NATO BASE Keflavik Iceland,

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NATO BASE KEFLAVIK AIRPORT
BASE HISTORY
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The 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 to Europe.

Following World War II, all military personnel were withdrawn from the country as specified in the original agreement.

Another agreement signed between the United States and Iceland in 1946, permitted the continued presence of the occupation forces in Iceland.

The United States provided all the maintenance and operation of the airport through an American civilian contractor.

Iceland's 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.

Icelandic 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 Defence Force.

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 deterrence.

NAS Keflavik was the host Command for the NATO Base in Iceland.

The base was located on the Reykjanes peninsula on the southwest portion of the island.

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 Naval Operations.

Quite a few Icelandic civilians were working in close coordination with duty members.

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.


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