was allowed to film on location at
I'm not going to spoil the movie by
telling you what happens to Georgia, but
with all romantic comedies, I'm sure you
can guess. If you're in the mood for a good,
semi-predictable story with a few laughs
intertwined, that lets you escape for 96
minutes (or if you're interested in visiting
Greece anytime soon), then "My Life in
Ruins" is one film you should not miss! 0
THE WIRE I PAGE 7
Joint Task Force Guantanamo
leadership showed its appreciation
for the Troopers who make up the
JTF at a command-sponsored picnic,
Aug. 15 at Phillips Dive Park.
Troopers enjoyed food cooked by
the senior leadership as well as
music provided by several different
groups. Puerto Rican Fever, a
steel-drum band comprised of
several members of the Puerto
Rico Army National Guard played,
accompanied by Army Brig. Gen.
Rafael O'Ferrall, the JTF deputy
commander. Several other JTF
members sang, played guitar,
drums and harmonica to entertain
Sumo wrestling outfits were
available for those brave enough
to battle it out and a dunk tank
provided an opportunity for
Troopers to dunk each other in the
spirit of fun.
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
There is an average of six pounds of
trash generated every day by every Trooper
and resident of Naval Station Guantanamo
Bay. Over the course of a year, the trash
could fill 15 football fields of compacted
waste a foot high. To combat this trash
problem, environmental services personnel
at Guantanamo Bay look closely at what is
being thrown away.
Mike McCord, installation environmental
program manager, monitors naval station
resources such as water, power, land use
and waste management. He says the trash
here has many different avenues for where
it will end up depending on the specific type
"Everything that comes on the island
either stays here or goes off," McCord said.
"There isn't any place we can put it off to
the side or hide it. Recyclables are removed
(by the resident), sent to the recycling center
and, on a periodic basis, moved off the
island. All the hazardous waste that comes
on the island leaves the same way after all
avenues have been exhausted to use the
product. Municipal solid waste garbage
and refuse those items go to the landfill
after being collected from around the base."
This municipal waste goes to "burn
boxes" which are industrial incinerators,
where the refuse is scorched down to a
small pile of ash. The ash is then placed
into the 21-acre landfill and this process
helps to reduce the volume of the trash.
"Because of the reduction in volume of
trash, we have enough space to support the
PAGE 10 THE WIRE
mission," McCord said. "We are getting
somewhere between 80 to 90 percent
Despite the ability to reduce the volume
and space required for the landfill, keeping
the trash from being burned also has a
better environmental impact. There are
many things that can be done by Troopers
to further reduce the amount of garbage
thrown into the trash every day.
"To reduce our waste, I try not to use the
copy machine too much," said Navy Petty
Officer 2nd Class Tamela King, a supply
clerk with the Navy Expeditionary Guard
Battalion. "If you have a piece of paper
that you only use once, you can flip it over
and use the opposite side. I reuse the plastic
bags from the exchange in smaller trash
cans. These small things can be helpful to
Larger items can be reused, even if they
are not in top condition, instead of filling
the landfill. Clothing, electronics, sporting
goods and even furniture can be repaired to
serve a purpose.
"Give it away, sell it, donate it,
whatever," McCord said. "Stuff that is still
good, someone will use."
Greg Kader, environmental compliance
director for Naval Station Guantanamo
Bay, said he looks at all issues with trash
as a pollution prevention project. He said if
residents are diverting waste away from the
landfill, there are trade-offs with increased
power consumption, water used for cleaning
recyclables and expensive shipping of
hazardous materials. More can be done by
simply sorting the garbage and getting the
proper recyclables out of the trash can.
"You can look at the bur piles and see
what is left behind," Kader said. "There are
pieces of metal, aluminum cans, and carbon
left over from the incineration process, but
you can't see the plastic that was burned. If
someone just took the time to take out these
items, it would reduce the amount we have
here (at the landfill)."
"We are in a throw-away society,"
McCord said. "If someone sat down and
really thought about what they throw away,
there are probably a lot of items that would
not go into the trash can."
