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28 Detainees Arrive at Camp Delta

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

NAVAL STATION GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, June 20, 2002 – Strong winds churned up white caps across Guantanamo Bay June 18 as an Air Force Reserve C-141 Starlifter streamed in for a landing carrying 28 suspected al Qaeda and Taliban members headed for in-processing and detention at Camp Delta here.

Arriving under tight air and ground security, the 28 brought the total of captured enemy combatants to 564 on the southeast tip of Cuba, about 400 miles from Miami. It also marked the second time in two days that detainees arrived here. A plane delivered 34 others on June 16.

So far this month, 180 detainees have arrived here as part of the global war on terrorism.

Heavily armed Army military police on foot and in machine- gun-outfitted Humvees surrounded the C-141 aircraft while a helicopter circled overhead.

Detainees were decked out in orange jump suits and surgical masks. Each was slowly escorted down the aircraft's ramp by two military police officers -- also wearing surgical masks -- and led to brown-painted school buses with browned-out windows.

The convoy of buses and armed Humvees drove about a mile from the airfield to a waiting ferryboat for the 2.5-mile trip across the bay to Camp Delta. Three-hundred detainees were transferred from Camp X-Ray to the 612-unit detention facility on April 28 and 29. Each unit measures 8 feet by 6.6 feet and is outfitted with a flush toilet, metal bed frame and sink with running water.

This is the 21st group of detainees to arrive since the first 20 detainees arrived on Jan. 11, 2002, according to Joint Task Force 160 spokesman Lt. Col. Joe Hoey. He's a member of the Army National Guard's 43rd Military Police Brigade out of Warwick, R.I. The task force is the multiservice command in charge of detention operations here.

"They're transported to Camp Delta and began their medical and administrative in-process," Hoey said. "They're deloused, if necessary, screened for injuries and given medical attention. From there, they're issued comfort items, such as the Koran and prayer cap, sandals, foam mattress, toothbrush and soap."

The detainees also receive towels, a washcloth, a canteen, another orange jump suit, blankets, a sheet and shampoo. Because two cases of tuberculosis have been discovered, each also gets a chest X-ray. They're fingerprinted, photographed and given identification bracelets.

The detainees are offered a chance to write a letter confirming where they are and that they're safe. The letter will be mailed to whomever they choose, Hoey noted.

"As long as (they're) here, we'll treat them humanely," he said. "We're a nation of laws, but you can also rest assured they won't be planning or participating in the murder of thousands of innocent victims.

"Today's mission ran smoothly due in large part to the training and professionalism of our citizen soldiers -- sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen -- and our active duty service members," Hoey said.

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