NARSARSSUAK, BW-1 GREENLAND 1952-3 U.S.A.F. Transmitter Site Camp Corbett area. ---Art Bissell
Art Bissell age 21 lead technician at Camp Corbett the remote transmitter site for low frequency r.f. radio teletype ground wave communication through Iceland to England, high frequency voice comm. using ionosphere reflection, control tower transmitters and low frequency homing beacon for aircraft.
Clean, healthy, temperate environment was a surprise. Latitude just a little north of England and warm ocean currents. Somewhat like home state Rocky mountains treeline terrain, but at sea level and also with strong downslope warming winds. Our contacts with the local residents were sporadic, unplanned and accidental, since Air Force policy discouraged contacts to protect against imported disease infections to a population with low resistance. The naturally sterile environment also caused a loss of resistance to visitors in about 6 months.
Duty here was to maintain a wide variety electrical and mechanical equipment. Much was old but functionally reliable so there was time to explore interesting shoreline, glacier, lakes, farms, and use a dangerous little rowboat I built from F84 wing tip tank halves on the fjord.
Photos mainly show this off duty activity. Personal contacts with citizens were discouraged by Denmark and USAF, but they wanted to trade art work and furs for cigarettes. We interfaced for them to hospital and others at the base only a few times. We got nice foods that did not always appear at mess hail from Denmark. 24 carton boxes of cigarettes were $24. Used for trade not smoke. Kind of squalid living conditions but free of any outside interference and fine for me. A visiting General was appalled, but his demands for improvement were agreeably ignored. Two new buildings were built but not occupied before I left.
Photography was a popular hobby. PX had expensive German cameras cheap. I bought both Contax and Leica for resale in U.S. and used a Ziess Contessa 35. From the dump I got platinum grids from big transmitter tubes for U.S. sale.
Mail was important. Generally relatives. Sent film to parents who got it processed. Wrote to an 18 yr old Newfie school teacher I was briefly friendly with while waiting more than a week for C54 transport to Greenland. Her first year she had 60 students 6-16 yrs. For $60. a month. One room near Bona Vista Bay. Her correspondence to me quickly stopped, but continued for years with my school teacher aunt.
It was a healthy active low pressure year given up Sept. 53 for the more regimented Offutt AFB briefly before tdy to S. Pacific H bomb tests. Was transmitter tech there on Eniwetok. So quickly went from free clean and healthy to a little island prison with hot moldy tent.
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