This effort to reduce and reuse helps to
improve current and future quality of life
by minimizing the environmental impact,
conserving resources and not polluting the
For more information about waste
management, contact the environmental
office at ext. 4662. 0
SNFO ATIN FRIDAY, AUGUST 21, 2009
JTF makes preparations for Ramadan
Army Staff Sgt.
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
Preparations are underway at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay
that will accommodate the upcoming religious holiday, Ramadan,
for the community of Muslims who reside on base and for the
detainees at Joint Task Force Guantanamo.
Aug. 22, 2009 marks the beginning of Ramadan. Ramadan is a
month-long observance for Muslims around the world to focus on
their faith and reflect. It is a period of fasting, reflection, devotion,
generosity and sacrifice observed during the ninth month of the
Islamic calendar, which is the month that Muslims believe the
Qu'ran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.
"Ramadan is a holy month," said Zak, the JTF cultural advisor.
"It is a month to prepare yourself for the rest of the year."
Troopers at Joint Task Force Guantanamo are making special
preparations to ensure that the detainees have the opportunity to
observe this important part of the Islamic faith. All of the detainees
at Joint Task Force Guantanamo are Muslims, according to Zak.
However, not all of them will observe the fast. Those detainees
who do not wish to fast or those who cannot for medical reasons
will continue to receive three daily meals on a normal schedule.
"We have prepared our guard force about the month of
Ramadan," said Zak.
The guard force and medical force at the JTF received a
briefing and specialized training about the month of Ramadan,
including information on what happens during Ramadan and why
Muslims fast in order to understand how the detainees will behave
throughout the month. Troopers received Ramadan information
cards with information for adjusted prayer times and meal times to
accommodate the detainees during Ramadan.
Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. There are five duties
incumbent on every Muslim. These duties are Shahada (Profession
of Faith), Salah (prayers), Zakah (Giving of Alms), Saum (Fasting
during Ramadan) and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food,
drink and other physical needs during the daylight hours. Fasting
is practiced during Ramadan from dawn until sunset. Fasting
includes abstaining not only from food, but drinking, smoking and
The joint task force invests significant time and effort to
provide the detainees with special meals and adjusted schedules
during Ramadan. Detainees who fast receive a meal before
dawn, which is called the suhoor, and a meal to break the fast,
the iftar, before the sunset prayer, according to Zak. The evening
meal is a double portion and the detainees are also served a
snack at 10:00 p.m. Medication schedules are also adjusted, if
possible, for the month of Ramadan. Those detainees whose
medications are medically necessary may break the fast for
Officials at Joint Task Force Guantanamo strive to accommodate
the religious and social preferences of the detainees throughout the
year by serving only Halal meats, from animals that were ritually
slaughtered according to Islamic practice and catering menus to
the religious and cultural preferences of the detainees.
Muslims are called upon to use this month to re-evaluate their
lives in light of Islamic guidance. Many Muslims spend all day
reading the Qu'ran or in prayer. The goal throughout the month is
to recite and read the entire Qu'ran. This is usually done through
an extra daily prayer during the evening called the Taraweeh.
Detainees at JTF Guantanamo are given the opportunity for
quiet and uninterrupted prayer five times a day, as is observed
in the Islamic faith. During Ramadan, the guard force will also
accommodate the extra prayer time. The guard force is advised to
also be respectful of those detainees who are absorbed in reading
the Qu'ran or praying throughout the day.
The most important advice Zak gives to the guard force about
dealing with detainees during Ramadan is to continue to be
professional and follow procedures with common sense.
The detainees are not the only Muslims at Naval Station
Guantanamo Bay, Zak explained. A small Muslim community
of Troopers and contractors exists at the base who will also be
observing the month of Ramadan. Q
FRIDAY, AUGUST 21, 2009 I NEWS & INFORMATION
THE WIRE I PAGE 11
Are you ready for destructive weather?
