Guantanamo Bay Is A Lonely Place For US Troops [PHOTOS]

Produced by Daniel Goodman 

While the world fights over the fate of 166 detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, around 5,500 U.S. troops at the base are just doing their job.

It’s not an easy tour of duty, despite the idyllic conditions found at the southern tip of Cuba.

Troops feel isolated, with no civilian cell phone towers and barely adequate bandwidth for video chat. They face severe restrictions on social media and are prohibited from talking about much of their work. It doesn’t help that their work is so little understood back home.

They work long hours, under intense and sometimes dangerous conditions, where one misstep can cause an international controversy.

The military offers recreation, entertainment and a lot of physical training to keep morale high. It can only do so much.

For a closer look at troop life at GTMO, check out our exclusive video (above) and photos.

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title=”It’s a 90-minute flight from Florida to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”
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permalink=”this-airstrip-is-where-troops-will-land-at-the-base-which-america-has-operated-for-110-years-2″
title=”This airstrip is where troops will land at the base, which America has operated for 110 years.”
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permalink=”from-the-airstrip-its-a-short-drive-to-the-ferry-that-comes-about-once-an-hour-3″
title=”From the airstrip it’s a short drive to the ferry that comes about once an hour.”
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[slide
permalink=”the-base-has-come-a-long-way-since-serving-as-a-refueling-stop-for-coal-fed-naval-ships-4″
title=”The base has come a long way since serving as a refueling stop for coal-fed naval ships.”
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permalink=”back-then-this-stronghold-was-built-to-repel-invasions-from-the-sea-5″
title=”Back then, this stronghold was built to repel invasions from the sea.”
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[slide
permalink=”guantanamo-naval-base-sits-on-both-sides-of-the-bay-on-the-southern-tip-of-cuba-6″
title=”Guantanamo Naval Base sits on both sides of the bay on the southern tip of Cuba.”
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[slide
permalink=”this-spot-has-held-strategic-value-for-over-400-years-starting-when-columbus-spent-the-night-here-on-his-second-trip-to-the-new-world-7″
title=”This spot has held strategic value for over 400 years, starting when Columbus spent the night here on his second trip to the New World.”
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[slide
permalink=”but-this-is-the-mission-for-many-troops-here-now–guarding-and-servicing-the-needs-of-guantanamo-detainees-8″
title=”But this is the mission for many troops here now — guarding and servicing the needs of Guantanamo detainees.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5176e6ba6bb3f73b20000011/image.jpg”
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permalink=”these-monuments-each-represent-a-unit-crest-or-symbol-what-it-means-to-him-one-soldier-says-its-like-we-served-here-we-moved-on–you-can-too-9″
title=”These monuments each represent a unit crest or symbol. What it means to him, one soldier says: “It’s like we served here, we moved on — you can, too.””
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[slide
permalink=”what-that-soldier-meant-was-that-many-troops-find-guantanamo-a-very-difficult-place-to-serve-even-with-the-perks-10″
title=”What that soldier meant was that many troops find Guantanamo a very difficult place to serve even with the perks.”
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[slide
permalink=”the-military-does-its-best-to-offer-entertainment-to-troops-and-their-families-like-this-main-outdoor-theater-called-the-lyceum-11″
title=”The military does its best to offer entertainment to troops and their families, like this main outdoor theatre called the Lyceum.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5176e66deab8ea4564000001/image.jpg”
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[slide
permalink=”the-landscape-can-be-extraordinarily-picturesque–12″
title=”The landscape can be extraordinarily picturesque …”
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permalink=”with-sailboats-available-for-rent-to-troops-for-sightseeing-and-scuba-diving-13″
title=”With sailboats available for rent to troops for sightseeing and scuba diving.”
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[slide
permalink=”even-with-amenities-like-batting-cages-and-skate-parks-a-sergeant-tells-me-theres-something-of-a-proverb-delivered-to-all-fresh-recruits-facing-time-at-guantanamo-that-if-they-dont-manage-time-wisely–14″
title=”Even with amenities like batting cages and skate parks, a sergeant tells me there’s something of a proverb delivered to all fresh recruits facing time at Guantanamo: That if they don’t manage time wisely …”
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permalink=”recruits-will-leave-guantanamo-either-a-chunk–15″
title=”Recruits will leave Guantanamo either a ‘chunk’ …”
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[slide
permalink=”a-monk–16″
title=”A monk …”
