By Tech. Sgt. Jared Marquis
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
THULE AIR BASE, Greenland — Her Majesty The Queen of Denmark Margrethe II, accompanied by the Premier of Greenland and the High Commissioner of Greenland, spent two days touring facilities here July 10-11 as part of an annual visit to Greenland.
“It’s very important for us to facilitate a visit like this,” said Col. Stuart Pettis, 821st Air Base Group commander. “As guests in their country, it allows us to enable Her Majesty to visit remote parts of Greenland, and we get to highlight the cooperation we have with our international partners.”
During her visit, Her Majesty was briefed on the mission of the 821st Air Base Group at Thule and learned about the Telemetry, Tracking and Command mission at Detachment 1, 23rd Space Operations Squadron.
“The Queen’s visit allowed us to showcase what it is we do here at Thule Air Base,” said Capt. Theodore Givler, Det. 1, 23rd SOPS commander, part of the 50th Space Wing at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. “Part of that showcase was getting to show Her Majesty what it is we do here at the Thule Tracking Station and why our position here is so critical to the space capabilities we help bring to bear. The Queen was very receptive to the briefing and we had a good discourse about what it is we do here at Detachment 1, and some of the new equipment we are bringing online.”
The goal was to highlight the cooperation between Thule and the surrounding community. The facilities here not only serve the U.S. military and scientific communities, but also the remote communities near Thule.
“We wanted to show our military missions, but also what encapsulates our partnerships,” Pettis said. “The hospital serves us as well as the Danish and Greenlandic communities and assists in medical emergencies in some of the remote areas. Our airfield doesn’t just support military flights, but also Air Greenland flights.”
The Queen was also updated on the research conducted by the National Science Foundation, to include bird migration patterns, and the effects of climate change, while staff members from the Danish National Museum gave presentations about ongoing archaeological studies.
“The whole base enables a lot of research that goes on, everything from archaeology to studies in climate change, wildlife and the high arctic,” he said. “As a matter of fact, as a Cambridge educated archaeologist, Her Majesty funded a lot of the work that goes on here, so it was great for Her Majesty to get feedback.”
Pettis said it was also a chance for the Airmen to interact with royalty of a kingdom.
“This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael Ferguson, 821st ABG safety and assistant to the Danish Liaison Officer for the queen’s visit. “I’m glad I got to play such a big role for the visit.”
Pettis said the behind-the-scenes work is really what made the visit successful.
“This was an amazing visit,” he said. “It was really a great example of folks pulling together from all sides, including the many people working in the background, to make this visit happen.”