My Overnight in D.C. On My Way to Guantanamo bay

I am a 2L at Indiana University McKinney School of Law and am traveling to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on mission representing the Indiana University Program on International Human Rights Law (PIHRL) Military Commission Observation Project (MCOP) at the hearings in the case against Abd al Hadi al Iraqi.  My Ft. Meade experience and my Guantanamo Bay pre-departure post may be found here.

Flight and Hotel Information

I had an uneventful 1.5-hour flight from Indianapolis, Indiana to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C. and have checked into my hotel. The Uber ride from the airport to the Quality Inn took around 30 minutes and cost a little less than a dollar per minute. A shared van or Uber could have been cheaper, but I preferred to quickly settle in to the hotel for the night. I am staying at the Quality Inn in Camp Springs, MD, which is just across the street from Joint Base Andrews. The hotel is humble and unassuming, and the rooms are large and very clean. There are three stories in the hotel building, and a room may be rented for as little as $81 per night.


Quality Inn on Allentown Road in Camp Springs, MD

There are several restaurants advertised at the front desk that deliver lunch and dinner straight to your hotel room. I ordered dinner from Pizza Boli’s. They have a website you can order from, but I called their number to place the order. My combined lunch/dinner was here in less than half an hour and the food was hot and of good quality.

Arrival Requirement

I traveled to D.C. the night before my scheduled flight to Guantanamo Bay, because I am required to arrive at Andrews by 5:00AM tomorrow (Sunday) morning, and the Pentagon graciously arranged a pick-up for me from the hotel at 4:45AM. The flight to Guantanamo Bay is scheduled to depart from Andrews at 8:20AM.


Hotel room at Quality Inn in Camp Springs, MD.

Preparing for Tomorrow

Tonight, I am preparing for departure from Andrews by re-reading an informative email I received from the Pentagon, and going over my Orders (sheila-willard_orders_redacted) and APACS (Aircraft and Personnel Automated Clearance System) (sheila-willard_apacs_redacted). These documents were sent to me by my Pentagon contact.

I am excited to meet my fellow NGO observers tomorrow morning and pass out a copy of the Manual Excerpt, a comprehensive guide for preparing to observe Guantanamo Bay proceedings. Hopefully we will have time to introduce ourselves, our organizations, and share more about our missions and perhaps receive feedback for the MCOP’s Manual, a 500-page, 2-volume resource for all things Guantanamo drafted by Professor Edwards and the PIHRL at Indiana, the Manual Excerpts, a reduced version of the Manual with highlights, such as what a fair trial looks like, the roles and responsibilities of an NGO observer, and background info on Guantanamo military commissions, and Know Before You Go Guide, a 76-page guide that speaks directly to NGO observers and is helpful in preparing for a successful mission, and may also be found in both the Manual and Manual Excerpts.

Sheila Willard (J.D. Candidate, ’18)

NGO Monitor, U.S. Military Commission Observation Project (MCOP)

Program in International Human Rights Law

Indiana University McKinney School of Law

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