first U.S. Military involvement in Iceland dates back to 1941, when
Marines arrived according to an agreement between the governments of Iceland,
Great Britain and the United States.
The US forces replaced the British garrison stationed in Iceland after
the British occupation on May 10th of the previous year.
In addition to their defence role, U.S. forces constructed the Keflavik
Airport as a refuelling point for aircraft deliveries and cargo flights
World War II, all military personnel were withdrawn from the country as
specified in the original agreement.
agreement signed between the United States and Iceland in 1946,
permitted the continued presence of the occupation forces in Iceland.
United States provided all the maintenance and operation of the airport
through an American civilian contractor.
charter membership in NATO in1949 required neither the establishment of
Icelandic armed forces nor the stationing of foreign troops in the
country during peacetime. However, the Cold War with the Soviet Union
and growing world tension caused Iceland's leaders to think otherwise.
officials decided that membership in the NATO alliance was not a
sufficient defence and, at the request of NATO, entered into a defence
agreement with the United States. This was the beginning of the Iceland
From the early fifties
to the late eighties, the Defence Force was "at the front" of
the Cold War and was credited with playing a significant role in
was the host Command for the NATO Base in Iceland.
The base was located on the Reykjanes peninsula on the southwest portion of
The major commands stationed on the base
were Naval Air Station Keflavik, the
Air Forces 85th group, Commander Fleet Air Keflavik, Commander Iceland
Defence Force, NCTS Keflavik, Naval Hospital Keflavik, and the
Marine Corp Security Force Company Keflavik.
The primary mission of the Naval Air Station Keflavik
was to maintain and
operate facilities and provide services and material to support
operations of aviation activities and units of the operating forces of
the Navy and other activities and units, as designated by the Chief of
a few Icelandic civilians were working in close coordination with duty
The USA governmet decided to abandon the base in steps
in 2006, and by autumn the evacuation was realized.
On September 30th 2006, the last remaining soldiers
left the base, and it along with all its property was handed over to
the Icelandic government. This marked the end of the presence of
armed forces in Iceland, but the agreement between USA and Iceland
from 1951 is going to be honoured without this presence according to
the spokesmen of both governments.