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News: Providing Morale Welfare Recreation in the Camps

Story by Spc. Megan LeuckSmall RSS Icon

Providing Morale Welfare and Recreation in the Camps Staff Sgt. Megan Leuck

An Arabic library technician at the Detainee Programs Department prepares a Quran request for a detainee. JTF Guantanamo conducts safe, humane, legal and transparent care and custody of detained enemy combatants, including those convicted by military commission and those ordered released. The JTF conducts intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination for the protection of detainees and personnel working in JTF Guantanamo facilities and in support of the Global War on Terror. JTF Guantanamo provides support to the Office of Military Commissions, to law enforcement and to war crimes investigations. The JTF conducts planning for and, on order, responds to Caribbean mass migration operations.

By Megan Burnham
Joint Task Force Guantanamo Public Affairs

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba – It is the mission of the Joint Task Force Detainee Programs Department to provide media materials and literacy classes to detained enemy combatants. This is part of the privileges and special programs made available to detainees based on their compliancy status with camp rules.

"We are basically Morale, Welfare and Recreation for them," said Army Pfc. Phillip Allen, a library technician.

The two main sections of the Detainee Programs Department are the library program and the literacy program.

Since it began in 2003, the library program has obtained almost 7,000 media materials comprised of more than 6,000 books in 18 different languages, as well as magazines and DVDs. In addition, nearly 100 new books arrive each month to keep the inventory of books fresh and up to date.

"We are always looking for new materials," said Navy Lt. Cmdr Brian Leep, detainee programs officer-in-charge. "Some [books] we can easily find. The harder languages are donated by the International Community of the Red Cross."

Based on compliancy status, a detainee is given the opportunity once a week to check out material that can be kept for up to two weeks. They can either select from a variety of materials off the cart or request a book specifically.

Other media material offered twice a week is USA Today and an Arabic newspaper called the Al Ahram.

The literacy program gives detainees the opportunity to take classes to improve their literacy and grammar skills in their native language as well as in English.

"I think it's a great program for two reasons," Leep said. "Number one is that it allows detainees the opportunities to expand their thoughts outside of the local community and to educate them about other cultures in the world. The other reason is that it provides a better way to occupy their time and to be productive."

These sections are manned by a work team consisting of both military personnel and civilians.

"They do an outstanding job working together as a team to make sure each camp still receives their weekly service despite hurricane warnings and holidays," Leep said.

The Detainee Programs Department continues to maintain and increase their media inventory, and they also plan to expand the literacy program by offering it to all camps, as well as introducing humanities classes.


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This work, Providing Morale Welfare Recreation in the Camps, by SSG Megan Leuck, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:10.17.2008

Date Posted:10.20.2008 15:35


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