A Light in the dark
This text is written by Arne Mørk-Jensen
Secretary in the Station Nord association
Station Nord was build by the USA in 1952, its purpose was to fill the gap in weather service and emergency landingstrip between Svalbard and the weather station Danmarkshavn.
Due to the northern location all oceangoing transport is impossible, so building materials had to be delivered by air, and during the summer of 1952 the following deliveries was made:
32 parachute drops, bringing 150 tons.
5 free fall drops bringing 25 tons.
125 landings bringing 600 tons.
From 1952 to July 1972 the base was operated by GTO (Greenland Technical Organization) with help from the US.
The US did the transport to and from the base, delivered the fuel and heavy equipment used for maintaining the runway and keeps it free from snow.
In this period Station Nord housed 28 - 31 men, who at that time had there own postal code.
By the end of July 1972 the US terminated their support to Station Nord, due to fact that weather information had become available from satellites.
At the same date the Danish government decided to close the base, because it would be too expensive to continue the operation with Danish funds alone.
July 30th 1975 Station Nord reopened as a military base.
The reason were to maintain the only manmade gateway to Northeast Greenland, hereby being able to "show the flag" in North Greenland.
Furthermore, the reopening of Station Nord, gave scientific expeditions access to this huge area, an access which had been terminated by the closure in 1972.
The station had to be operated with a minimum of personnel and as cheep as possible, it was decided to post 5 men for a one year term, they were recruited from all 3 branches and each year 2-3 new are recruited for replacement.
You sign up for a one-year tour with a max. of two years.
The area around Station Nord is very flat, with the highest point being Knuths Mt. rising 100 meters of ground.
Here and there is placed small huts where the men can go for recreation either by dog sled or snow mobile.
Supplies to this remote place are splendid, which is a real important factor, when you consider that meals often are the highpoint of the day.
Cooking is shared by all men one week at a time, and you are sure of one thing, no matter how good or bad you are in a kitchen, you will not receive any criticism. If so, the person who did so immediately has kitchen duty for the rest of the week.
Beside the fuellift from Thule Air Base and some scientific expeditions during summer the air traffic in this area is long apart.
There is a plane from the Royal Danish Airforce every 2 to 3 month, bringing supplies and most of all mail.
The station has a very good car pool, witch can handle most duties, but shortage of manpower is a problem during repair of the runway of renovating buildings etc., which is why extra personnel is brought in during summer.