Local News

Tuesday, Apr 15 2014 06:10 PM

Valley soldiers return from Guantanamo Bay

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Abraham Leon, left, and Caleb Trevino, just returned to California after serving close to a year in Cuba with the U.S. rerserves.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    U.S. Army reservist Caleb Trevino loads his gear into a rental car Tuesday to head to his hometown of Madera, north of Bakersfield. Trevino served a year in Cuba as a corrections officer guarding detainees.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Several people greeted a group of U.S. Army reservists Tuesday at Meadows Field after they served a year in Cuba.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    U.S. Army reservist Caleb Trevino was heading home to Madera Tuesday after arriving in Bakersfield after serving a year in Cuba as a corrections officer taking care of detainees.

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By JASON KOTOWSKI, THEO DOUGLAS and STEVE LEVIN, Californian staff writers jkotowski@bakersfield.com; tdouglas@bakersfield.com; slevin@bakersfied.com

Good Mexican food is in short supply at Guantanamo Bay.

U.S. Army Reserve Specialist Caleb Trevino had barely set foot in the Central Valley Tuesday after spending a year guarding detainees overseas when his thoughts turned to burritos. A carne asada burrito, to be exact, from a taco truck in his hometown of Fresno, with a dollop of sour cream and extra guacamole.

Trevino’s friend, Army Reserve Specialist Cesareo Leon, also had food on his mind.

“First thing I’m going to do is get some actual Hispanic food,” Leon said with a laugh. He planned to start his feasting with a torta.

The two were among a group of soldiers who landed at Meadows Field Tuesday morning. Some had spent as much as a year in Cuba without leave.

Trevino said he planned to spend the next week visiting family and friends in Fresno and Madera. He still has some time off from his job as a security guard at a Fresno-area hospital.

He described the past year as a “good experience,” and he’d do it again. When not guarding prisoners, he spent his time hanging out with friends and relaxing on the beach.

He’s getting used to being back.

“I’m happy, but it doesn’t seem real,” Trevino said.

He and Leon loaded up a car with duffel bags as they prepared for the drive north.

Leon said he’s looking forward to family trips to the San Diego Zoo and possibly Monterey Bay Aquarium after spending some time relaxing.

Patriot Guard Riders from the Kern County area showed up to welcome the troops home.

Derick Thomas, 27, said his grandfather and a couple of uncles served in the U.S. Navy, and he’s proud of the work servicemen and servicewomen do across the world.

A relative newcomer to the guard, Thomas said he’s gone on two funeral rides and one escort.

He and other riders were escorting a soldier and his family home Tuesday.

He said it’s important to let service members know they’re appreciated.

“If I can support them any way I can, I will,” Thomas said.

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