Army Base in Cuba

Cuba Army Bases

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NS Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Guantanamo


Major Commands: Naval Station, Naval Hospital, Marine Barracks, Naval Atlantic Meteorology and Oceanography Detachment, Naval Security Group Activity, Company "L" Marine Support, Personnel Support Activity Detachment, Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Atlantic Detachment, Navy Broadcast Service and Naval Mobile Construction Battalion.

Mission: To provide services and material in support of ships and aircraft of forces of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and other activities and units designated by the Chief of Naval Operations and to provide support to JIATF-East, Western Hemisphere Group, U.S. Customs Service and Drug Enforcement Agency personnel for counter-narcotics activities throughout the Caribbean area.

The base is a small, isolated installation in the lower southeast corner of the island of Cuba on Guantanamo Bay. The waters of the bay flow between the two sides of the base; "Leeward side" houses all flight operations. "Windward side" houses the larger portion of the base operations including the housing units, limited temporary lodging, schools, the NEX/Commissary (NEXMART) complex, Family Service Center, the major share of the recreation facilities, all but one of the base clubs, contractor sites, the Naval Hospital and most other services.

The community boasts a friendly, safe, small town atmosphere, especially attractive to families with children. Duty here has long been considered "one of the best kept secrets in the Navy". A strong spirit of teamwork is one of the foundation blocks for the good quality of life here.

A Caribbean setting, excellent climate, a relatively short rainy season (most of it occurring during the night time), beautiful beaches with excellent swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, and boating opportunities combine to make this an attractive location. Temperatures averaging in the 80s year round, combined with cooling tradewinds, offer unlimited outdoor recreation that includes tennis, running, sport teams, bike riding, and other choices. A very active Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) schedule offers group activities such as golf, dart and billiard competition, bowling, ceramics, auto hobby shop, concerts and first run movies at theaters around the base.

Car repair and maintenance is available, but parts are limited. Unleaded 87 octane gas and diesel fuel is sold here.

Mail takes 7-14 days to arrive. Payments due to companies in the states should be sent in time to accommodate the mail delay. Remember this is an overseas location. Think twice about mailing fragile items to the island. FedEx and UPS shipments can be arranged through a contracted airline that flies here; both shipment options cost extra.

History: The base was acquired in 1903 as a coaling and Naval Station. The original agreement, signed in February 1903, bore the signatures of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and Cuba's president Estrada Palma. It provided the U.S. the right to exercise complete jurisdiction and control within and over the area. In turn, the U.S. recognized the ultimate sovereignty of Cuba over the leased areas.

The original agreement between the United States and Cuba was reaffirmed by a treaty signed in 1934 as part of President Franklin Roosevelt's Good Neighbor Policy.

The treaty, still in effect today, gives the United States a perpetual lease on the land and water that make up the base.

Crisis arose February 6, 1964, when Castro retaliated for the U.S. fining Cuban fishermen who were fishing in Florida's waters. He responded by cutting off water and electrical power to the base. Although the power and water were off, Castro publicly accused the U.S. of "stealing water through the pipes."

On February 17, the base commander, Rear Admiral John D. Bulkeley, called Castro's bluff in a bold way. Bulkeley cut the connecting water lines in front of 14 U.S. newsmen. The world observed the pipes were indeed dry.

There is no termination date or fixed number of years for the lease to run. It was agreed that the land would revert to Cuban control if abandoned or by mutual agreement. Neither has occurred.

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