Hurricane Kit Items
Water at least one gallon per
person per day
Disposable dishes and flatware
Manual can opener
Personal hygiene items
Blankets and pillows
First aid kit and bandages
Clothing and rain gear
Cell phone and charger
Full tank of gas
Tropical Depression Less than 39 mph
Tropical Storm 39-73 mph
Category 1 Hurricane 74-95 mph
Category 2 Hurricane 96-100 mph
Category 3 Hurricane 111-130 mph
Category 4 Hurricane 131-155 mph
Category 5 Hurricane Greater than 155 mph
JTF Destructive Weather Reps
JDG SGM Villamil, ext. 8015
JIG LT Weidner, ext. 3457
JMG LCDR Grimm, ext. 8000
MSST ENS Caldwell, ext. 84936
CSG LT Saluke, ext. 5472
HHC SFC Bonilla, ext. 3507
OARDEC LCDR Threlkeld, ext. 3370
J-3 1LT Funni, ext. 8521
J-4 MAJ Santa, ext. 3006
Take charge, stay informed, stay prepared
FMI visit the intranet at https://intranet/resources/weather.html
IIR 1: DESTRUCTIVE WINDS EXPECTED WITHIN 12 HOURS
PAGE 12 1 THE WIRE
NEWS & INFORMATION I FRIDAY, AUGUST 21, 2009
Addressing the Troopers
Navy Rear Adm. Thomas "Tom" H. Copeman, III, commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, delivers his quarterly
briefing to JTF personnel at the Troopers' Chapel, Aug. 17. Copeman spoke to Troopers about the JTF mission,
future operations and his vision for continuing safe, humane, legal and transparent care and custody of detainees.
- JTF Guantanamo photo by Army Pfc. Christopher Vann
FRIDAY, AUGUST 21, 2009 I VOICE OF THE FORCE
THE WIRE I PAGE 13
525th Military Police Battalion Chaplain
The sun rises, a patch of heavily
vegetated land is warmed, an upward
thermal is created and the air that occupies
the earth on that spot is pushed to the side,
thus creating a wind. The wind travels in a
certain direction ushered along by yet more
thermals created by the sun.
A great tree is cut down in the middle
of a forest. It is hauled to the mill where
the cutting of lumber commences. Wood
scraps are set aside. Not fit for lumber, they
will be used to make paper. Taken to yet
another plant it is turned into pulp and then
processed into paper. There it sits, waiting
A man gets an idea for a way to spread
the gospel of Christ more prolifically. He
decides to buy paper, print the gospel on
it and give it to passers-by. He sets his
plan in motion and the paper is taken
and printed with the gospel and ready for
distribution. The man begins to hand out
The wind that was created by thermals
wisps between the buildings of a city
and blows a piece from the man's stack
and carries it up and away on a vortex of
wind. Miles away, it reaches the feet of a
businessman who just stepped out of his
home rushing because he is late for work.
He picks it up and stuffs it in his pocket to
The man has the worst day ever.
He is on the verge of getting fired, his
relationship with his wife is in dire straits
and his rebellious kids know nothing of
respect for authority, work ethic, gratitude
or loyalty. He begins to wonder why he
even bothers with anything and what it is
all about. What is the meaning of life and
why is he here? Taking a small break, he
stands at the vending machines about to
get a snack. He reaches into his pocket for
some money when he retrieves the piece
of paper. He uncrinkles it and reads a very
catchy title, "The meaning of life and why
you are here." Intrigued, he sits at his desk
and the author begins to unfold God's
plan and purpose for humanity and, more
No circumstances have changed but
something sure has because, for the first
time that he can remember, he begins to
have hope as he decides that he will pursue
the knowledge of God and see where it
God says in the Bible, "And we know
that in all things, God works for the good
of those who love him, who have been
called according to his purpose." He
says that a man may throw the dice but
God determines how they land. God is
omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.
Only he has the distinct ability to be able to
put all of the moving parts together at just
the right time and place to accomplish his
This is known as providence. The
only thing you need to be aware of is its
existence; for to be ignorant of it is to chalk
things up to coincidence or, even worse, to
miss things altogether.
God is still talking. Just like the radio
waves in the room with you right now.
If you don't have the radio on that is
the receiver then you hear nothing but
silence. Have you listened for God lately?
