Goose Bay, Labrador

1997 - Additional Details - Ren L'Ecuyer

The USAF began construction of the Melville Long Range radar site along with a network of ancillary radar sites along the Labrador coast in the early 50s. These units were part of the Pinetree Line.

Melville Air Station was to become part of the 64th Air Division within the Northeast Air Command. The radar station was originally financed and manned by the USAF. Plans were announced for the reorganization of the Northeast Air Command in December 1956. These changes gave Goose Bay the added responsibility of the 920th AC&W (Resolution Island), the 922nd AC&W (Cartwright), the 923rd AC&W (Hopedale), the 924th AC&W (Saglek) and the 926th AC&W (Frobisher Bay) sites, in addition to certain early warning "Gap-Filler" stations along the Labrador coast.

On 1 September 1970, thirty Canadian Forces personnel were transferred to Goose Bay to man jointly with the USAF the manual NORAD Control Centre (MNCC) radar, and on 1 July 1971 the Canadian Forces assumed full control of the MNCC and the Melville Long Range Radar station.

The Canadian Armed Forces remained responsible for the Melville Long Range Radar station through the 70s and the 80s, but advanced technology resulted in the Pinetree Line being replaced by the North Warning System. The NWS was to include long range radar sites at Saglek and Cartwright, with ancillary radars interspersed for low level coverage. The AC&W Squadron at Melville was eventually closed on 1 July 1988 due to redundancy with the North Warning System (NWS) site located at Cartwright. The base at Goose Bay currently serves as a Logistic Support Site (LSS) for the North Warning System.

--Ren L'Ecuyer