Guantanamo Bay Naval Station Fast Facts:
The first permanent US base in Cuba was created in 1903 in Guantanamo Bay.
Cuba became an independent nation in 1901.
The bay, located between the Florida Keys and Cuba, was first claimed in 1871 by the Spanish, but control over it didn’t really exist until 1898, when the German government leased it from Spain for the purpose of building a naval base. The U.S. acquired control of it in 1903.
During World War II, the U.S. made many efforts to develop the bay as a naval base. The most ambitious was Operation Redwing, in which the U.S. constructed a series of moorings and wharves on a site called Treasure Bay. The project was originally conceived as a joint venture of U.S. Steel Corporation and Brown & Root Engineering Corporation, but was eventually sold to the U.S. Navy (via the Treasury Department) by the end of the war.
In the 1950s, the U.S. built two runways and the runways began allowing jet bombers to land on the site. The two runways are a part of the Bay’s “L” and “C” terminals, which are used for civilian and international airline traffic. Air traffic is currently constrained to the Bay’s “L” terminal.
The U.S. completed construction of the “C” terminal before Cuba’s independent state fell to the Soviet Union in 1959. The U.S. government then began a policy of stationing military bases in Cuba’s territory. The first permanent US base in Cuba was created in 1903 in Guantanamo Bay. The U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy have used the air-base for training, testing, and deploying aircraft since the 1940s, and the U.S. Navy operates a naval base within the base. The U.S. Air Force also has a