2.   A primary mission of the 516th Troop Carrier Wing is the airborne

resupply of the DEW Line radar sites on the interior Greenland ice cap.

As an essential feature of operational continuity in the support of this

mission, this wing maintains a small detachment of maintenance support

and air crew personnel at Sondrestrom Air Base, Greenland.  From this

far northern point, the ski-equipped C-130D Hercules aircraft are

launched on their life sustaining flights to the isolated "Dye Sites".

This detachment is manned on a rotating basis from our available main-

tenance skills and air crew resources at Dyess.  Tours of this duty

normally run about three weeks in duration and consist of enough main-

tenance and supply personnel to adequately support the four C-130 air-

craft and aircrews positioned at Sondrestrom during this particular

season of the year.  Normally only two C-130's are committed to this

operation year around with the exception of the months of April, May and

June.  During this period the normal aircraft and aircrew complement is

doubled in order to take the fullest advantage of the Arctic weather

cycle.  While ideal flying weather seldom if ever prevails in the far

north, relatively speaking, it is usually at its best during this brief

ninety day period.  The surface shipping season lasts about six weeks -

from the first of July to the middle of April.  Even then icebreakers

usually have to be employed at the beginning of this season to open the

fiord leading from the ocean shipping lanes to Sondrestrom.  With both

harbor facilities and time at a premium, ocean freighters servicing the

bulk requirements of this lonely bastion have to be unloaded and cleared with all possible dispatch.  Of all the heavy materiel and bulk supplies brought-in once each year, POL products, especially diesel fuel, are probably the most critical.  They are the life-blood of both Sondrestrom and the Dye Sites.  Without adequate POL supplies, they simply could not exist.


The Dye Sites themselves are equipped with 10,000 gallon col-

lapsible storage tanks to hold their vital POL stores.  These huge cylin-

drical rubber bladders are buried in the ice and refilled once each year

during the April-May-June annual POL airlift from Sondrestrom.  Each

Dye Site possesses sufficient tankage to allow for about an 18 month

supply.  The main supplies are stored in the Sondrestrom tanks.  Pro-

fiting by experience gained since establishment of the DEW Line, a re-

supply cycle has been generated to account for all of these diverse

factors.  The POL storage capacity at Sondrestrom is not unlimited.

Weather permitting, every effort is made to resupply the Dye Sites from

the Sondrestrom tanks in April, May and June prior to arrival of the

first surface tanker.  This procedure draws the Sondrestrom tanks to

levels which allow surface tankers to pump their cargoes directly into

them on arrival.  In this manner, the harbor facilities are quickly

cleared to allow for the fullest utilization during the short summer

shipping season.  This is a tightly geared sequence of actions.  Poor

timing anywhere within this chain could spell disaster to the vital

defense posture which the DEW Line provides North America.  In the

final analysis, the success of this annual operation lies largely at

the mercy of the unpredictable Arctic weather.  The only controllable


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