The 61st Troop Carrier Squadron airlifted 127,985 tons of cargo during 1959, including huge "I" beams which were used to elevate the DYE site buildings above the snow. In this photograph, the "Big I's" have already been driven into the ice in preparation for the composite buildings to be constructed on top. (Photo by Bill Bless. 1959)





After extensive studies in late 1957, the USAF selected sites for two radar stations on the ice cap in southern Greenland. DYE II was to be built approximately 100 miles east of Sondrestrom AB and 90 miles south of the Arctic Circle at an altitude of 7, 600 feet, and DYE III was to be located approximately 100 miles east of DYE II and slightly south at an elevation of 8,600 feet.

The selected locations for the new radar sites were found to receive from three to four feet of snow fall each year. Since the winds were constantly blowing, this snow accumulation constantly formed large drifts. To overcome this potential problem, it was decided that the DYE sites should be elevated approximately twenty feet above the surface of the ice cap.


Eight huge "I" beams along with two 350-ton hydraulic jacks per column were used to lift the site above the snow. These jacks were designed to level the building whenever it became necessary due to different rates of settlement between the beams. The "big eyes" were 40 feet long by 4 feet wide by 5 feet high and weighed fifteen tons each. (Excerpt....Cloe)



Photo courtesy of Bill Bless


Bill Bless, who became a Firebird pilot when the 17th TCS at Dyess AFB received the "D" models, was assigned to the 50th TCS and was "loaned" to the 61st during the project to build the DYE sites. The buildings are Jamesway Huts, which are constructed with two inches of insulation and a fabric cover. According to reliable sources, these residences for construction workers were abandoned and over the years were covered with snow




This early photograph of a DYE site shows the radar dome having an amber tint. In later photographs, the radar domes appear white. It seems that changes must have been made between 1959 and 1963.


Photo by Bill Bless



Cloe, John H., "C-130D Support of the Greenland Ice Cap Dye Sites," 1931st Communications Group, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, January 1978.