OPERATION ICE CAP
Operation "Ice Cap," so called by men of AACs's 17th Troop Carrier Squadron, the resupply of fuel to radar sites on the Greenland Ice Cap is now in progress. Alaskan Air Command C-130 "Hercules" aircraft are delivering over 5 million pounds of fuel to the two sites and expect to complete the job by June 8. They will fly 410 sorties, delivering 205 loads of fuel weighing about 25,100 lbs. each before the job is completed.
This tremendous task is being performed using only five aircraft, with crews rotating from Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, to Sondrestrom AB, Greenland on a bi-weekly basis. The fuel is hauled in huge rubber bladders, filled from giant underground tanks at Sondrestrom. The Sondrestrom tanks are then re-filled by ocean-going tankers as soon as the ice is broken up enough to permit passage up the Sondrestrom Fjord.
Landing and take-off at the dye sites is accomplished on huge skis weighing about 6,000 pounds and coated with Teflon. Landing in not much of a problem, but take-offs are often difficult due to sunlight causing the snow to be sticky. At times the use of JATO (Jet Assisted Take Off) bottles is necessary to get the 75,000 pound empty aircraft off the ground (Editors note - off the snow). DYE No. 2 and DYE No. 3 the two sites supplied are part of the DEW (Distant Early Warning) radar net that helps to provide early detection of possible enemy aircraft headed for North American targets. These two outposts perched on the bleak expanses of the Greenland Ice Cap, are accessible only by air. In addition to fuel, the 17th Troop Carrier Squadron must also haul in every other item used by the sites.
Newspaper Article circa mid 1960s.
Donavon G. "Don" Wilkerson
17th TCS Pilot