What must I do prior to coming to Diego Garcia?
Although the answer to this is limitless, we advise you to set up allotments if you have dependents or financial obligations to support them. You may need to designate a power of attorney to sell your car or home while you are on DG.
Also, ensure that you have your overseas screening completed and that your area clearance has been approved prior to reporting to DG. Only active duty unaccompanied, military personnel are assigned to DG. Active duty military couples are not allowed simultaneous assignments to DG.
What should I bring to Diego Garcia?
Diego Garcia is a tropical island, so bring clothing suitable for the hot and humid climate (shorts, short-sleeved shirts, T-shirts, sandals, and sunglasses). Bring plenty of sun block and sunglasses to this sunny island. Civilian clothes for off-duty and leave off island should be of the wash and wear variety since there is no dry cleaning on island. Shorts, pullovers, T-shirts and sandals are the normal civilian attire. Collared shirts are required at the Officers' Club. It is a good idea to bring additional shoes since the Ship's Store has a limited selection of styles and sizes. A set or two of dressier civilian attire is recommended for chapel services or special occasions.
Bicycles, a bicycle helmet (required for military personnel) and sporting equipment are good things to bring to the island. There are plenty of on and off-road bike trails for any bike enthusiast. Sports played on DG include softball,flag football, soccer, volleyball, tennis, racquetball, and golf. Since the Ship's Store variety is limited, you may want to bring your favorite toiletries such as shampoo, shaving cream, deodorant, sunscreen, etc. Also, consider bringing a camera, stereo, alarm clock, coffee pot, fishing equipment, snorkeling gear, and black umbrellas. It is a very good idea to bring books and magazines since the Ship's Store and library's collections are limited.
Individuals may wish to consider bringing a PC to the island as access to the internet and e-mail allows for effective communications with friends and family.
What AIS (Automated Information System) equipment should I bring if I'm going to be TAD/TDY in Diego Garcia?
Bring a government issued notebook/laptop computer with you if you'll be here for a few days or weeks. Only government owned computers can be connected to the network or can be used to process government information.
What uniforms will I need in Diego Garcia?
ALL HANDS ARE REQUIRED TO HAVE THEIR FULL SEABAG UPON ARRIVAL IN DG. A seabag inspection will be conducted upon arrival and missing uniform items will be immediately ordered.
Bring plenty of uniform items with you. The Ship's Store carries very few uniform items, the stock is limited and certain items can be unavailable for long periods of time. There is a DSN Uniform Hotline to order uniform items from Yokosuka, delivery can take up to 7-10 days. Everyone is expected to have squared away uniforms on a daily basis.
The working uniform is utilities for E-6 and below will be NWU's or NSU's depending on the work that you are performing that day. For E-7 and above the uniform will be NWU's or Khaki's.
Seabee's and Security are also required to have their Digital Woodland Uniforms.
It is strongly encouraged for E-7 and above to bring both Blue Mess Dress and White Mess Dress Uniforms. All official ceremonies are conducted in either Full Dress Whites or Service Dress Whites.
All hands are required to have the appropriate Navy PT uniform upon arrival.
In addition to these unifrom requirements, all personnel should bring extra sets of the following items: undergarments, socks, ribbons, medals, hash marks, rating badges, belts, buckels, and collar devices.
Air Force Unifrom requirements: Airman Battle Unifrom (ABU), Service Dress and Officer's Mess Dress, Air Force PT Uniform.
What cannot be brought to Diego Garcia?
All weapons, guns, knives with blades 3" or longer (including diving knives), pornography, plants, animals, narcotics, clothing with logos or designs which promote/depict/glamorize drug and alcohol use or abuse, profanity, or obscenity are all prohibited on DG by B.I.O.T. law. All contraband will be confiscated by customs once you arrive on DG.
How long does it take for mail to get to/from Diego Garcia?
Letter mail averages 7-14 days for incoming and outgoing. Packages with first class postage will get to DG quicker than surface rate packages. Mail is 2 to 3 times per week and depends on AMC flight arrivals.
Are there any banks or credit unions in Diego Garcia?
There is one Community Bank on DG and one Navy Federal Credit Union. The NFCU on DG does not process cash. Checks can be cashed at the Community Bank or various MWR facilities such as the Peacekeeper Inn, Officers' Club, and CPO Club. Be sure to bring enough checks for cashing and paying your bills.
Are credit cards or ATM cards accepted in Diego Garcia?
Credit cards are only accepted in the Ship's Store (VISA and MasterCard only). There are two ATMs on island: Billeting Downtown Office and Passenger Terminal (PAX Terminal).
Bring personal checks.
NFCU can draw a draft for cash at MWR facilities (PK, O'Club, CPO club).
How much does it cost to call home?
It costs between 40-80 cents per minute to call (depending upon time of day the call is placed) anywhere off-island. There is only one telephone company on DG and their telephone cards are needed to call off-island. It is not possible to use other phone cards or make collect calls. Webcams or internet connection is 4 cents to 2 cents per minute.
Is scuba diving allowed on Diego Garcia?
