Guantánamo

Guantánamo prison chow hall needs 400 lobster-cracking tools

Lobster tails for the troops at the Detention Center Zone chow hall on surf-and-turf day, Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. The line for the $4.60 meals stretched out the door of the dining room alternately called the Camp America and Seaside Galley that day. Today, lunch costs $5.55.
Lobster tails for the troops at the Detention Center Zone chow hall on surf-and-turf day, Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. The line for the $4.60 meals stretched out the door of the dining room alternately called the Camp America and Seaside Galley that day. Today, lunch costs $5.55. BuzzFeed

Buried deep inside a U.S. government shopping list for Guantánamo’s prison dining facility: A solicitation for 400 lobster crackers.

Surf ’n’ turf meals are considered a great treat, and tradition, at U.S. military outposts across the globe. Guantánamo, with five military chow halls, is no exception. Troops on their day off don their uniforms, depart their trailer park-style Containerized Housing Units, or CHUs, and head over to the chow hall that the Navy calls a galley.

But no lobster crackers were on hand earlier this year when troops packed the the Detention Center Zone dining room, known as Seaside Galley, for steaks to order off an outside grill accompanied by steamed lobster tails and crab legs — making for a messy affair.

surf1
Crabs for the troops at the Detention Center Zone chow hall on surf-and-turf day, Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. The line for the $4.60 meals stretched out the door of the dining room alternately called the Camp America and Seaside Galley that day. Today, lunch costs $5.55. Courtesy Jason Leopold BuzzFeed

So the 97-page solicitation, which includes an illustrated shopping list, issued last month includes 400 5  3/4 single jaw zinc-plated steel lobster crackers (which sell for $3.99 a piece at Target) as well as 48 sets of cutlery from the 10 Strawberry Street PAR-sF Parisian Gold collection.

The planned acquisition coincides with ongoing construction of a new $12.4 million cement-block dining room and adjoining kitchen to replace the waterfront structure that, despite repeated renovations, has deteriorated in the salt air. The building should be done March 30.

The new galley, like the current one, will prepare takeout meals for the 41 captives consistent with Islam’s halal proscriptions for delivery to the cellblocks. But it will also feed, cafeteria-style, the 1,500 or so troops and civilians assigned to Detention Center Zone, a base within the base of about 5,500 residents.

RELATED: Pentagon wants to spend almost $500 million on Guantánamo construction

At Seaside Galley, Navy medical staff, Army prison guards, mix and match commanders, attorneys and linguists mingle in an open, equal opportunity dining room after lining up on a first-come, first-served basis in the food hall.

1879679
At lunchtime, a soldier walks into the Camp America Galley — known to troops as Seaside Galley for its waterfront views — in this U.S. military photo published in the April 17, 2015 edition of the now-defunct Detention Center staff newsletter, The Wire. SGT. ADRIAN BORUNDA U.S. ARMY

It is not known why the prison was buying the fancy sets of faux gold-plated cutlery. Prison spokesman Navy Cmdr. John Robinson said there are no plans for a separate VIP or Officer’s Mess section in the new dining hall. He said Pueblo Hotel Supply Inc. won the contract but was unable to say when the new Army-Navy dining room would open.

To see the entire shopping list, click here.

Carol Rosenberg: 305-376-3179, @carolrosenberg

  Comments