Sailors Work Together For Humane And Safe Detainee Care
There are a lot of misconceptions about what happens at Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. It is a facility that houses and cares for detainees, this is true. But many people think that the majority or all of the guards who tend prisoners at the Cuba facility are Army personnel. While there are Army Personnel that are part of the prison guard force, there are also Navy personnel responsible for detainee care also.
These brave men and women make up the Navy Expeditionary Guard Force. They first arrived and became part of the Guantanamo Bay detainee guard unit in 2005. At the time the previous guard unit was comprised entirely of U.S. Army personnel, and it became a difficult unit to keep fully staffed with the needs of the War on Terror and other worldwide Army needs. So, a
decision was made to make it a joint forces post, and the Navy Unit was created.
The joint services approach appears to be working well. “The Navy arrived to help the Army Guard Force that was in place,” said Navy Commander Jeffery Hayhurst. Commander Hayhurst is the Navy Provisional Guard Commanding Officer.
“We have a mission overall to train, man, and assist to equip a force to guard and keep safe detained enemy combatants,” said Commander Hayhurst. To carry out its intended mission the NEGB unit has a very diverse group of sailors that take seriously a task that may not be totally understood by most people. Most of the Sailors are working in an area that they were not specifically trained for, or working at a job that is not their rating.
“About fifty six percent of our staff have the rating of Master at Arms, that is the traditional skill set of Navy Law Enforcement,” stated Commander Hayhurst. “For the other part of our crew, the other forty four percent are sailors from various rates straight from the Navy Fleet,” said Hayhurst.
All the guards that are assigned to Guantanamo Bay go through training that is quite extensive, first in Mississippi and then at Fort Lewis Washington. They then train for two weeks with the personnel they replace at Guantanamo Bay, before becoming themselves responsible for the overall Guard duties.