Thule Air Base is the U.S. Armed Forces’ northernmost installation, located 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Thule’s arctic environment offers some of the most spectacular scenery found anywhere in the world, including majestic icebergs in the North Star Bay, the massive polar ice cap and Wolstenholme Fjord–the only place on earth where three active glaciers join together.
On the anniversary of Germany’s occupation of Denmark, 9 April 1941, ―The Agreement relating to the Defense of Greenland” was signed in Washington By Danish Ambassador Henrick Kauffman and Secretary of State Cordull Hull. It was approved by President Roosevelt on 7 June 1941. In the agreement, the US agreed to take over the security of Greenland. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the allies established weather stations at Narssarssuaq Airport, Sondestrom (Bluie West-8), Ikateq (Bluie East-2), and Gronnedal (Bluie West-9). In 1943 the Army Air Corp set up weather stations, Scoresbysund (Bluie East-3) on the east coast around the southern tip of Greenland, and Thule (Bluie West-6) to be operated by Danish personnel. The weather stations gave the allies a strategic edge over the Germans in battle planning and provided a decisive factor in D-Day. Based on a good weather forecast from Greenland.
General Eisenhower scheduled the landing in Normandy despite the strong winds in the English channel. Based on the Greenland weather reports, he knew the winds would die the following day, so the Invasion was on!
In 1946, a combined Danish-American radio and weather station was established in the Royal Greenland Trade Department Building at Pituffik (present day Thule Air Base). Pitiffuk is translated as ―Place where they tie their boats.‖ By all rights, Thule Air Base should have been named Pituffik Air Base after the original site. The Navy built a new and much larger weather station. The Army Corps of Engineers built a 4,000-foot airstrip on the south side of the valley. In the following year the Thule airstrip was used as a jump-off point for exploration and a supply point for construction of airstrips and weather stations on the Canadian side of the straits (Eureka, Resolute, and Isachsen).
The first Transport Command aircraft landed on 9 September 1946. The East Reconnaissance Group (Project Nanook) flew B-17 mapping and photography missions from Thule’s primitive facilities. From 1946-50, several houses, a power plant, a radio station, and a dirt runway were built at what is now called “Dundas Village.‖ Dundas Village and the Inuit Village of Qaanaaq are protected by Denmark and specifically excluded from those areas under Air Force control. In 1963 the area was given official status as the 17th municipality of Greenland, the Thule municipality. The northernmost community in the world.
The mission of the 821st Air Base Group is to effect space superiority through Air Force Core Values-based installation operations and protection. The group operates and maintains Thule Air Base in support of missile warning and space surveillance and satellite command and control operations missions. The group provides security, communications, civil engineering, personnel, services, logistics and medical support to remote active duty units in a combined U.S., Canadian, Danish and Greenlandic environment of approximately 600 military, civilian and contractor personnel.
Although the base population expands in the summer (with exercises, expeditions, contractors, and visitors), normal population is approximately 600 consisting of 400 Danish, 50 Greenlandic, 3 Canadians, and 140 American military and civilians.
Most military personnel live in 3-story dormitories. Senior NCOs and officers have 2 rooms and a private bath. Junior NCOs and airmen have a private room but share a bathroom between the rooms. There is a community kitchen and day room on each floor. You may want to bring your own bedding, sheets, towels, bedspreads. Most rooms have single beds, some have double beds. It is recommended you bring your favorite pictures and decorations to make your room more personal during your stay.
Once you have your orders, email a copy of them to your sponsor, and he/she will get you an APO box number so you can let everyone know your new address. Once on station you will complete the official paperwork. Your mailing address will be:
PSC 1501 Box XXXX
APO AE 09704