Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Keflavik Moves On

A couple of days ago, the last part of the US military base at Keflavik on Iceland was closed down.

It's a historic move showing the new times we are living in.

For close to a generation, Keflavik was the by far most important military installation in northern Europe. It was the linchpin of Atlantic and Northern security during the cold decades of the Cold War.

Operated primarily by the US Navy, the mission centered on the runways, command and control as well as intelligence facilities at and around Keflavik was to prevent any Soviet naval break-throughs towards the Atlantic supply lines connecting the United States and Western Europe, as well as facilitating Western movements up towards the northern parts of the Atlantic.

From here, important parts of the vast sub-surface and air patrol system that sought to track Soviet nuclear submarines as they exited their base areas up on the Kola peninsula or beyond and heading towards the Denmark Strait between Iceland and Greenland were run.

In addition, there were the aircrafts for the air defence of Iceland and the very large radar stations on northern and eastern parts of Iceland.

It was no coincidence that one of the books trying to look into how a possible Soviet surprise attack against the West would look started with a very cleverly executed raid against Keflavik. It was the key installation.

But no it's all gone. Left are empty hangars and large living quarters for the thousands of soldiers and families that were stationed there.

It's a new world.