WAR STORIES FROM PARADISE
You have traveled back to 2007!
Entries are posted by the year the writer arrived, so be sure to check either side of the year you're looking for to find your old buddies, shipmates, and sweethearts! I'll update this page as I receive your warstory! No anoymous reports - only if you're willing to put yourself up to the ridicule of the world will you be entered into this Guestbook! Also, please note that the email addresses listed are those at the me the entry was received - some of them from 1997! Sorry if they don't work now...
Send in YOUR Story NOW using the convenient fill-in-the-blanks form!
Hi Ted, I'm Bill Montgomery, former DGAR Contract Fuels Manager (DG21 LLC) from around 22 Jan 2001 - 30 June 2011. Read your history of DGAR for time eternal, and it was great! I saw an entry about DGAR winning the American Petroleum Institute (API) Award in 2000, and wanted to mention they also won 2 more Navy-wide 1st places 2004 and 2007. We also took 2 additional second place finishes 2002 and 2005 during this time period before NSF's Fuel Division became part of the FISC Yokosuka Detachment (NSF's Supply mission functions became quasi-split toward my tenure there, believe the formal transition was either in Oct 2009 or 2010??). I ran island-wide contractual fuel operations for DG under the BOS Company DG21, LLC. Cheers and have a nice day. PS: Here is one pic from the 2007 API Award ceremony the CO presided over, the Fuels Officer was (then) LT Steve Peters, SC, USN [Yours truly was in the middle here....a rather portly shot....must have been the "frosties."] Steve is now a senior LCDR on the COMSUBPAC Staff in HI.
April 2007 to August 2008
Shon Reynolds = firstname.lastname@example.org
Citizenship = USA; Service = USN; Outfit = Port Operations/ Fuels POL Pier LCPO, and 3MC
My_Quest = To drink more beer than anyone possibly can while basking in the sun on some tiny Atoll 7 degrees south of the equator, smack dead in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
VT_of_a_Swallow = Not sure, my pet swallow died trying to find out.
My_Warstory = “My first day at my most favorite place on Earth”
I looked out the airplane window. On the horizon, I could see the Sun just waking up after a full night sleep. As I looked out in front, as much as you can from the window seat of a commercial airliner, I saw the silhouette of the island. Its shape made me think of one of those bare foot stickers that you see on a surf shop wall. The outline of the island looked like a footprint, with the outlying islands being the toes.
When the plane came to a stop at the foot of the tarmac, the captain gave the “ok” to deboard the plane. It struck me as odd that we were de-boarding not from a jet way, but from a rolling set of stairs that you see in the 1960’s news clips of hero’s returning from war. Had we gone through some sort of time warp? I looked around, and there, at the bottom of the stairs was my luggage. Everyone’s luggage was there, in a big meaningless heap. “Grab your luggage, You have to clear British Customs” our airport host tells us through a bullhorn. A little bit of overkill, since there were only 5 of us standing there.
As we walked off the Tarmac, dragging our suitcase appendages, the first thing I noticed was the pungent rotting smell of decaying coconuts in the jungle. A smell that was stirring at first, but came to be known as a sign of familiarity, that I would call home for the next 17 months. The second thing that hit me was the sweltering heat, like I was sitting in a sauna.
Within seconds, I realized my whole body was wet with sweat, like I had just ascended from a hot shower with all my clothes on.
Entering the British customs office, it had a stale smell, a mix between cheap cigars, really old coffee, and the basement of a fifty year old house. The musk was so pungent that you almost had to hack your way through it with a machete. The furniture was old and dingy, like Archie Bunker’s living room. Just a miserable environment. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. The fifteen minutes I was there seemed like a life time. Finally I am cleared.
Walking out of Customs into the tiny room that made up the rest of the airport gave a glimpse of reality at just how remote this place really is. With the awkwardness of making that first call to my first girlfriend, I made the call to my command for someone to come pick me up.
