A~ AT Jour-
..'.......... :::::::::: m ::
Air Force Senior Master Sgt.
474th ECES Operations NCOIC
What does sacrifice mean to you?
For years, sacrifice meant to me getting up early for
work, or spending a hard earned weekend at unit training
assembly. Recently, I was reminded by an old friend what
sacrifice really meant.
In 1991 while stationed in Diego Garcia, when
shopping at the Navy Exchange, I ran across some
Missing In Action (MIA) bracelets. Men and
women who had sacrificed everything were now
reduced to a name on a bracelet. However, while
looking through them, I ran across a man who
was from my home state. I felt a connection with
that bracelet and instantly bought it. After I had
been home for a few years and Internet became
more accessible, I attempted to find as much
information regarding this name on a bracelet,
but to no avail. Eventually, my life went on,
the bracelet became lost during moves, house
cleanings and reorganizations.
A few months ago when I was cleaning out
my home office, I discovered the bracelet and
recalled my desire to find out what happened.
Thanks to technological advancements, I was
able to do just that. Let me introduce you to
Master Sgt. Paul Jenkins.
Jenkins was born May 11, 1930 in
McGehee, Ark. He joined the U.S. Air Force
during the Vietnam War conflict. He became a
pararescueman assigned to the 40th Aerospace
Rescue and Recovery Squadron. On June 30, 1970,
the crew he was assigned to was dispatched to
rescue a downed flight crew. Jenkins' crew consisted
of five members aboard a Sikorsky HH53C "Super
Jolly" helicopter. The orders were to fly into Laos for
a downed and injured pilot. Two attempts were made
by the HH53C to penetrate the area. Eventually it
was hit by hostile fire, caught fire, went out of control
and crashed. It was assumed that the entire crew was
dead and no remains could be recovered.
In December 1992, a team from the Joint Task
Force for Full Accounting traveled to the crash site of
the HH53C. After surveying and excavating, human
remains were recovered. On March 24, 1993, found
were more than 120 bone fragments, a dental prosthesis
and part of an ID tag. All items were turned over for
examination. The dental prosthesis belonged to Jenkins
and he was formally identified on March 24, 1995.
No longer is he just a name on a bracelet. He is now a
name on the Vietnam Wall, Panel 09W Line 105; a name
along with 58,195 other names. Nor is he just a name on
a wall. He is a definition of true sacrifice, along with the
58,195 names that are to the right, left, up and down from
his name. He joined the Air Force to be there when
others needed him and gave his life in the process.
Thank you Jenkins for reminding people like me
what sacrifice really means. Maybe someday I can
return this bracelet to your family and thank them for
the lessons it taught me. C
PAGE 2 I THE WIRE
TROOPER-TO-TROOPER I FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009
MSST 91109 members patrol Guantanamo Bay performing daily maritime anit-terrorism and force protection duties in
support of JTF Guantanamo, Dec. 9. JTF Guantanamo photo by Army Pfc. Christopher Vann
Army Pfc. adjusting to various conditions and working "We know that our biggest challenge
Christopher Vann with others," Downey said. "We don't feel is to keep our team focused on the mission
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs that there will be too much pressure. We and to stay healthy throughout our
When the waters at U.S. Naval
Guantanamo Bay start getting rough
the waves make the boat rock ba
forth, fear not; the Coast Guard M
Safety & Security Team 91103 Los A
Long Beach is on the way.
Assigned to Joint Task
Guantanamo, MSST 91103 is part
Deployable Operations Group and
responsibility of securing waterw
and around Guantanamo Bay.
The DOG establishes a
single command authority
to rapidly provide the Coast
Guard, Department of Homeland
Security, Department of Defense,
Department of Justice and
other interagency operational
commanders adaptive force
packages drawn from the Coast
Guard's deployable specialized
The DOG's purpose is to
develop systems and processes for
standardized training, equipment,
organization, planning, and
scheduling of rapidly deployable
specialized forces to execute
mission objectives in support
of tactical and operational
Coast Guard Cmdr. Charlene
sees this as an opportunity for the
unit to implement training they
have received and to grow closer
as a team.
