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Lazy days off in Gitmo, Guantanamo Bay Naval Base

Being a cook at Bay Hill Galley, I worked port and starboard, 15 days a month worked with every other Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. There were about six cooks to each watch as I recall, and two night bakers total, who alternated. On an off day I might go lift weights after breakfast, then write a letter to my girl or go to the commissary store. Then perhaps drive to Windmill Beach (we had our own truck) where the iguanas hung out on the cliffs along the beach. I had a mask, snorkel and speargun. The water was full of beautiful tropical fish and the salt was so heavy that it clung to you when you left the water to sun yourself on the beach. Occasionally a barracuda might swim by as I explored under water, just off the beach. I might bring a sandwich from the galley for lunch. Late in the afternoon I could drive back to the Hill, grab some supper, then either go to a movie or the club, where Miller was 20 cents a can and drinks were thirtyfive cents. There was Heineken too. Or, perhaps sit behind the cook shack, our barracks, and drink beer and tell stories and sing some country songs with the other cooks. Tiny green lizards would scurry around at our feet. We had our own refrigerator stocked with beer that was supplied by the guys who lived in base housing with their families. We had our own whiskey and rum in our lockers too. We behaved and nobody bothered us, not even the base police. Maybe on the off weekend I can get a ship that is there for fleet training, that is going to Jamaica for the weekend, and see some sights there. They went to Haiti too. And then there is the horse stable. Go ride a horse. But there is that one smart horse that tries to knock you off by running under a low hanging branch. And, after a year here, the Chief just told me that new “orders” have recently arrived. I will not be leaving, I will be spending another six months here. But I really liked the Chief. Best Chief Petty Officer I ever worked for. His name was Cecil Moss, from Oklahoma, and the only Chief in charge of that galley while I was on the base. 

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Comment by David De Rooy on May 16, 2018 at 6:48pm

The Navy likely treated you a lot better

Comment by Emmet Molloy on May 16, 2018 at 6:28pm

Thank you. I am not trying to paint a picture of complete bliss either, as it could get pretty boring at times. But it had it’s fun times too and I considered myself lucky to be there when there was a bloody war going on in Vietnam during that time. I was going to inlist in the Marines in the Spring of 1965, but my father, who was a Captain in the 29th Infantry Division in World War II, talked me out of it. 

Comment by David De Rooy on May 16, 2018 at 5:27pm

Total recall.  Good one Corky

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