Loran Equipment Banner

LORAN STATION CAPE ATHOLL

076 18 56.62 N 69 21 21.03 W

Fact Sheet

Site Survey: Summer 1952

Construction Date Started: 1953 Completed: 1954

Constructed by:


Established: 1954

Disestablished: JUL 1975

Operated by: USCG - 1954 - AUG 1972
Danish - AUG 1972 - JUL 1975* See Miscellaneous.

Chain:


Station Letter designation:


Station code name: DOPE I

Station Unit Number: 1954 - APO 23

Radio Call Sign:


Station aka:


On-air testing date: 1954

Operational date: 8 NOV 1954 

Operations Ceased: 302400Z JUN 1975

Station Operation: Single MASTER

Station pair: 1L7, 1L0, 2S6 – CAPE CHRISTIAN

Loran Rate: 1L7, 1L0, 2S6

On-Air: 1L7 – 8 NOV 1954
1L0 – NOV 1956
2S6 -

Off-Air 1L7 – NOV 1956
1L0 –
2S6 – 302400Z JUN 1975

Monitor Rate:


Equipment:


Personnel Allowance: 1 office, 18 enlisted

Miscellaneous: 1952 - Planned to support Operation Blue Jay
*AUG 1972 - Station Operations turned over to the Danish with the exception of CO, LORAN electronics and radio
Commanding Officers /
Officers in Charge
Construction OIC: Hal Hovorka - 1954
1st CO: LT Leland C Batdorf 1954 - 1955
2nd CO: LT Willi Vogeler 1955 - 1956
3rd CO: LTJG Bob Cluett 1956 - 1957
4th CO: LTJG Tony Nevins 1957 – 1958
5th CO: LTJG Charles Glass 1958 - 1959
6th CO: LTJG Donald M Taub 1959 - 1960
7th CO: LTJG David J Meskell 1960 - 1961
8th CO: LTJG T R Klein 1961 - 1962
9th CO: LTJG Cutler 1962 - JUL 1963
10th CO: LTJG Bill Wilson JUL 1963 - AUG 1964
11th CO: LTJG Linfors AUG 1964 – JUL 1965
12th CO: LTJG Brad Traver JUL 1965 - AUG 1966
13th CO: LTJG Dave Zawadski AUG 1966
CO: LTJG David Labuda MAY 1968 – MAY 1969
CO: LTJG Harry F Schmecht MAY 1969 – MAY 1970
CO: LTJG Scheeser MAY 1970 - JUN 1971
CO: LTJG John F McGowan JUN 1971 - 1972
CO: LTJG Pablo M. Rodriguez 1972 - 1973
Last CO: LTJG Thomas H Gilmore 1974 - JUL 1975

Fred's Place Reunion Hall

Old - New

Documents:

271623Z MAR 73 - State Department Loran A Stations Closings - pdf
092327Z APR 73 - State Department Loran A Stations Closings - pdf
111419Z APR 73 - State Department Loran A Stations Closings - pdf
170056Z APR 73 - State Department Loran A Stations Closings - pdf
161851Z AUG 73 - State Department Loran A Stations Closings - pdf
241450Z AUG 73 - State Department Loran A Stations Closings - pdf

MEMORY LANE:

"During my tour we had what was billed as the first USO show since the station was commissioned. The show was "The Arkansas Lassies" who put on a wonderful song and cleared, Thule called to say they would be able to come soon to get them. The lassie's supervisor replied "Don't rush, we're having a wonderful time!"
--- CDR Bill Wilson; CO July '63 to Aug'64

Bob Cluett's, A year at the top of the world Part I

Bob Cluett's, A year at the top of the world Part II

Bob Cluett's, A year at the top of the world Part III

Thanks Bob!

1959 - 1960 Scenes at the station - contributed by Don Taub (CO)

Explanation:

Attached are several items related to my year at USCG LORAN Station, Cape Atholl, Thule District, NW Greenland  in 1959-60,....and 1994.

(1)  Map. 

(2)  Photo of CG station at Quarautit valley in Springtime.

(3)  Photo in 1994 of the remains of the station after the site was "returned to nature" in 1976;  leaving only the station's "survival building" & a shed for the use of the Eskimos hunters & travelers. 

USCGC Northland had also transplanted a small seed herd of musk oxen there & at 3 other locations north of  Cape Atholl in 1986. [ Another CG icebreaker; thought to be CGC Westwind, had landed a small seed herd of caribou in the mid-late 1960's in Olrik Fjord, north of the airbase.]

(4)  Miscellaneous photos.

Pitugfik (Petowik) Glacier just south of the CG station.

Polar Bear Hunt, late winter / early spring 1960 with Thomas Suersaq, Ere Danielsen & Jess Kujaukitsoq. [ CG station personnel did not do any hunting.  I was armed with a camera.]

Getting water from under the sea ice:  Heated water tank mounted on caterpillar trailer with its tractor (after it broke through the ice),...and 2nd bulldozer to pull them out,...thence up the hill to the station's machinery room equipped with diesel powered saltwater distillers....(1 of 2 separated machinery rooms; both with 2 of 4 diesel electric generators.).

Social hospitality with Eskimos:  boy playing pool  &  dancing with the ladies (who loved to dance !)  They were our welcome guests. As below; contact between the Eskimos & the US military in the Thule Air Base "Defense Zone" was prohibited.

Two of Bob Cluett's friends at CG Station:

    Greenlander school teacher, Ingmar Egede, with our female dog Pearl & me.  .Ingmar was  Bob's dogsledding companion & host to Kanak. .... And also my host later at Kanak.