"We are accustomed to
believe the transition into our watches will
be seamless. I am sure that we will fall right
in with the JTF.
"The unit has great expectations for
the upcoming deployment," Downey
continued. "We stress to the crew the
importance of not only mission first, but
completing the mission safely."
Downey is confident in the abilities of
her unit, but remains vigilant to the needs
of her Troopers.
deployment," Downey said. "We are also
aware of our Guardians' needs to manage
their work-life and the needs of their
families back home, and we are always
here to support them in any way we can."
Even while being separated from their
loved ones stateside, MSST 91103 is
still amongst family, "The best thing about
this deployment," Downey said, "is that
it has brought us closer as a team, while
th ba is seue Dec 9.
JT Gunanm photo.
ArmyS Pfc ChitphrVn
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009 I MISSION
THE WIRE I PAGE 3
Quality medical care
Navy Petty Officer Vst Class
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
For Troopers at Joint Task Force
Guantanamo, providing exceptional
medical care to detainees is the consistent
with the JTF mission of ensuring a safe,
humane, legal and transparent care and
custody of all detainees.
"As professionals, our medical care
does not discriminate," said one Joint Task
Force medical doctor. "Under the Geneva
Conventions, we are required to provide
access to quality medical care. As medical
professionals, we take that responsibility
Detainees are treated at a dedicated
medical facility with state-of-the-art
equipment and technology with an expert
medical staff of more than 100 personnel.
The staff provides all aspects of quality
medical care to the detainees, regardless of
their disciplinary status.
"We want the world to know that the
detainees are provided quality care. It
is also our responsibility to ensure this
information is provided to the public and
international community," another Joint
Task Force medical professional added.
Detainees have immediate access to
a wide-range of medical care including
skilled nurses, doctors and physical
PAGE 4 I THE WIRE
therapists. Each detainee
receive's a comprehensive
physical and dental
examination upon arrival at
JTF. Regular medical follow-
up treatment is also available
for each detainee. On-going
medical appointments ensure
each detainee is current on
all immunizations. Trained
nurses and doctors conduct
nutritional supervision for
the detainees; ensuring
daily feedings are properly
administered for some of
those who refuse to eat.
Detainees have also
received quality medical care
for wounds sustained prior to
More serious medical
conditions can be treated at
the naval base hospital operating room and
intensive-care unit. Specialists are available
to provide care at GTMO for any medical
needs that exceed the capabilities of the
Mental health professionals from the
Behavioral Health Services ensure mental
health care is available for detainees.
From depression to anxiety, detainees
have immediate access to mental health
professionals. In addition, a professional
pharmacy staff is able to fill needed
prescriptions. "The medical team works
hard to ensure all detainees receive the
best care possible, regardless of their legal
status," said a JTF doctor. O
Editors note: Troopers names have
been omitted to ensure operational security
and the safety of the medical personal.
MISSION I FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009
April de Armas
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
Troopers receive orders all the time to
deploy to Naval Station Guantanamo Bay
to support Joint Task Force Guantanamo.
When this happens, Troopers may wonder
about the history of the naval station or what
purpose it serves outside of being home for
the detention camps located at the base.
Constructed in December 1903, the
base was establised to serve as a strategic
logistics platform for the Navy's Atlantic
Fleet. Some may not realize Naval Station
Guantanamo Bay is the oldest U.S. military
base located outside the United States and
is the only one of its kind located in a
"We are the only naval base in the
Southern Command and we serve as a place
for ships to refuel and replenish supplies,"
said Navy Capt. Steven Blaisdell, the base
commanding officer. "We also provide
ranges for various training, both on the
leeward and windward sides of the base."
In 1991, the naval station received
more than 34,000 Haitian refugees during
an upheaval in Haiti. So, the naval
station expanded its mission to provide
humanitarian relief for migrants.
"Although we don't have many migrants
left on island, we do have offices set up
on the leeward side to accommodate any
further migration relief efforts if needed in
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009 | MISSION
the future," Blaisdell said.
