Submitted by Marvin Delong

My first tour of duty was with the 22nd Helicopter Squadron at Goose Bay, Labrador. The first six months was served at Goose Bay.

On a supply trip to Cartwright Radar Site my crew and I got caught in a terrible storm. The storm was forecast to be very bad, however, it came in earlier than forecast and caught us out on a mission. We turned the H-21 into the wind and put the heaviest bulldozer cross wise in front of the chopper. We chained the chopper to the bulldozer and tied the blade down with the usual ropes. We stayed with the helicopter as long as we could, retying the blades when the ropes broke. The ropes would break and the blade would fly up almost vertical. The blades were finally tied with three half inch ropes and that seemed to hold them in place. The storm got so bad we could not stay on the chopper pad so I thought we had done all we could. When the storm passed in a couple days we went back to the machine to check it out. The bulldozer had been pulled sideways about six inches as shown by the grooves in the pad. We checked the chopper out and found no damage from the storm and flew it back to Goose Bay without any incidents.

The last six months was spent at Frobisher Bay.


22nd HeliRon H-21B

The mission was to re-supply the radar site at the end of the bay on Resolution Island. The weather was bad most of the time so we probably averaged two trips a month. The radar site had a small landing strip so the mission was taken over by L-20 when we rotated back to Goose Bay. There were four pilots and three aircraft stationed at Frobisher Bay.

The picture of an airman standing by a tracked vehicle in winter gear is of a WWII German Fighter Pilot. He told us pilots many stories of flying during WWII. One story was that at the end of the war, the lead German aircraft had a complete set of instruments and the wingmen had only engine instruments.

WW II German fighter pilot

Another point of interest was that the water between the island and the mainland was so swift and cold that a broom stick submerged in the water would collect ice so fast that a person could not hold it. Therefore, the crews had to wear these god-awful Navy diving suits for protection during the re-supply missions. The word was "should an aircraft fall in the water while crossing the six mile strait don’t try to help them or you too will perish". One night while trying to sleep it was so cold and windy that I had on a sweat suit, a electric blanket and nine wool blankets and was still cold. Needless to say, the Frobisher Bay mission was not the top choice among Goose Bay Pilots.

Quarters at Frobisher

Polar Bear

I don’t know the history of Frobisher but it looked to be an old military base maybe from the WWII era. (Frobisher Air Base History) The buildings were old, however, complete for a small airfield. The runway was excellent and long enough for very heavy aircraft. The hangar was of the WWII design and unheated. During my tour two huge heaters were installed so the helicopters would not have to be preheated before each mission. After a short period of time someone noticed the hangar was settling into the ground. The hangar was built on permafrost so the heaters had to be shut down.

More pictures of Frobisher: (in progress)