Dr. Ingrid Givskud, MD, from Kanak..the only Danish medical doctor in the Thule District....(& with what may be Ingmar Egede).  They were also thankful for the assistance provided to local Eskimos by the CG station's hospital corpsman.

Dr. Givskud & Mr. Egede were the influential administrators at Kanak who assisted me in obtaining the USCG station's recognized exemption from the USAF-Danish-NATO  agreement's "No Contact" rules (no contact between the US military personnel at Thule AF Base & the Thule District's Eskimos; and agreed upon by the new Danish military Liaison Officer at Thule AF Base;  CDR Erik Groseth, following the helicopter death of the earlier DLO, CDR Alexander Edvars (who had lectured me about our violations)...with his Thanks & "Please Continue" to be the Eskimos' Good Neighbor.....as it likely had been, perhaps from the CG station's origin..

Don Taub

Thanks Don!

Pictures

Cape Atholl Station Location

Suspected location of Loran Station Cape Atholl

Cape Atholl circa 1955 aerial view

Located in the National Archives Washington, DC
Aerial view c./1955

These photos and comments were provided by Tom Leary (RM3 Sep 1968 to Sep 1969). 

Looking NorthWest towards station

Christmas Card picture

The photo used on the station's Christmas card c./1968

Cape Atholl aerial view from USAF ARS helicopter

Photo of the station taken from a Thule-based USAF ARS helicopter.

The station was resupplied from Thule Air Base by helo approximately once each month. In addition, two or three times during the year, USO shows were brought from Thule to perform at Cape Atholl. Usually, the USO shows were comprised of college kids who seemed to regard us as somewhat primitive due to our environment, and also probably due to our strange behavior upon seeing young attractive women.

The helicopters also provided for emergency medical evacuation, which I don't recall that we needed during my 68-69 stay. Sometimes we were fortunate enough to get a weekend "liberty" to Thule Air Base. When we did, we partied heavily at the NCO club with USAF personnel, RCA BMEWS employees and Danes.

Cape Atholl 1969 aerial view from the south

Photo was taken from atop the mountain to the south of the station, so the direction of this picture is almost south to north. Thule was located about ENE, or to the right. As I remember it was about 40 miles away.

Although we preferred traveling to Thule by helo, we did have an M-37 truck and a couple of tracked vehicles that made the trip to Thule several times during my year long stay. It was a very rough ride that took several hours and we had frequent breakdowns and weather problems to contend with.

Aside from Thule, the only contact we had was with Eskimos who stopped by the station as they travelled by the area on dog sleds. Once, in the summer, when the ocean was thawed, I remember a couple who came via a small power boat. There were still icebergs drifting by. Another time an icebreaker made a stop to resupply us. Which one it was I can't recall, but I imagine at least one CG icebreaker stopped at Thule for about a week each year and briefly at Cape Atholl Loran Station. 

Cape Atholl picture circa 1955

This photo was an official USCG photo of the station taken in 1955.
Not much change had occurred by 1968 when I arrived.

Cape Atholl eskimo visitor tending his dogs

Eskimos frequently stopped by the Loran station. This man, wearing the polar bear pants and sealskin boots was working to untangle the sealskin leads for his sled dogs. 

Cape Atholl, three eskimos stopped by on their way to a polar bear hund

The eskimos were very hearty and resourceful. These
three men were on the way to a polar bear hunt.

Eskimos on the mess deck enjoing a warm beverage

The visits of the Eskimos provided those of us at the CG station with a unique opportunity to interact with a race of people that most of the world only hears about. Several of our Eskimo visitors claimed to be descendants from early Polar explorers, including Robert Peary and Matthew Henson.

Loranimals gathering snow to make potable water

A Cape Atholl "Snow Run."  Water was made by melting snow and every week or so, the entire crew would dress up in parkas, insulated pants and bunny boots and head out to cut blocks of snow for the purpose. Snow blocks were piled into a trailer with skis that was pulled with the Thiokol. Once the trailer was filled with snow, it was pulled to the station where the snow was offloaded and handed, man to man, into the room where the evaporating equipment was located. 

Since there was limited water. Whatever was used for laundry was collected and re-used to flush the toilet after use. Showers were rationed  and limited water use was the general rule at the station. The toilet waste line was routed to a large pipe that was directed away from the station to a culvert where water ran during the summer thaw. The outflow end of pipe was elevated and during most of the year everything was frozen so there was a long icicle of waste frozen off the end of pipe. We called it a “poopcicle.”

Eskimo returns from hunt with a polar bear cub.

This Eskimo hunter stopped by the station as he returned from a polar bear hunt.  His companions had already passed through with the skin and meat from their trophy bear, and he stopped to show us the orphaned cub.  It was his intention to trade the young bear with the Danes , who would perhaps be interested in selling the cub to a European zoo.

RM3 Tom Leary and Eskimo with bear cub

This was my opportunity to be as close as any of us
would ever get to a polar bear during my time at Cape Atholl. 

Looking Southwest spring of 1969 the day that Dwight D Eisenhower died.

Early spring of 1969, the ocean still frozen. Some daylight allowed us to see beyond the immediate vicinity of the station. This picture was taken on the day we heard of the death of former President and American General Dwight D. Eisenhower. With the flag at half staff, we looked toward the south in acknowledgment that we had lost a great national leader.

Thanks Tom!

 

Station Patch, 1960s

1970s Cape Atholl Patch

Cape Atholl zippo lighter, 1961