The permanent residents
living at the naval station
are a diverse group to
include Navy and Marine
Corps personnel, civilian
contractors, Cuban migrants,
and third country nationals
contracted from Jamaica
and the Philippines who
provide support for everyday
operations that keep the base
"We are essentially a
self-contained city here with
various restaurants, a sports
complex, bowling alley,
schools and shopping at the
Navy Exchange," Blaisdell
said. "We make our own
water and a barge brings in C
any and all supplies we may 4
need a few days a week,
from the States."
The JTF became a
resident of Naval Station
Guantanamo Bay in 2002
when detainees started
arriving from the War on Terror in
Afghanistan and Iraq, after the Sept. 11,
2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade
Center and the Pentagon.
"Our relationship with the JTF is that of
a tenant, it has been a positive experience
since joining our residency here," Blaisdell
said. "We provide them with all the
things needed for everyday living such as
electricity, water and housing."
Army Col. Bruce Vargo, the Joint
Detention Group commander over the
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i Ay)rlA \(-
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
Not since elementary school has kickball
been so exciting to watch as the top-seeded
Naval Hospital GTMO Pulse defeated the
sixth-seeded Joint Task Force Guantanamo
Public Affairs Office Tip of the Spear 8-5
during the Morale, Welfare and Recreation
season-ending kickball tournament at
Cooper Field on Dec. 8, 2009.
The teams were trading scoring early
and worked to a 4-4 tie in the 5t inning.
Left fielder Adam Spacher delivered a
base-clearing blast that was the eventual
"It's great to be the clutch guy every
once in a while," Spacher said. "It has
been 16 years since 4th grade, but I can still
The Pulse breezed through the regular
season accumulating only one loss. Coach
Nathan Cobler noted that teamwork and
cohesiveness gave them the edge in the
"The commitment and the same people
showing up every time helped us," Cobler
said. "We built cohesion and we all worked
well together. Some of us never knew each game
other before, but now we have a tight little
The community and team concept also
played into the Tip of the Spear, as interim
head coach Chris Vann rallied his team from
only having two wins in the regular season
to playing in the championship game of the
"We were working together, and we
were not going to quit," Vann said. "We
stuck together, had a game plan and took it
as far as we could."
The game plan for many of the teams
involved bunting, sacrifice fly-balls and
tenacious defense. Each of the six league
teams developed strategies throughout the
season to make a run for the Captain's
"I don't think I'd ever put tough game
and kickball in the same sentence, but
you have to have situational awareness,"
Cobler said. "It is about knowing where
your runners are and where you want to put
The ping of the large rubber ball will
now fall silent for another season, but this
final game leaves great competition in the
memory of the players.
"The whole game was a highlight to me,
even the one play that we lost on." Vann
For more information onMWR activities,
call the sports office at ext. 2113. O
PAGE 6 I THE WIRE LOCAL SPORTS I FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
Continuing with the love story that
started in the movie "Twilight," "New
Moon" tells of the romance between
vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson,
"Twilight," "Harry Potter and the Goblet
of Fire") and human Isabella "Bella"
Swan (Kristen Stewart, "Twilight,"
"Adventureland"), which feels like a
reenactment of Shakespeare's "Romeo and
This movie broke the box office record
for biggest one-day gross income with
a whopping $72.7 million in the United
States, which was formerly held by the
movie "The Dark Knight."
Starting things off, I want to say that I'm
an avid reader, and I read the Twilight series
before any of the movies were released;
in case anyone is wondering why I sat
through this movie whose target audience
is primarily teenage girls.
The movie was good in that it followed
the book pretty well. Most books-to-
movie don't really pan out well. There
are problems whenever someone decides
to make a movie from a book, because the
directors, producers and screenwriters have
to figure out how to portray thoughts and
feelings on the big screen without written
words. The masterminds behind this movie
did a good job, except for the fact that they
showed Edward talking to Bella, and in the
book it was just the voice of Edward that
was haunting Bella.
