Goose Bay, Labrador

1997 - General History - The NBC Group

Goose Bay, affectionately known as "The Goose", had been a vitally important strategic stepping stone for aircraft enroute overseas during World War II. Tens of thousands of aircraft had passed through it going overseas. A large number stopped off at Goose Bay on the way home at war's end. The Americans remained at Goose Bay after the war.

Construction of Melville Air Force Station (Site N-24) began in July 1951. It was finished in November 1954. The unit which was perched atop a prominent hill six miles northwest of the airfield, was a totally self contained facility with fire/rescue, messes, quarters and even a bowling alley. The USAF's 641st AC&W Squadron (callsign Capable), part of Pepperrell AFB, St. John's, Newfoundland based 64th Air Division (Defense), took up residence the same month. NEAC was deactivated 1 April 1957 and replaced by the 64th Air Division; however, all NEAC assets were split up between Strategic Air Command and Air Defence Command (USAF). ADC (USAF) took over the USAF Air Defense Forces including the 64th Air Division of which the 641st AC&W Squadron was a part, and Strategic Air Command took over control of Goose Bay Air Base.

RCAF Station Goose Bay gave way to unification in 1967 and became a Canadian Forces Base. CFB Goose Bay was soon relegated to station status. On 1 September 1970, a group of 30 Canadian Forces personnel were posted to Goose Bay, where they ran the Manual NORAD Control Centre (MNCC). The USAF Commander of the 641st AC&W Squadron handed the MNCC over to the commanding officer of CFS Goose Bay in July 1971. It became site C-24, and integrated into Canadian Forces Air Defence Command. Melville Long Range Radar was now a lodger unit of CFS Goose Bay. After all the years as a manually operated site, Melville Radar, as it was better known by, was finally SAGE-capable in 1976. This automation considerably reduced the number of personnel assigned to the site. In August 1984, Melville Radar was brought into the Canada East ROCC. In 1985 the radar station acted as a tactical control agency in a series of low level flying proof of concept flights with NATO allies. In February 1988, the closure of Melville Radar was announced. The reason given was that the station was redundant with the North Warning System site, located at Cartwright, coming on line. The radar site ceased operations in July 1988.

--The NBC Group - Don Nicks, John Bradley, Chris Charland.