GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba — About 150 U.S. and Cuban troops worked side by side last week, testing collaboration across a minefield that has long divided the Cold War adversaries.
A Cuban Army helicopter flew over this Navy base and dropped 500 gallons of saltwater on burning plywood to extinguish a simulated raging wildfire. American sailors crossed into Cuban-controlled turf to set up a mock triage center run by both nations' militaries, should catastrophe strike.
Nearly anywhere else, the event would have been a run-of-the-mill training exercise. And although U.S. forces at this remote base have engaged in the annual rite with the Cuban Frontier Brigade for more than a decade, the Bush administration forbade the disclosure of information. The Southern Command usually answered questions about the time, date or operation scenarios with "no comment."
This time, the U.S. military struck a different tone. It provided details but refused to let journalists already on the base for war-court hearings observe the ''mass casualty exercise.'' Sailors photographed the event but were forbidden to release the images, said U.S. Navy base spokesman Terence R. Peck.
Read the full story on MiamiHerald.com