There are some things I don't agree with
in the movie. First of all, in most vampire
myths, they do not sparkle like diamonds
in the sun. In the movies "Interview with a
Vampire" and "Underworld," both of which
are two of the more popularvampire movies,
vampires bur into ash when exposed to
sunlight. In the Twilight saga, Edward is
shown sparkling, faintly, as if his skin was
made up of millions of diamonds. The girl
sitting next to me at the downtown Lyceum
theater would say "Sparkle, sparkle," every
time this would happen, which was the only
good thing coming from this, as it made me
laugh every time.
Also, the movie tried to make the actors
look undead, pale and lifeless. This affect
doesn't really work when Pattinson is
shirtless, as the producers forgot to continue
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009 | MOVIE RECON
to the chest with the makeup. It's kind of
obvious that they weren't thorough.
It seemed like both main male characters
had to have at least one scene where they
removed their shirts to show off that
they worked out. It was ridiculous to see
teenagers running around in the woods
with only shorts on.
The Lyceum was actually filled more
than when the movie "2012" played, so
if any guy is thinking about seeing this
movie, you probably won't lose too many
"man points" as long as it's at Guantanamo
Bay. Even though I did argue most parts
of the movie, it was still entertaining, if for
nothing else than to laugh at all the parts
where they were trying to appeal to the
THE WIRE I PAGE 7
FR IDAYDlEti 0CRII.
~~"- i~L1 j ii
Protecting America for
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
Happy birthday, National Guard!
The National Guard celebrates its 373rd birthday Dec. 13, as
it has since 1636. The oldest element of the United States Armed
Forces and one of the nation's longest enduring institutions, the
National Guard can trace its history back to the English colonies
in North America.
Thousands of guard members are serving in harm's
way in Iraq, Afghanistan and here at Joint Task
Force Guantanamo as the National Guard
continues its historic dual mission. Its
mission is to provide the states trained
and equipped units to protect life
and property, while also, providing
the nation ready and able units to
defend the United States and all of
After helping win the
Revolutionary War, writers of
the Constitution gave power
to Congress to "provide
for organizing, arming and
disciplining the militia." Despite
the authorization to disband the
National Guard, our Founding
Fathers decided to keep the
militia and as a result, the National
Guard is still a dual state-federal force.
In the early 1900s, national 163
defense legislation ramped up
the role of the National Guard
as a reserve component for
the U.S. Army. During World
War I, the guard composed 40
percent of the fighting force in
France. Following that, the guard was the first to deploy and
fight in World War II. After the National Defense Act of 1947
was enabled, aviation units split from the National Guard and
PAGE 10 THE WIRE
the Air National Guard came to fruition. The National Guard has
proudly fought in every America War from the 1600s to present
operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Currently, Army National Guard forces make up as much as
50 percent of the support in Operation Iraqi Freedom while also
maintaining readiness to respond to natural disasters in the states.
The National Guard is more frequently called upon to respond
to crises. After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, more than
50,000 guardsmen were called up by both their state and the
federal government to supply security at home and fight terrorism
Following hurricane Katrina, the National
Guard responded with one of the largest and
quickest responses to a domestic disaster
in history, calling up more than 50,000
guard members to support the Gulf
Individuals join the National
Guard for different reasons. Some
S* out of a sense of duty to former
and fellow guardsmen.
"I joined the Army National
Guard out of service to my
fellow countrymen," said Army
Spc. Marvin G. Robinson, a
Soldier deployed with the 115th
Military Police Company of
the Rhode Island Army National
Guard. "My grandfather and uncle
were guardsmen, so it is my way of
backing them up.
With the duality of the National
Guard mission, members have
both a civilian and military duty to
balance, which is expressed in the
below national guard motto.
"Civilian in peace, soldier in
war...the stricken have known the
comfort of my skill. I have faced forward to the tornado, the
typhoon and the horror of the hurricane and the flood. I saw the tall
towers fall I am the Guard!" 0
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009
Author, illustrator and speaker Trevor Romain visited W.T. Sampson High school and talked to students about
deployment interested in how they cope with their parent's absence. Romain filmed the event to use for a portion of
an upcoming educational DVD that focuses on deployments called, "With You All the Way." JTF Guantanamo photo by
Army Staff Sgt. Emily J. Russell
Army Staff Sgt.
