Skip to main content

Originally published December 18, 2013 at 9:10 PM | Page modified December 19, 2013 at 7:00 AM

  • Share:
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

Gitmo chief orders Nativity scenes shifted to base chapel

After some troops secretly protested to the Pentagon, Capt. J.R. Nettleton concluded the more suitable place to put the Nativity scenes was in the chapel on a hilltop above the McDonald’s.

By The Miami Herald

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
No comments have been posted to this article.
Start the conversation >


GUANTÁNAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba — The commander of this remote outpost said late Wednesday he would move two Nativity scenes from U.S. troops’ cafeterias to the base chapel, ending a daylong controversy triggered by some troops who protested to the Pentagon in secret.

“No one’s ever complained to me about it. We’ve been doing it for 10 years,” said Capt. J.R. Nettleton, commander of the Navy base, which has a school, a golf course and about 6,000 residents, one-third of them civilian contract workers from Jamaica and the Philippines.

He said he took a look at the two crèches in the dining rooms and concluded the more suitable place was, as recommended, in the base chapel on a hilltop above the McDonald’s. “The spirit of the Navy’s policy on this is, if it’s religious, it goes to the chapel,” Nettleton said.

A total of 18 U.S. service members stationed here, five of them officers, appealed to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation after a secret meeting this week about what to do with the crèches and other Christmas decorations that festoon the main prison and dining rooms, the rights group’s president, Mikey Weinstein, said Wednesday.

He said eight of the protesting U.S. troops work inside the detention-center zone that this week held more than 150 Muslim prisoners. Weinstein said the protesters included 11 Christians, and said the other seven included Jews, Muslims, agnostics and atheists from a variety of services, including the Army and Navy.

Nettleton said he wished they had come to him directly, noting that base residents have a way to register complaints anonymously too.

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Enter to win!

Enter to win!

Share a photo of your holiday lights display and you may win a $100 Home Depot gift card.


Partner Video


Career Center Blog

Career Center Blog

Looking for joy on the job

The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►