Oddly enough, if you still yourself and
listen and turn on your receiver you just
might get a sense of the urgency that he
has in getting ahold of you before it is too
late. God loves you, and he wanted me to
tell you so. Q
III I1H Y I H : I I I I i l if J
Sunday: 9 a.m.
Sunday: 6 p.m.
Wednesday: 7 p.m.
Spanish Catholic Mass
Sunday: 5 p.m.
at NAVSTA Chapel
PAGE 14 I THE WIRE
Sunday: 11 a.m.
LIFE & SPIRIT I FRIDAY, AUGUST 21, 2009
6:30 a.m. Mass
Army Staff Sgt.
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
The desire to serve one's country regardless ofbranch-of-
service is a desire that is often passed from one generation to
the next. For many military members, having a family history
of military service is quite common.
For Coast Guard Lt. James Thach, a reserve member of the
Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team 91101 Seattle,
family history can be explained in one simple reference; USS
James' great-uncle, John Smith Thach, a naval aviator who
developed an air combat tactic, aptly named the Thach Weave,
earned his place in history and his name on a ship for his
contributions to the Navy during WWII, the Korean War and
to anti-submarine warfare, which was a primary focus during
the Cold War.
"I don't know that I can count the number of [family
members] who have served [in the military], James said. "On
my mother's side, my grandmother and grandfather were both
Marines, my grandfather served in Guadalcanal in WWII and
[served] throughout the entire war. He was enlisted and [then
promoted to] officer.
"On my father's side, our [military] history goes back to
the beginning of the country," James continued. "There are
rumors that it goes all the way back to the first naval shot
[fired] during the Revolutionary War, [however] we were
never able to confirm it so it's only rumor, but our history goes
James has served with the Coast Guard for 12 years,
was prior enlisted and served as a boatswain's mate before
he took his commission as an officer. Currently he supports
waterborne and military commissions security for Joint Task
"I was immersed in the Coast Guard from a very young
age and I've been surrounded by Coast Guard officers
and enlisted [members] my entire life," James
said. "My father worked at Sikorsky Aircraft
and was the program manager for the
[HH-60J] Jayhawk [Coast Guard search
and rescue helicopter]. I remember in
second grade [my father] took me to an
airfield where I watched a [Sikorsky]
H-52 [Seaguard helicopter] fly in to
deliver a part. From that moment
on, I decided that the Coast Guard
was the way to go."
James' grandfather, the brother
of Adm. John Thach, also served
a distinguished career, earning the
rank of vice admiral.
"My grandfather was the
commanding officer for the USS
Missouri (BB63) immediately
after WWII," James said. "Both my
grandfather and his brother got to nearly
the exact same point in their careers
through different routes one by shooting
down Japanese fighter pilots, the other by
completing classified transport missions to supply
FRIDAY, AUGUST 21, 2009 15 MINUTES OF FAME
"What most people don't recognize," James continued, "is
what John Thach did was a lot more than just being a pilot. Yes,
he helped win WWII against the Japanese because of the "Thach
Weave" but more-so, because later on in his career, he designed
anti-submarine warfare [tactics and techniques]. He was
[able to] put all of the facets of the Navy together ...
which is what excelled him to become a four-star
Adm. Thach's achievements, specifically in
anti-submarine warfare, are what earned him
r the cover of Time Magazine in [Sept. 1958].
James has been in contact with the command
of USS Thach (FFG 43) and upon completion
of his tour here, his goal is to tour the ship.
"Ironically, there are people here, assigned
to the JTF, who [previously served on USS]
Thach, and have approached me to ask if I
was related [to the ship's namesake]," James
said. "The crew of the Thach is extremely
professional and [very knowledgeable] about
James' pride in his family history shines
through in his words and actions but with a
humility that is echoed in his words.
"I look at [my family history] as a reminder of
what we can do if we really strive," James said. "In
my family, there's never been a question of where we
came from or how we got there, but how hard we worked to
get there ... we [are all capable of doing] great things." 0
THE WIRE I PAGE 15