Emily J. Russell
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
Children worry. When a parent is
deployed, it's not only the adults who have
new problems to deal with.
While adults deal with the day-to-day
realities of having to carry on a normal life
during a deployment, sometimes the small
- yet significant voice of a child needs to
Adults try to teach children to deal
with their problems but often teach them
to push their problems away by telling
them not to worry or be sad, explained
Trevor Romain, author, illustrator and
children's motivational speaker who travels
world-wide to deliver his message of hope,
inspiration and self-help to children, relating
to them in a way they can understand.
"As we get older, we tell kids what we
think they need to hear instead of listening
to them," Romain said.
Romain recently visited Guantanamo
Bay to talk to children at W.T. Sampson
Middle School and High School and to
film portions of his upcoming educational
Romainwarmedup his audience, relating
to listeners by sharing his own past.
"I was dyslexic and I was in special
[education]," Romain revealed. "I think
I'm the only dude in the world who failed
an aptitude test."
Through storytelling of his experiences
of being bullied as a child, to working with
terminally ill children and working in child
refugee camps in Africa, Romain draws in
the audience to deliver his message. His goal
is to empower children to understand their
feelings and feel comfortable expressing
"When kids realize I'm not trying to
preach or lecture [to] them, they relax and
read my sincerity," Romain said.
Romain's curriculum and messages
have impacted public and private schools
nationwide and, within the last few years,
have been recognized by the Department of
Defense as a tool to reach out to military
The DoD identified a correlation between
children's behavior and the deployment
cycles of military service members and took
measures to support military families by
asking Romain to develop a curriculum to
help military children identify andunderstand
their feelings, words and actions.
"We saw how troop movements would
affect [negative behavior] within DoD
schools and needed Trevor to develop
something specific for the military family,"
said Lee Adelman, educational services
facilitator for the Fleet and Family Support
Center at U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo
"There are [service members] who
have been deployed to Iraq five times and
some children have lived through all five
rotations," Adelman added. "These kids are
unique because they're kids of parents who
are away fighting a war on terrorism."
Romain's curriculum addresses subjects
like homework, bullying, divorce and
even death by helping children identify
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009 I NEWS & INFORMATION
and express the things that stress them
and cause them to act out. For the military
child, he helps them deal with deployment
Romain explained that the lessons
come with a journal to encourage children
to write about their feelings or draw a
picture or doodle that represents something
significant in their life, giving them an
outlet instead of keeping it inside.
"Trevor was amazing, his connection
with the students and ability to share his
experiences with the kids helped them
channel their emotional strife in a positive
way," Adelman said.
As a result of Romain's curriculum,
DoD schools noticed a drastic decrease in
negative behavior, according to Adelman.
"I had a child come up to me and tell
me, 'Mr. Romain, you changed my life. I
used to be a bully but I listened to your talk
and watched your video and now I'm not a
bully anymore and I feel better!'" Romain
"If a child can walk away with
knowledge about how to deal with grief
or bullying, I've made a difference," said
Romain. "I want to help kids reach inside
and find the courage to tackle what comes
"Don't skirt around the sadness,"
Romain continued, "confront it, be in it and
grow from it."
Romain's books, DVDs and other
educational materials can be found at www.
militaryonesource.com, as well as at his
company's Web site, www.trevorromain.
THE WIRE I PAGE 11
the JTF mis si
NAVSTA from 5
JTF detention facilities for the last
two and a half years says he has the upmost
respect for the Navy and their way of life.
