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Father and son team up with the Prime BEEF

  • Published
  • By U.S. Army Sgt. Ryan Hallock
  • 20th Public Affairs Detachment
Mother Nature unleashed Hurricane Sandy to wreak havoc in the Caribbean two weeks ago. While there were no reported injuries sustained at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, the storm did tear through the base and leave parts damaged.

One father and son team, sent to GTMO to support the Alabama Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force, was ready to clean up the mess Sandy left in its wake.

Air Force Master Sgt. Richard Dale Baskette and his son Senior Airman Richard Grant Baskette Jr. deployed to GTMO in July and are no strangers to natural disasters. They have responded to tornados, ice storms, and flooded areas since enlisting.

Baskette, who enlisted in 1988, is a water and fuel systems operator. Baskette Jr., who enlisted in 2007, is an electrician and, alongside his father, he's worked in maintenance at Camp Justice. This isn't their first rodeo; they've both been deployed before. Baskette has been deployed to Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Guatemala, and now GTMO, again. This is Baskette's second deployment to GTMO, and this time it's with his son.

"It can't compare, because last time I was here with our unit from Arkansas," Baskette said, comparing his deployments to Cuba. "If I had come here just with Alabama, I wouldn't have known anybody."

Coming to GTMO with someone he knows, that person being his son, makes this deployment a really good experience, Baskette said.

Being separated from family is a stressor service members must endure while deployed. Being deployed together has taken that stress away, the Baskettes said.

"It's interesting; it's different," Baskette Jr. said about having his father here with him on a deployment. "We go fishing and scuba diving; it's fun."

They live in Spiro, Okla., drill in Arkansas, and now work with Alabamians at Camp Justice. Baskette deals with work orders for anything with waste, water, fuel, and plumbing, and Baskette Jr. ensures the power stays flowing.

Power outages and natural disasters go together like punch and pie, and Sandy's torrential downpour left electrical breakers flooded.

"Water and electricity don't mix," said Baskette Jr.

Besides one or two minor things, Baskette said everything is up and functional after the damage left by the storm.

Fatherhood and leadership possess many of the same qualities, and Baskette said leadership has been in the foreground during this deployment.

"Luckily he's a good kid," Baskette said, laughing with his son. "I knew coming down here he's always been good at what he does. He's got his head on straight, and he's not down here to raise Cain and problems."

The Baskette father and son tandem from Oklahoma has hit their deployment head on working with the Alabama Prime BEEF. These guys work hard to ensure the necessities of the base are up and running and enjoy the recreation of GTMO together.