Day 8-11 – NS Guantanamo Bay: Homeward, delayed and GITMO colors

My time at the base has been terrific.  If there is a good time in the future, I would return to give my friend Fr. Johnson more leave.

During the last few days of my time at GITMO I did some remote ham radio operation.  The 20m band was super open for a couple days.  I got some good contacts.  I did some of my own hunting, calling CQ, and got a couple of pile ups, which was a new experience.

Mr Iguana remains unimpressed.

Pano from my balcony.

Directly after our Sunday Mass at the Main Chapel, I went with a couple of the men who had served down to the ferry landing to cross the bay with the flight crew who would take me back to the mainland.

Here is a starfish in the clear waters.

The boat was fast and fun at full throttle on the placid bay.  Alas, it couldn’t go faster.


Once the C-12 was prepped, we were on our way.

Yes, I blessed the plane before we boarded.

A few sights from the ride to Fort Lauderdale.

The colors were fantastic.

Once we landed in Fort Lauderdale, I went through US Customs and was then translated to the commercial terminal where I checked in for my flight to Madison.

Alas, we were halted in the plane, on the runway for a looooong time, so long that I started getting note on my phone about my connecting flight being cancelled and being shifted to a flight the next day through LGA … (connection through LGA …what could go wrong with that?).

We landed in ATL with about 30 minutes before the MSN flight was to depart and I was still getting LGA messages as we taxied.   But when I was about to search hotels, I got a note that the MSN flight was still on!  I had to hie my sorry person across the airport.  Of course we arrived at the end of one terminal and the MSN flight was to be at the end of another.  And the escalators taking people down to the connection train were out of order, so people stacked up at elevators.   Anyway, I made it to the gate with a couple minutes to spare.   I figured my bag wouldn’t make it, but at least I’d be home.

The flight was smooth and I continued with my audio book… US HERE and UK HERE.

I like flying at night, passing over the towns and seeing seemingly slowly moving vehicles on the roads.  You can see the arteries of the places bringing in and carrying out the traffic.

Once landed in MSN, Delta sent a “we regret to inform you” note about my bag.  Having consulted with the “bag lady” that was that.  My car was in the parking lot just where I left it and the rest is predictable.

This morning I got a new notice that my bag was loaded in ATL.  I really like this text service.  It should be out for delivery early this afternoon.


And that, as they say, is that.

Finally, here is my voice memo recording of colors from GITMO.



Two developments.

My bag was delivered in good shape.  The process was efficient!

And, I surpassed 1 million miles on Delta.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Semper Gumby says:

    Deo gratias for a safe return from an adventurous trip. Thanks for the audio of colors at Gitmo and the photos.

  2. acardnal says:

    I enjoyed your posts during your TDY to GITMO. Thanks.

    Love the audio recording for “colors” at the end. I may use that in my neighborhood.

  3. Poor Cuba. What a wonderful country it could be. Leave it to the communists to take a tropical island paradise and turn it into a hellhole, and call it “progress.”

  4. acardnal says: “colors” … I may use that in my neighborhood.

    I love it! Start with the Star Spangled Banner at 0800 too. But do give them the 5 minute warning!

  5. Semper Gumby says: adventurous trip

    Yes, it was great. I was taken to a lot of places where I couldn’t take photos and I won’t name or describe. It was informative, to be sure. The people I met were great. I adjusted quickly to the pace of life: like Mayberry. Very slow.

    It was great!

    And colors are marvelous.

  6. Semper Gumby says:

    “I was taken to a lot of places where I couldn’t take photos and I won’t name or describe.”

    There’s an old joke: “Maybe you were never there…” Deo volente, you can get back to Gitmo for Fr. Johnson again.

    Anita Moore OP (lay): From tropical paradise to hellhole- that’s the Communist guarantee. You probably already know this, but the Register occasionally has an article about the Church in Cuba.

  7. Semper Gumby says: There’s an old joke

    In me years in Rome, having been approached by all sorts of organizations, I learned well a phrase in Sicilian:

    “I wasn’t there. And if I was there, I was asleep. And if I was asleep, I was dreaming I was someplace else!’

  8. Semper Gumby says:

    Admit nothing, deny everything, make counter-accusations.

  9. JonPatrick says:

    That recording of the colors. When I was in the USAF we had a different one (“to the colors”) that was played in the morning as the flag was raised. If you were driving on base you stopped and got out of your car, faced towards the flag and saluted. Perhaps the Navy had a different tune. Ours probably came from the Army as the USAF was part of the Army until 1947.

  10. acardnal says:

    Semper, don’t forget this commonly heard phrase used in my military days, “acardnal, you just volunteered to clean the latrine.”

    Fr Z, I hope you gave KSM a copy of Sohrab Ahmari’s book, “From Fire by Water” while you were there.

  11. acardnal says: I hope you gave KSM a copy of Sohrab Ahmari’s book

    As it turns out, I brought one for him but for some reason we didn’t run into each other.

  12. Semper Gumby says:

    acardnal: Ah, good times. Every day a holiday, every meal a feast, my drill instructor loves me like a brother.

    JonPatrick: Good point about people stopping their cars. On Marine bases we use that same bugle call, “Morning Colors” to us, at 0800. The bugle call in Fr. Z’s audio above we use as Evening Colors.

    Thanks for your USAF service, over yonder AC-130s and A-10s did fine work. One night we saw B-52s at work- a series of flashes and flickering glows on the horizon followed by a deep, rolling rumble heard and felt. Impressive.

  13. hwriggles4 says:

    Fr. Z:

    Thanks for taking the time to help Fr. Johnson(CAPT, CHC, USNR). I hope I got his rank correct – he might be a CDR. My dad was Air Force, and I was almost a Coastie. Applied for a DCE 11 years ago, got through the physical and interviews, but only 4 DCEs were picked during that cycle.

    Appreciate your support for our Church and military. You also set a good example of “manliness “. Maybe your new boss will give you permission to fill in at Great Lakes or Fort McCoy as a contract chaplain.

    Glad you had a good time at GITMO, and the men appreciate you there too.

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