"I have never lived on a Navy base,"
Vargo said. "The base here is beautiful and
the JDG is very indebted to Capt. Blaisdell
and his guard force for their support of our
Meetings between the JTF commander,
Navy Rear Adm. Thomas Copeman, and
the naval station commander regularly take
"RearAdm. Copeman and I meet at least Bulkeley Hall serves as headquarters for Naval Station Guantanamo Bay.
twice a month to discuss what is needed for Residents of the naval station come here for various services offered by the
the Troopers and the missionas well as any command. JTF Guantanamo photo by Army Spc. April D. de Armas
concerns that might arise as the JTF carries
out their mission," Blaisdell said. "The stay at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, the training opportunities, migrant
impact on the naval station as a whole has Troopers can rest assured the naval station operations and services to our military
been a positive one and we want to continue will still be here supporting its fleet and all ships as we have before," Blaisdell said.
the great relationship and friendship we other military services long after the JTF "We are proud to continue service to our
have developed over the years." has packed its bags and left. country and our Navy for as long as we are
Regardless of pending questions about "Before JTF arrived and after the needed here." 0
the longevity of the JTF mission and its JTF is gone, we will continue to provide
Hav a plan a pf r act ice it. A fire drill can help you practice
UseI a f ir e inguisher to put outj smal i res. You a a
out a fire that you can't control.
spreads, so don't even stop to call 911. Once outside ands
I f there is s moke in your house, cover your no^se
and mouth with a small moistclt n sa o
NEWS & INFORMATION I FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009
Air Force Master Sgt. Roy Wann, a member of Arkansas Air National Guard's 188th Tactical Fighter Wing, deployed
to Joint Task Force Guantanamo's 474th Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron, welds two fence poles used
in the construction of a soccer goal for detainees inside the Camp 6 recreation yard. JTF Guantanamo photo
by Army Spc. Cody Black
"Ipod Nano, becuase "My favorite I
it was my first MP3 my blue 'big
player." because it m;
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009 I VOICE OF THE FORCE
THE WIRE I PAGE 13
Air Force Maj.
William S. Wiecher
JTF Deputy Command Chaplain
It is hard to believe that December is already at hand. During the month
of December the days grow shorter and the darkness of winter begins
settling in place. Often during these long dark nights of December, we
may find ourselves being "not quite ourselves." The winter's shortness
of daylight may cause us to feel a little blue and lethargic.
The month of December also reminds us of those we love that are
distant at this time; memories of Decembers past of family and friends,
while bringingjoy, can also bring sadness and loneliness. Additionally,
the consumer's pace of the holiday season no matter where we find
ourselves in the world casts its grasp upon us also, resulting in feelings
of franticness and even perhaps restlessness with the whole process of
gift buying. Yet, for people of faith, the month of December offers a
variety of ritual celebrations that uplift our winter souls.
These rituals express the themes of light and expectation. For
Christians, there is the whole season of Advent; a four-week period of
preparation, of waiting and expecting, that culminates in the celebration
of Christmas. Likewise, Judaism offers the celebration of Hanukkah,
which speaks of light in the midst of darkness, as well as liberation, joy
and the restoration of hope.
The quietness and stillness of December nights can indeed benefit our
spiritual lives in many ways. As people of various faiths, we are called
to learn the lesson of waiting and patience. Moreover, in a world that
seems at times to be filled with no hope, we are called to remember that
with God all things are possible. To remember that there is light in the
midst of darkness, a light that overcomes the darkness of this world.
Lastly, we learn from our various faiths' traditions that it is possible,
if contrary to what we are often told by the so-called "real world," that
we can dream and have expectations. In God, all that we long for, that
we struggle to be and find is fulfilled, if we are patient; in God there is
joy, hope and light. In this, we can rejoice during these long months of
winter, knowing with full confidence that spring waits us all, not just in
our physical world, but in our spiritual lives as well. Q
Catholic Mass Protestant Worship Bible Study
Sunday- Friday: Sunday: 9 a.m. Sunday: 6 p.m.
6:30 a.m. Mass Spanish Protestant Wednesday: 7 p.m.
Spanish Catholic Mass Worship
Sunday: 5 p.m. Sunday: 11 a.m.
at NAVSTA Chapel
LIFE & SPIRIT I FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009
PAGE 14 1 THE WIRE
'V JL A l
JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs
Many people know a story about a
letter in a bottle, appearing on a beach or
bobbing in the water, tossed into the sea
in the hope that the right person may read
it. Some people may even write their own
letter and throw it into the vast ocean in
the chance that someone will eventually
come across it. However, very few have
experienced success with this method of
Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher
Delacruz, a culinary specialist and personal
chef for the Joint Task Force Guantanamo
commander, is one of these few. His story
begins with his early days as a Navy seaman
aboard his first ship.
