National Geographic : 1961 Mar
But the U.S. has firmly stated that the Navy will resist any attempt to force it out. How has this situation come about? To find out, I went to Guantanamo- or "Gitmo," as it has been known to generations of Ameri can sailors. The nickname comes from the navalese abbreviation GTMO. First, let's go back to the Spanish-Ameri can War of 1898, which catapulted the United States to prominence as a world power. The U. S. plunged into the conflict with crusading zeal, determined to help Cubans throw off Spain's yoke. It was a zeal inflamed by such incidents as the blowing up-from still unknown cause - of the battleship Maine in Havana Harbor, and by lurid reports in U. S. newspapers. "Blood on the roadsides, blood in the fields, blood on the doorsteps, blood, blood, blood," wrote the New York World. "Is there no na tion wise enough, brave enough, and strong enough to restore peace in this bloodsmitten land?" Seven weeks after the U. S. declared war, the Navy had destroyed a Spanish fleet in Manila Bay in the Philippines, and Marines had won a beachhead in Guantanamo Bay, first successful land action in the conflict. Columbus Called at Guantanamo Like a grotesque hand, Guantanamo Bay and its offshoots stretch 12 miles inland to form one of the Caribbean's finest harbors (painting, pages 426-7). Rocky, scrub-covered hills surround its deep waters. Columbus put in there on his second voyage, and pirates Jeep and Helicopter Patrol Guantanamo's Perimeter Some 24 miles of chain-link fence wall off the base from Oriente Province. Barbed wire and a danger sign in English and Spanish mark a newly laid mine field. Patrols used horses until 1952, when bulldozers ripped roads across the hills. Battle stations at Guantanamo may be manned by Marines, Seabees, or combat trained sailors. In case of attack, Navy men would reinforce the leathernecks, who pro vide the first line of defense; guns and jets of the Atlantic Fleet would back up the garri son. Guantanamo's orders in an emergency: Hold out until help arrives. Here a Seabee swabs a mortar's throat during a lull in training. 425 KODACHROMEAND HS EKTACHROME(OPPOSITE) BY W. E . GARRETT, NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSTAFF A N.G .S.