IN THE CAMPS

New Navy boss takes charge of Guantánamo detention center

 

crosenberg@MiamiHerald.com

A 29-year career Naval officer who has served at the White House took charge of the prison camps at the U.S. Navy Base at Guantánamo Thursday, becoming the 14th commander to run the controversial detention center in southeast Cuba.

Marine Gen. John Kelly, chief of the U.S. Southern Command, took part in the ceremony that installed Rear Adm. Kyle Cozad as responsible for the 149 detainees and about 2,200 staff, mostly military, at the prison operation, said Army Col. Greg Julian at Southcom.

No independent media were on hand for the event, said Navy Capt. Tom Gresback, the new detention center spokesman.

Cozad replaces Rear Adm. Richard “Rhett” Butler, like Cozad a pilot, who was reassigned to Norfolk, Va., to take charge of Strike Force Training Atlantic — where the U.S. Navy prepares U.S. East Coast naval forces for combat.

Butler was in charge during a period of extraordinary secrecy at the prison camps, including a blackout on disclosure of figures in the long-running hunger strike and systematic censorship of photography showing prison camp guard and detainee features.

Cozad took charge during the Muslim daylight fasting holiday of Ramadan — the 13th in U.S. custody for many of the detainees, the first for most troops — when the military has traditionally upended its so-called prison camp battle rhythm. During Ramadan, troops in the past were more subdued by day and focused their energies at night, including special midnight meals and after-hour force-feeding of hunger strikers.

A P-3 surveillance plane pilot, Cozad worked at the White House Situation Room from 2010 to 2012. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1985, according to his official biography, with a bachelor’s degree in Oceanography and Physics.

Other members of the class included Rear Admiral Rick L. Williamson, commander of the Navy’s Jacksonville headquarters covering Guantánamo, Navy Region Southeast; former astronaut Lisa Nowak and former Los Angeles Raiders running back Napoleon McCallum.

Read more Guantánamo stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category