My Fond Memories of Goose BayPatrick Lannigan — winter 2010
I have fond memories of my time in Goose Bay, Labrador. My father was in the Canadian military and we lived there from 1964 through to 1967. Because it was such an isolated air force base the military invested in good recreation facilities (a hockey rink, curling rink, and swimming pool). To give you an idea of its isolation Goose Bay, at the time, had a population of 8,900 and the nearest town, Labrador City, was 300 miles away with a population of 13,500.
Part of the marvel of being a child living in Goose Bay was the comings and goings of B-52's, British Vulcan bombers, Canadian VooDoos, etc. It made sense seeing that the very creation of Goose Bay was as a forward-attack postion in case of an all-out nuclear war.
Here's an excerpt from a declassified document ...
LETTER NO. 19
Washington, January 3rd, 1951
PROPOSED U.S. STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND PROJECTS
Reference My Letter No. 3088 of December 2, 1950.23
.......Mr. Arneson explained that the Secretary of State had received on January 2nd a formal request from the Secretary of Defense that the Canadian Government be approached at the highest political level in order to reach a general agreement to govern the deployment of the units of the U.S. Strategic Air Command, the storage of weapons including atomic weapons, the construction of facilities for their storage, and the over-flight of Canadian territory which this deployment involves. Specifically, the proposal involves the use of Harmon Airfield as well as of Goose Bay. Before the eventuality of war, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff desire to use Harmon and Goose Bay for training purposes, as well as to make necessary preparations for their use as staging bases for actual missions in wartime.
Pictures from Goose Bay
Below is a picture of the street where I lived in Goose Bay (13 Park Road I believe).
Below is a picture of military baracks with a British Vulcan bomber flying overhead (we lived in these baracks until our house was ready).
Below is a Google Maps picture of the area where we lived. Notice how close Park Drive is to the runway! Those jets blasted off most mornings and if I remember correctly there was a dish or two that ended up broken. That sandy part you see near the top was where I walked to get to the swimming pool in the summer time. Being the small kid I was at the time it felt like a huge desert area.
Below is a picture of the school I went to (Robert Leckie) when I was in Goose Bay.
Below is a arial view of Spruce Park which was where the Canadian military families lived.
Below is a picture of a KC-10 refueling a B-52 in midair. These types of operations and exercises took place all the time in Goose Bay.
Email Patrick Lannigan at lannigan at gmail dot com for more information
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