The mission of the Naval Station in 1953 was to furnish to destroyer-type and smaller fleet units, the support necessary to accomplish its training program, provided mobile support was not available. The station was also responsible for emergency repairs to fleet units and support of local and district craft assigned. Intra-area support to dependent activities and availability of communications, plus the operation of a Registered Publications Issuing Office (RPIO), was the responsibility of the station. Organization and planning, within the command, provided for a rapid transition of component departments to the status of separate activities upon mobilization. Until 1957, this mission remained the same except that the RPIO became a part of the Communications Security Group Detachment.

On July 20, 1955, authority was obtained to operate a television station in conjunction with AFRTS, (Armed Forces Radio and Television Service) WGBY-TV, the first television station in the Navy, started broadcasting at 6:30 p.m., December 24, 1955, with a commissioning program by RADM W. G. Cooper, then Commander Naval Base.

With the advent of the Public Works Center - formerly a department within the Naval Station - the Chief of Naval Operations, in October 1956, approved a local agreement of financial responsibilities between the Naval Station and the new Center. Residual Public Works type functions remaining at the Naval Station were made a responsibility of the Comptroller's Office.

Beginning in February 1957, this and all other Naval Stations under management control of the Chief of Naval Operations were made responsible for the provision of logistic support to the Operating Forces of the Navy, and for dependent activities and other commands assigned. This broad mission statement has been liberally interpreted by higher echelons of command during the intervening years. The net result has been to require the Naval Station, and its personnel, to perform any and all tasks not specifically delineated to any other activity in the Guantanamo Bay complex. Recommendations made by the Inspector General of the Navy, during 1957, resulted in the consolidation of all boat pools under the Naval Station with an overall reduction of one officer and 70 enlisted men. Eight additional service craft were placed in "OSIR" (Out-of-Service in-Reserve) status, and a second shift was established in the Ship's Department to eliminate work previously performed at overtime rates.
Improved Recreation Facilities

In the past ten years, with the increase in the base population and increased Fleet activity, a concurrent expansion of recreational facilities has received a great deal of emphasis. A chronology of some of this development would include six cabanas completed at Windmill Beach in October 1952; construction of a roller skating rink next to the tennis courts at the Fleet Recreation Center; opening of a Hobby Shop, adjacent to the Naval Station Boat Shed in December 1953, and the installation of a bicycle rental service some three months later.

In 1955 came the family picnic park - later to be called Deer Park. This project was proposed to the Naval Station Commanding Officer, CAPT W. R. Caruthers, by the Villamar-Bargo Association - a forerunner of the present Naval Base Civic Council.

Work was started on a Brown Baggers Club in May 1959. This club, located on Sherman Avenue, is now the Fleet Reserve Association Home. An Automobile Hobby Shop opened August 15, 1959, near Corinaso Cove. Also, during this period, three swimming pools were constructed - at Villamar, Bay Hill and the CPO Club. In February 1962, Morin Center, named for William H. Morin, Boatswain's Mate Second Class, (an 1898 Congressional Medal of Honor winner) was opened, and in September 1962 came the opening of the new Enlisted Men's Recreation Building, Marblehead Hall. Adding to the build-up of the Naval Station recreational facilities was a number of hobby craft shops. Many of these shops were located at the Special Services area but were moved into a central location in December 1964 at the former seaplane ramp and driving range area near the air station. The local Armed Forces Radio and Television station which had been destroyed by fire in 1958 was temporarily quartered at the Marina Point Community Auditorium. Radio, television and office of the local newspaper, The Gitmo Gazette and Gitmo Review (name changed from Sunday Supplement in March 1963 and previously known as the Indian) were housed in the same building. Several attempts were made to obtain a new building for these facilities, however, lack of funds curtailed such movement.

Special efforts were placed on a new radio and television building after Hurricane Flora in October 1963 which saw the facilities partially flooded and inoperative. By early 1964 plans were made to purchase new equipment and remodel the auditorium at Morin Center. Over $150,000 of appropriated and non-appropriated funds were used in remodeling the interior of the building and installation of new radio and television equipment including transmitters, antennas, TV cameras and FM broadcasting facilities were added. The new building, which housed the radio, television and newspaper offices, was occupied on Thanksgiving weekend, November 1964.


In August 1941, the base school was dedicated and opened. It was in session from August to December and was then closed because of the entry of the U.S. into World War II. In October 1945, the school reopened with an enrollment of 45 pupils and five teachers. By October 1954, enrollment had increased to approximately 300 pupils and 15 faculty members. In the succeeding years, enrollment climbed to well over 1,000 with a commensurate increase in teachers and facilities. In October 1956, following a base-wide contest, the high school was named after RADM William T. Sampson, a hero of the Spanish-American War. The school was closed in October 1962 when the dependents were evacuated due to the Cuban missile crisis. It opened in December 1962 when the dependents returned to the base and continued on a routine basis.

Naval Station Organizational Changes

The Naval Control of Shipping Office at Guantanamo Bay was in disestablished by CNO in June 1959, whereupon Commander Naval Base assigned in-port control of shipping tasks to the Port Control Officer, a collateral duty of the Commanding Officer, Naval Station. Commanding Officer, Naval Station also took on added responsibilities as MSTS Representative for Guantanamo Bay. Nearly a year later, in 1960, the Port Control Office was disestablished and its office functions were assigned to the CO, Naval Station.

The multiple funding and management control o(f the various departments of the Naval Station by "parent" bureaus was discontinued on July 1, 1959, and CNO established direct management control and financial support of all Naval Station functions except those particular programs requiring special bureau support and funding.

Because of the unusual political situation and the greatly increased workload in the communications and security functions, the enlisted allowance was augmented by 40 men in October 1960. Much new and improved communications equipment has been installed since 1960. The message traffic reached its peak in December 1962, when transmissions totaled over 88,000. An Intelligence Bearing Radiation Survey Team completed an inspection of the Communications Center in June 1963, and a project was proposed for the construction of a new installation, scheduled for completion in early 1965.

Plans to rebuild and modernize the Naval Station Navy Exchange retail store were approved in November 1952. They included expansion of the sales floor, installation of new counters, and air-conditioning. Other improvements in exchange services followed, including expanded facilities at the gas station, installation of a laundromat, a housing development (in the form of 20 house trailers) and a self-service section. In May 1959, an exchange at Leeward . t was opened. A fire, caused by a faulty air-conditioner in the exchange retail warehouse, resulted in the loss of approximately $40,000 worth of merchandise in May 1963. A project for a major remodeling and expansion of the warehouse commenced immediately.

The tasks and functions of the Naval Station were again revised in June 1963. Although some new tasks were added, the revised mission can best be expressed in its official terminology, "To provide as appropriate logistic support for the operating forces of the Navy and for the dependent activities and other commands as assigned." This broad mission statement has been interpreted to mean that the Naval Station can do and will do any task assigned.

There are nine tenant activities of the Naval Station. One of these, the Commissary Store, is subordinate. The remainder are non-subordinate and include the Headquarters, U. S. Naval Base, Naval Security Group Detachment, Naval Supply Depot, Fleet Training Group, Dental Clinic, 10th Naval District Publications and Printing Serivce Office, and the Mobile Construction Battalion present.

Area activities include the Naval Hospital, Naval Air Station, Marine Barracks, Public Works Center, Resident Officer-in-Charge of Construction and Fleet units present.

Not included in the above activities but operating on the station are the American Red Cross and the Navy Relief Society.

On 1 July 1964 the management control of the Naval Station was placed under the Director, Field Support Activity. There has been no change in the mission or tasks and functions.

Go to Chapter Twenty-four