Military News

Friday, August 21, 2015

Late night trips to Thule

by Airman 1st Class Joshua King
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

8/21/2015 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- Imagine being on top of the world for a year, where sunshine and a grocery store are equally scarce. The only thing you can see outside the walls of the base is an endless wilderness.

Thule Air Base, Greenland, is the U.S. Armed Forces' northern-most installation, and serves to provide missile warning, space surveillance and space control for Air Force Space Command.

With no gas station or convenience store around the corner for supplies, Airmen at Thule rely on members of the 305th Air Mobility Wing to deliver everything they need for their year-long tour there.

"It's totally remote, 700 miles above the arctic circle," said Suzy West, Greenland Contracting logistics manager. "That's why the 305th is so vital; those planes are the lifeline for Thule."

The 305th AMW supplies two missions every week to replenish the necessary supplies of the air base in Greenland, including the people, who all have to pass through JB MDL, and equipment for new technology.

A contingent from the joint base is also currently deployed there to set up a new radar system that will assist aircraft landing in inclement weather.

"Deploying equipment also opened my eyes to the aerial port world, getting our system up to special handling's requirements and actually loaded onto a C-17," said Senior Airman Richard Romano, 305th Operations Support Squadron.

Airmen from the 305th AMW receive all requested materials, palletize them and load them onto the aircraft.

The 305th, working with Greenland Contracting, sends approximately two million pounds of supplies each year including food; water; construction equipment; mail; and hygiene and morale items.

"We have a weekly rations-run, which is everything that the commissary or the chow hall would have," said Tech. Sgt. Daniel Houde, 305th Aerial Port Squadron special planning operations NCO.  "Everything that you would take for granted here, we have to ship there."

If they need their allergy medicine, they're awaiting a plane headed from here to bring it to them.

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