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[slide
permalink=”a-hunk–17″
title=”A hunk …”
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[slide
permalink=”or-a-drunk-this-bar-is-just-one-place-to-buy-deeply-discounted-spirits-and-beer-on-guantanamo-18″
title=”Or a drunk. This bar is just one place to buy deeply-discounted spirits and beer on Guantanamo.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/5176e6a9ecad043921000023/image.jpg”
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[slide
permalink=”accommodations-can-be-sparse-19″
title=”Accommodations can be sparse.”
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[slide
permalink=”the-navy-galley-and-dining-hall-has-a-spectacular-ocean-view–20″
title=”The Navy galley and dining hall has a spectacular ocean view …”
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[slide
permalink=”but-to-troops-a-pretty-view-doesnt-make-up-for-having-to-wear-protective-suits-to-keep-from-getting-splashed-by-detainees-with-cups-full-of-feces-and-urine-21″
title=”But to troops, a pretty view doesn’t make up for having to wear protective suits to keep from getting ‘splashed’ by detainees with cups full of feces and urine.”
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[slide
permalink=”some-troops-participate-in-grueling-daily-coast-guard-patrol-duty-which-runs-security-along-the-perimeter-of-the-island-slamming-through-4-foot-swells-22″
title=”Some troops participate in gruelling daily Coast Guard patrol duty, which runs security along the perimeter of the island slamming through 4-foot swells.”
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[slide
permalink=”they-face-the-constant-tension-and-pressure-of-operational-security-or-opsec-23″
title=”They face the constant tension and pressure of Operational Security, or OPSEC.”
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[slide
permalink=”they-do-have-reminders-that-their-service-is-appreciated-like-this-letter-from-a-schoolgirl-24″
title=”They do have reminders that their service is appreciated, like this letter from a schoolgirl.”
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[slide
permalink=”and-they-do-have-some-starbucks-coffee-25″
title=”And they do have some Starbucks coffee.”
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[slide
permalink=”but-because-gtmo-is-such-an-isolated-remote-place-focused-on-detention-26″
title=”But because GTMO is such an isolated, remote place focused on detention…”
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[slide
permalink=”that-starbucks-coffee-like-everything-else-to-support-life-and-boost-spirits-must-be-imported-well-except-for-the-iguanas–27″
title=”That Starbucks coffee, like everything else to support life and boost spirits, must be imported. Well, except for the iguanas …”
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[slide
permalink=”the-banana-rats-28″
title=”The banana rats…”
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[slide
permalink=”a-bit-of-electricity-29″
title=”A bit of electricity…”
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[slide
permalink=”and-fresh-water-which-is-pulled-from-the-sea-and-desalinated-here–30″
title=”And fresh water, which is pulled from the sea and desalinated here …”
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[slide
permalink=”before-it-is-piped-across-base-31″
title=”Before it is piped across base.”
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[slide
permalink=”everything-else-must-be-brought-in-on-the-barge-if-something-goes-missing-the-running-joke-is-that-it-fell-off-the-barge-32″
title=”Everything else must be brought in on the barge. If something goes missing, the running joke is that it “fell off the barge.””
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[slide
permalink=”this-lighthouse-would-have-guided-those-barge-shipments-into-guantanamo-a-long-time-ago-33″
title=”This lighthouse would have guided those barge shipments into Guantanamo a long time ago.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/517ad05cecad04650b000001/image.jpg”
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[slide
permalink=”that-everything-must-be-imported-is-a-constant-reminder-to-troops-of-just-how-isolated-they-are-34″
title=”That everything must be imported is a constant reminder to troops of just how isolated they are.”
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[slide
permalink=”they-count-down-the-days-to-their-final-ferry-ride-off-the-base–35″
title=”They count down the days to their final ferry ride off the base …”
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[slide
permalink=”after-which-theyll-catch-the-final-plane–36″
title=”After which they’ll catch the final plane …”
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[slide
permalink=”and-put-guantanamo-behind-them-forever-37″
title=”And put Guantanamo behind them forever.”
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[slide
permalink=”thats-what-life-is-like-for-many-troops–38″
title=”That’s what life is like for many troops …”
content=”Now see what life is like for many detainees >
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/516f3c396bb3f7020d00000c/image.jpg”
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[/slideshow]

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