Really unsure of how I was going to be received.
After I placed the call, I stepped back outside into the blistering heat. The air was so hot.
I was a live lobster, screaming as I am dropped into a pot of hot boiling water. The humidity was so dense that I could hardly breathe. My luggage felt 3 times as heavy, like I was carrying four extra buckets of water in each of my four bags.
My ride arrived, and Erick and I introduced ourselves to each other. Erick helped me load my bags into the truck. I noticed that while I was sweating like a pig, he didn’t even seem the least bit bothered by the heat. I guess it takes some getting used to. It was clear by the smile on Erick’s face, this place must get better. Erick and I talked as he drove the 3.17 miles from the airport to “Downtown”. The ride seemed like a marathon, down the one and only road on the island. Millions of Palm trees and nothingness, not a power line, not a road sign, not even another vehicle at least that I can remember seeing.
All of a sudden the tree’s opened up into “Downtown” and the sign read “Welcome to Diego Garcia, The Footprint of Freedom”. Five small arrows pointed in different directions, Grundy, VA 9,721 miles, Philippines 3,085 Miles, Washington, DC 9,090 Miles, Tehran 3,043 Miles, and Denver 10,197 Miles. I was definitely a long way from any place familiar. I felt like a cowboy from an old western movie after 7days out on the trail arriving into a city of what is really just 4 or 5 buildings. I only thing missing was the Tumble weeds.
We stopped at the Billeting Office, where I was met by the most pleasant Filipino gentleman, with a friendly smile so big that it seemed to be painted on like a clown. He quickly welcomed me, and gave me my room assignment and told me where everything was. The entire speech lasted no more than a minute, and he was very thorough. Then he handed me the key to my room.
I was physically and mentally drained from the 27 hours of travel layovers and flight time. I looked at my watch, it was only 10:15am local time. I had only been on the island for just under an hour, and the sun had only been up 15 minutes longer than that. I felt like a sponge that had been ringed of all its water and left on the back of the sink for days. I remember Erick asking if I was hungry, and my one word speech spoke as many volumes as two “State of the Union Addresses”. “Tired”.
Erick graciously helped me get my baggage to my room, told me that he would stop by later to check up on me, and pointed out his room if I needed anything. Hopefully, I thanked him, but in my exhaustion, I can say if I did or not. I carelessly tossed my luggage into a pile on my floor, like I was throwing cinder blocks into a scrap pile at a construction site. I plopped down on my bed like I was doing a carefree Jack Knife off of the high dive, and fell fast asleep.
I woke up at 8:30 am the next day, hungrier than a hostage.
I sat down at the Chief’s club for breakfast, and thought to myself; here I am starting day two on one of the most beautiful Islands in the world. It only gets better, and this is paradise already. I can’t wait to live out the rest of my stay here on Diego Garcia, The Navy’s best kept secret.
Mark Brasel <email@example.com>
Hey just wanted to say I'm loving your website, I was there in 2007 on an Armed Forces Entertainment tour with a band. We were there 2 weeks it was only suppose to be 1 but as they say on Diego "plane might come".
Anyway I have been fascinated with that place since then. I know only a small handfull of people get to go there and I feel very blessed to have been and just wanted to say thanks for the website it has lots of great material. I especially took interest in all of the enviromental protection information and marine preserve. I think that is something so critical for us to understand is that the planet is not disposable and we need to leave relatively un treaded places like Chagos Archipelago exactly that un treaded and learn to tread lighter every where we go. I as a Floridian am heartbroken by the current situation in the Gulf of Mexico and realize that part of the earth will never recover from this epic disaster. Once again thanks for all of the great info and pictures.
Roger = firstname.lastname@example.org
Citizenship = USA; Service = Contractor; Outfit = Transportation
My_Warstory = Great time but too short to meet more good people...Enjoyed the hospitality and scenery.
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This, and everything else I write and every photo I produce is copyrighted by Ted A. Morris, Jr.