Welcome Aboard - “The Footprint of Freedom”
Congratulations on your orders to Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station Far East Detachment Diego Garcia. You should be receiving your "Welcome Aboard" letter and package through your chain of command. The letter will provide you with your sponsor's name, telephone number, and email address. If you are having problems contacting your sponsor, please email the Command Leadership or feel free to call for general sponsor info at DSN 315-370-2020 or Commercial 011-246-370-2020.
I hope the information you find on this site will answer many of your questions about our Command’s mission, the Diego Garcia team, and the unique lifestyle here on the island. If you are considering or are presently under orders to Diego Garcia, you should look forward to an exciting, professionally rewarding, and fun-filled tour.
You can download a PDF file (.pdf) format copy here => Welcome Aboard Package.
Getting to Diego Garcia:
Prior to your departure for Diego Garcia, you are encouraged to check with Navy Passenger Transportation Office (NAVPTO) or Travel Office on your routing to the island. To ensure that you do not receive overpayment of advance travel allowances and to help prevent “out of pocket” expenditures without reimbursement, you should discuss your travel entitlements with the personnel office that has arranged your transportation. These verifications should be completed, even if you already have AMC, MTA, GTR or commercial airline tickets in your possession.
Should you choose to take a route other than the most cost-effective government route in order to take leave, you may shoulder the travel costs of the difference without reimbursement.
You will arrive on Diego Garcia by Air Mobility Command (AMC) aircraft or government contracted commercial jet.
It cannot be emphasized enough that you should have a minimum of $400 in your possession, whether flying from the East or West Cost, to defray possible layover expenses. Most of these expenses will be reimbursable, but only after you have arrived on the island and submitted your travel claim. Remember to save all of your travel receipts and tickets.
East Coast Flights
Diego Garcia is served by contracted commercial aircraft originating from Norfolk Naval Air Station and Baltimore/Washington International Airport. There will be several refueling stops along the way, but because some of these stops may be in countries where U.S. presence is sensitive, your personal conduct is of the utmost importance. Remember that you are an "Ambassador of Good Will." All personnel are required to wear civilian clothing, but must present a neat, well-groomed appearance.
West Coast Flights
West Coast travelers to Diego Garcia are routed through Paya Lebar, Singapore. Due to the current closure of Yokota airfield, west coast travel could take place via commercial airlines to Changi International Airport, Singapore or via AMC through Kadena directly to Paya Lebar.
No clothing, hats, or belt buckles with slogans or insignia that may draw attention to your status as an American citizen/military member may be worn. Profanity, maliciousness, or any other negative behavior that may bring discredit to yourself or the United States are prohibited and may be punished under the UCMJ.
Diego Garcia is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory and therefore subject to British customs and immigration controls. A strict control is maintained on the importation of drugs and related items, weapons (knives with blades exceeding three inches, spear guns, fire arms, explosives, etc.) and pornography (print, video, or digital). Severe penalties are awarded for violation of British customs laws.
As a matter of routine, all medication (including aspirin and vitamins) will be confiscated and checked. You should identify all medications to ensure they are properly returned.
In accordance with regulations, no type of attire with degrading or obscene comments may be worn on, or brought to, Diego Garcia. This includes pictures, phrases or slogans depicting drug paraphernalia, anti-war slogans, ethnic slurs, or having sexual connotations. Publications that violate Navy guidance and are deemed inappropriate will be confiscated, to include all obscene publications. All videotapes and/or digital media (to include CD’s or DVD’s) brought into Diego Garcia may be retained by British Customs for screening and returned within ten days if approved. Prohibited materials will be burned or destroyed at no expense to local authorities or the U.S. Navy.
When clearing customs, you must have in your possession your orders and your military ID card. A passport is optional, but it is highly encouraged.
If you are contemplating taking leave overseas during your tour on Diego Garcia, you should know that a passport is required to visit all Pacific and Asian nations except Singapore, Japan, Korea, or Diego Garcia while on leave status. If possible, you should make every effort to obtain a passport prior to leaving the United States. If you desire to obtain a passport after arriving on island, check with PSD for assistance. An original birth certificate with a raised seal is required and will be sent with your application.
One of the first stops you will make on island will be at the Billeting Office to receive your assignment to a BEQ/BOQ room. Personnel E-5 and below normally share a room with one other person while E-6 and above have private rooms. Upon check-in, there is a small deposit fee for your room which is refundable after receiving a satisfactory room inspection upon checkout (detachment). You will be issued a key and linens and will soon be settling in your new home in one of Diego Garcia's two or three story buildings. Most BEQ/BOQs have laundry rooms and television lounges on each floor.
Now that you are settling in, you might want to call home and SURE (formerly Cable and Wireless a British telephone company) is the means you will use. Phone cards can be purchased at most of the restaurants and stores on the island as well as at billeting. Cards come in $10, $20, $50, and $100 increments. When your card gets low, you can head to the SURE office and pay to have your card updated.
As part of the CNO’s Quality of Life improvements, you will be able to place a phone call home, free of charge, throughout your tour here utilizing one of the Navy’s Moral Call Center numbers. More information will be available once you arrive.
Do you want to mail a card or letter home by mail? Diego Garcia is home to the only U.S. Post Office in the Indian Ocean. The average times for mail to and from the States is around 6-10 days, but can be affected by military aircraft flights and holiday periods, just like at home. Now that you have all of your mail off to your friends and family, it's time to learn something new.
The Education Service Officer (ESO) on island is ready to help you with all your learning needs. The ESO is the point of contact to the many programs available to you while you complete your tour on Diego Garcia. These include PACE courses, college tests and DANTES programs.
Also look into Central Texas College (on island) for programs to help you finish that degree you have been working on.
Is it time to just sit back and relax yet? Take a rest and turn on the TV to catch the latest ball game. The Naval Media Center Detachment on Diego Garcia broadcasts three radio signals and three television channels 24 hours a day.
Power 99 FM is the station for Live DJ's during the day playing the latest hits to your favorites of yesterday. Tune to 101.9 FM for a variety of music styles. If you are a talk radio or sports fan, switch it to 1485 AM for the best in stateside programming, live from the Broadcast Center California.
Island 8 is your primary channel from the American Forces Network and brings you prime-time programming, live sports, news and entertainment. Don't miss the nightly local newscast either to find out what's going on around the island. News Sports 10 is focused more towards, you guessed it, news and sports, while Tropical 12 carries syndicated programming and movies all day long.
Do you still need to know what is on which channel and at what time? Pick up the latest issue of the Tropical Times, Diego Garcia's weekly newspaper. In it you will find the TV schedules, along with the movie listings, the galley menu, MWR events and a wealth of other information.
The Seven Degrees South Café (formerly Consolidated Dining Facility (CDF)) is the island's galley where most of the meals are served on the island. If you are not receiving BAS (E-3 and below) or Per Diem, you will be issued a meal card and the galley is free for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you are receiving compensation for food, the CDF is still the economical choice of eateries. Most of the other restaurants on the island are sponsored by MWR and offer a wide variety of meal choices.