"I was assigned to USS Jarrett (FFG
33) when I first met Navy Cmdr. Thad
Moyseowicz, my commanding officer at
the time," Delacruz said. "He was always
carrying cases of empty bottles on board
and I wondered what they were for."
As it turns out, Moyseowicz was
involved in a school project for the children
at his sons' elementary school.
"Each of their classmates gave me a
letter, and, thrice daily, during our transit,
I 'mailed' two bottles bearing a child's
message and Jarrett's position at the time
of 'mailing,' as well as their address,"
Delacruz said he clearly remembers
helping Moyseowicz carry the boxes of
bottles onto the ship and watching him
throw them overboard with the children's
letters inside. He said he never would have
guessed what an impact his skipper would
have on his future.
"Seaman Delacruz was the messenger
of the watch at the quarterdeck. I think he
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009 15 MINUTES
obtained permission from the officer of the
deck and offered to help me," Moyseowicz
said. "I gladly accepted and he helped me
lug the rest to my cabin."
Afew years later, Delacruz found himself
aboard USS Benfold (DDG 65) off the coast
of Melbourne, Australia. He said it was a
difficult time for him as a young man and
he often found himself looking for an outlet
for his thoughts and feelings. It was during
that time Delacruz said he remembered his
first skipper and the boxes of bottles he had
"I remembered my commanding officer's
messages in the bottles and thought it would
be a good way for me to let out my thoughts,"
Delacruz said. "So, I started to write letters
and seal them in bottles. Whenever I had
the chance I would toss them overboard and
let the sea take them away. I never expected
them to reach anyone else."
However, one of the letters did reach
someone else. Months later (now stationed
in Japan), Delacruz received a letter in
the mail with a return address he did not
recognize. He said he opened it not knowing
what to expect. As he read, he said he was
"Dear friend much greetings, I wish to
inform you that I am the one who found
your letter in the bottle..."
"I could hardly believe it," Delacruz said.
"I had never expected any of my bottles to
reach another person; it was just an outlet
for me at the time. When I read that letter I
was surprised and very excited."
As Delacruz read he learned that Muthike
Thiaka was a poor farmer in Kenya with a
wife and eight children. Thiaka said he
found the bottle in the Indian Ocean.
"I was just looking at the sea [to see]
whether I could see anything which could
help me, like timber, rope, or something
else," wrote Thiaka.
Delacruz said he read Thiaka's letter
over and over, thinking how amazing it was
that his thoughts had reached someone so
"That letter really made me think about
myself, and also Muthike," Delacruz said.
"It changed the way I see things. All of my
problems seemed so small in relation to
his; in relation to the world. I realized how
small I was."
Delacruz said because of his experience,
he now looks at life in a different light; he
keeps the letter in a frame to remind him of
"Now I know that work is work, but at the
end of the day you have to be happy. Every
day I wake up and I am happy to be alive
and living the life I lead," Delacruz said.
Delacruz said he credits much of his
growth as a Sailor and a man to his former
"Moyseowicz and his bottles made a
big impression on me as a young man. I
learned so much from him and he always
treated me and the rest of his crew with
kindness. He taught me to think outside
the box and to solve problems in a creative
manner," Delacruz said.
Moyseowicz said he remembers
Delacruz with fondness and was pleased
to hear his boxes of bottles helped a former
Sailor of his when he needed an outlet for
"My time on USS Jarrett was the best,
most rewarding, and most fun professional
experience to ever happen to me. It was
the highlight of my career and I owe that to
Delacruz and his 219 mates on that vessel,"
Now, Delacruz said he is no longer
skeptical when he hears a story about a
message in a bottle. Instead, he said he
often keeps an eye out for any he may see
bobbing in the waves. 0
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