Thule Air Base
Aerial view of Thule
Squadron planes in the 1950s.
Backstory and Context
In 1940, a Danish ambassador made an agreement with US forces to defend the Danish colonies on Greenland from the German invasion. An agreement was made with the Danish government that the US was allowed to occupy this land for as long as there was a threat to North America. In 1951, a treaty was passed stating that a Danish flag, and an American flag be flown side by side.
Originally established as a Strategic Air Command installation, Thule would periodically serve as a dispersal base for B-36 Peacemaker and B-47 Stratojet aircraft during the 1950s, as well as providing an ideal site to test the operability and maintainability of these weapon systems in extreme cold weather. In 1957, construction began on 4 Nike Missile sites around the base. These sites as well as their radio transmissions were operational by the end of 1958.
In 1982, Thule became an United States Air Force Space Command base. The 12th Space Warning Squadron, is a ballistic missile early warning site designed to become aware of any missile in which the U.S. is the target or in danger. Approximately 600 personnel serve at Thule.