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CNO Lauds Guantanamo's Work Supporting Maritime Strategy

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071223-03
Release Date: 12/23/2007 5:54:00 PM


By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class William Weinert, JTF Guantanamo Public Affairs

GUANTAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- Guantanamo Bay Sailors, Navy civilians and family members heard firsthand the importance of the work they're doing in support of the maritime strategy during a visit over the holidays from the Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead.

Roughead toured Joint Task Force Guantanamo Dec. 22 where he spoke with numerous Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coastguardsmen - better known as troopers in Guantanamo - to express his appreciation and learn more about the nature and quality of the work they do here.

"What strikes me most about what I've seen in Guantanamo is the extraordinary professionalism of everyone with whom I've come in contact," said Roughead.

His tour included visits to the Joint Task Force detention facilities, including the detainee hospital and culminated in an open-forum all hands meeting where he honored trooper's questions and concerns.

"The opportunity to come down, to walk the ground, and talk to the troopers that are actually doing the work really gives me the opportunity to be better informed on a lot of the issues that we are going to face in the future," Roughead said.

Prior to his arrival, Roughead's last perception of Guantanamo Bay was based on his experiences he had here as a young officer conducting training operations. Although much has changed since the last time he visited, he had a pretty good idea of what he might see.

"With the strong leadership that we have here, and with the professional troopers on the ground, I knew that I was going to like what I saw," said Roughead.

Changes occurring rapidly to the Navy's strategic mission were very much on Roughead's mind in his conversations with troopers. He emphasized the broadening of the Navy's mission as it becomes more integral to joint service endeavors like Joint Task Force Guantanamo.

"Joint Task Force Guantanamo fits into the maritime strategy as an expeditionary capability. It brings with it not only the ability to conduct professional and humane detainee operations, it also blends in the legal and the medical dimensions."

Recognizing the importance of the Joint Task Force's mission, Roughead said that the detainee operation and the lessons learned from intelligence gleaned here are key to winning the global war on terrorism.

"The troopers here are doing extraordinary work in an environment that we normally do not experience. The work that's being done here and the types of operations that we're involved in are the way of the future," said Roughead.

"I appreciate the work they are doing, the spirit they maintain and their total commitment to the mission. On behalf of my family, I extend my holiday wishes to everyone here and I wish them all the best in the coming year," said Roughead.

For more news from Joint Task Force Guantanamo, visit www.navy.mil/local/jtfgtmo/.

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