by 821st Support Squadron
821st Air Base Group
THULE AIR BASE, Greenland — It was a lovely 47 degrees and sunny Aug. 23 at Thule Air Base in Greenland, where during the winter months experience complete darkness.
Following a commander’s call, 33 Airmen from the 821st Support Squadron rallied at the base of Thule landmark, Mount Dundas, to make the climb to the top. It was the first of monthly squadron team-building events.
“I’m extremely proud of the squadron,” said Maj. Travis Leighton, 821st Support Squadron commander. “I know a lot of folks were pushing their physical and mental limits in order to make it to the top and it was awesome to see fellow Airmen encouraging each other to make it all the way. I can’t wait for next month’s event.”
Master Sgt. Petra Wright, 821st Military Personnel Support superintendent, planned the event. She had made the trek once before, she said. Climbing the 724-foot mountain is a typical recreational event for the squadron during the summer months. Greenland covers nearly 840,000 square miles; more than 80 percent is covered either by the ice cap or smaller glaciers.
Thule Air Base is home to one part of the 21st Space Wing’s global network of sensors providing critical, real-time warning of ICBM and SLBM attacks against North America, and detects, tracks and identifies earth-orbiting objects in support of USSTRATCOM’s space control mission. It is located about 700 miles north of the Arctic Circle and is referred to as “the cold desert.”
It took Airmen about an hour to make it to the summit of Mount Dundas. In the final 50 feet of the climb, Airmen had to use a fixed rope and go up single file. At the top, the squadron soaked in the scenery overlooking the bay and explored the area. There is only a brief period each year in the summer when the sea ice thins enough for supply ships to get to the base. The bay will be frozen again by mid-October.
“This was a way to build camaraderie, see Thule and get some exercise,” Sergeant Wright said. “I’m glad the squadron enjoyed it.”
In keeping with tradition, Sergeant Wright wrote her name on a rock that she carried from the bottom and placed it in a pile that marks all of those who have braved the Mount Dundas climb.