Scuba diving is permitted in limited locations inside the lagoon. Spear fishing is prohibited in the waters of DG.
How is the snorkeling in Diego Garcia?
Snorkeling is permitted and offers an excellent way to see the fascinating marine life and beautiful coral formations in the lagoon. Due to prevailing winds disturbing the water from June through September, snorkeling is usually best from October through May. There are over 700 varieties of fish in the waters of DG.
What wildlife is protected in Diego Garcia?
All life forms, including live shellfish are protected. Coconut crabs, chickens, all other birds, and donkeys, are protected under British law. Any detected harm, mistreatment, or harassment of any of the island's animals will result in punitive action.
What Diego Garcia areas are off-limits?
The eastern half of the island is off-limits. No personnel are permitted past the British Gate without a pass from the British Representative. This side of the island is a controlled area with no construction sites. It remains much as it was in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The remains of what once was a thriving coconut plantation are located on the east side of DG at East Point. The Brit Rep issues a limited number of passes to visit and explore the plantation ruins on weekends. Swimming is prohibited on the ocean side of DG as well as certain protected lagoon areas such as Turtle Cove.
What is the weather like in Diego Garcia?
The climate on DG is tropical marine; hot and humid, moderated by trade winds. The average temperature is 80 degrees, with a mean high of 85 degrees and a mean low of 76 degrees. The average rainfall is 102 inches per year, so bring a good umbrella for year round use. Umbrellas used while in uniform must be black.
Is there any tourism in Diego Garcia?
No, since DG is exclusively a military reservation. Everybody is a member of the US or UK military, DoD employee, US Merchant Mariner, or BOS construction.
What educational opportunities are available in Diego Garcia?
Central Texas College offers Associate degrees in several areas. The Navy College Office provides information and testing services. Most personnel are eligible for tuition assistance of up to 100 percent of tuition. Correspondence courses are available from several civilian colleges and universities. The average cost per course varies. The Navy College Office coordinates these classes and administers the GED, SAT, ACT, CLEP, and other exams offered under the DANTES program. Exams are administered by appointment only.
What is the length of tour in Diego Garcia?
Tours in DG are one year long. Extensions may be vailable for both officer and enlisted personnel. Some civilian personnel have been in DG for as long as 15 years.
What legal assistance is available on island?
A wide variety of legal assistance services are available through the NSF Command Judge Advocate. While the CJA's primary role is to advise the Commanding Officer, the Legal Office can assist you with the preparation of your will, powers of attorney, credit advice, notary services, immigration and many other matters by walk-in assistance or individual attorney appointment.
What religious services are offered on island?
The two base Chaplains provide Protestant and Catholic services. Services are also available for Mormon and Jewish faiths. All military religious services are conducted in the main chapel, Chapel in the Palms. This chapel seats 180 and houses the office and administrative areas for the two Chaplains and their assistants. Religious activities include Christian Fellowship Study, Choir, Bible Study, Confession and Rosary.
What special pay/allowances are granted to Navy personnel stationed in Diego Garcia?
1. Allowances payable while stationed in DGAR are as follows:
a. BAH – for members with dependents based on dependents’ location both CONUS and OUTCONUS. Lease agreement is no longer required except when dependents are located OUTCONUS. When dependents are located OUTCONUS, a Designated Place of Residency Approval is required and approved by the Office of Chief Naval Operations email NXAG_N130E@navy.mil or DSN 224-5635.
b. FSA or FSH – for members with dependents and members married to another member. Current monthly amount is $250.00
c. Hardship Duty Pay – for all members stationed in Diego Garcia. Current monthly amount is $150.00.
2. Only members with dependents are entitled to BAH when assigned government quarters. Single members are only entitled to BAH Partial or BAH Difference when paying child support.
If I am assigned to Diego Garcia, will I get tax-free income?
No, income in DG is not tax-free.
Can I keep my BAH when I transfer to Diego Garcia?
Yes and no. Single Sailors are not entitled to single BAH because you will occupy government quarters, single Sailors who are entitled to DIF (i.e. pay child support) will receive DIF, however, will not receive single BAH, married Sailors are entitled to draw BAH with dependents.
Can I put my car in storage before I transfer to Diego Garcia?
Yes, per RMG 250430Z MAR 97 and JFTR Para 5805,“Service members are authorized to procure POV storage service at their own expense. This service may be obtained commercially and a claim for reimbursement filed with the appropriate finance office”.This means you can put your vehicle in storage but you must pay the monthly fee and file for reimbursement.
What souvenir items are available in Diego Garcia?
There are free souvenir items as well as souvenirs which cost money. DG t-shirts are given to participants at MWR events. Sea shells and coral cannot be taken off island. The Ship's Store sells souvenirs such as DG t-shirts, DG Zippo lighters and sweatshirts. Uniform items such as DG ball caps, pith helmets and belt buckles may only be purchased by military. MWR also operates a small gift shop that also carries Diego Gacria logo items and small collectables.
How can I buy souvenir items if I am not stationed on Diego Garcia?
DG souvenir items are not available for online purchase.