I thought there was lots to do on DG, but it depended on the era. Pre-1980 it was an armpit. After the RDF ships arrived they dumped billions in there. I was there in 1985. There were lots of pretty women, good welfare & rec services, good clubs, bike races, trips to the plantation (with British permission), sailing across the lagoon, etc. I was never bored.
Wow, I've only seen photographs including overheads from the likes of Google Earth and Google Maps - where did they put all that stuff? It seemed like there was room for ships, airplanes, and not much else!
DG is a fraction of a mile across at the widest spot. At the narrowest, up near the curve of the "horseshoe", the IO frequently washes over the road and into the lagoon. Half of the island was not open under the treaty with the UK. "The plantation" area was unpopulated and kept as a memorial/shrine/whatever to the workers who lived and died there in previous times. Very limited passes to visit and photograph were granted by the British representative. Everything on the US side was fit in around the air strip. That thing was truly awesome. I don't recall the length, but it was built to take the SR-71 and fully-loaded B-52s. The 737 I flew in and out on didn't use a quarter of its length. At the wide end of the horseshoe they built all the barracks and support structures. When I was there I think there were about 6000 on the island, mostly contract workers from the PI and Mauritius. Military was only there to supervise the joint venture contractor; maybe 10% of the total. There were Marines to guard the magazines and invasion beaches, both USMC and Royal Marines. There were also some activities on the island better not discussed here for which the Marines were also present, and deadly serious about their jobs.
In terms of space, things like gyms, pools, sickbay, and PXes don't take up much room. We watched movies outdoors under pretty intense starlight. There were always people around, but you could go "up island" past the airstrip on a bike, or jogging if you could do a 15 mile round trip, and get alone time.
If you're active duty and ever get offered DG, I'd take it. It's a unique duty station, and you can save virtually a year's pay there in a one year tour.
< Message edited by Bullwinkle58 -- 11/11/2009 1:37:47 PM >