When I first arrived in Diego Garcia, I did not know what country it really was? But, when I flew into its airport, it had its own one man show. We had to wait hours, for one guy, to process a bunch of us. He had to do all the customs forms, and check all the proper paperwork, and he took it very seriously, and it took many hours to just get out of the building.
I had heard from other guys, that Diego Garcia was one of the worst places you could be stationed at. It was considered hard duty, and very isolated, and counted towards some duty as twice, which meant, it was so bad of duty, you got credit twice for it. That meant, if you had 1 year of sea duty, you could go here, and it would be considered that you did 2 years, and you get back to shore duty faster. Everyone wants to be on shore duty. This island was a tropical island, but it was not a paradise island.
It was mostly all military, and military support personnel on the island. The island was known for being profoundly hot. It really was terribly hot, and muggy, and shark infested. When we arrived there, there was a group of six of us, that were all going to the same ship. We were on our way to the USS DAVID R. RAY (DD-971) a Spruance class destroyer. But right now, that ship was out somewhere in the middle of the ocean, and we were trying to catch up to it.
It was amazing how we had to catch up to it. A couple of plane rides, two ship rides, one aboard a civilian ship, and then a helo ride, from one ship to another, in the middle of the ocean, and we finally caught up to it.
Back on Diego Garcia, after we were released from the customs office, we were taken to what seemed like a small trailer park. It was small, with white rocks around it, just like a little garden, and a screen door. It was white cabin like trailers that were in rows. Each one slept 6 guys to a unit, and had its own bathroom. All of us six guys were all going to the same ship, so we all stayed in the same unit.
We stayed in Diego Garcia for about three weeks. The next morning that we were there, we all went outside to the main white building to see what the heck we were going to be doing for the day, and where our ship was at, and when we would be going to be on it.
The officer in charge, saw one of the guys that was with us, and noticed he was wearing an earring. He got so mad, he walked over and yanked it right out of the guy's ear. I can't remember what his name was, but he was like a Torpedo man or Gunner's mate, and the guy that ripped his earring out, was the guy that was assigning jobs while we were there, and he told him, he has a special job for him.
The guy with the earring got the job of chopping down dead coconut trees in the jungle and dragging them back into the camp. It was always over a 100 degrees there, and that was about the worst job the man in charge could think of for our buddy. I ended up getting an air conditioned job, down at the local airport. I kept track of all their filing, and did office work for them, while I waited to get on my way again, as some days they would say our destroyer was going somewhere else, and then some days they would say it would be in, but it was always changing.
There was no site seeing to do on Diego Garcia, it was pretty much an all military type island. It was just isolated with sharks in the water, and nothing else to do on the island, and if you stayed outside to long, you would fry to death. No bars, only chow halls to eat in, and an outdoor movie theater, that showed movies at night time. Almost every day, there was a warning of no going in the water, because of to many sharks. I had no intention of going in the water there, because I had heard a lot from other guys that Diego Garcia has a lot of sharks, and even just one shark to me nearby, is one too many.
Even to this day, I still don't know a lot about Diego Garcia, I was there, and besides a lot of COD deliveries with airplanes always dropping stuff off, and picking stuff up, and airport runs, I'm still not sure what Diego Garcia is all about, still?