PBY Catalina amphibious patrol bomber on the steel-mat runway at
Bluie West One, with Quonset huts in the background, in 1943 or 1944.
REMEMBERING BLUIE WEST ONE
BW-1 was a U.S. Army airfield from 1941 to 1947, and as
Narsarsuaq Airbase a U.S. Air Force installation from 1947 to 1958,
when it was turned over to the Danish government of Greenland.
I was enchanted by the name (why One? why West? and above all,
why Bluie?) from the day I first heard it. So in August 2005
I flew to Reykjavik in Iceland, thence to Narsarsuaq in
Greenland, to investigate the place for myself. This is
what I found out.
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Brayton Nye served as
First Sergeant in the USAF at Narsarsuak in 1953-55.
A couple years ago he asked if anyone who knew him at BW-1 to get in touch,
and I was able to pass one such message. More recently, I got an email from
the daughter of another airman
who'd known M/Sgt Nye in Greenland, and who was "beyond excited" to learn
that he might still be in ciculation. His daughter managed to find M/Sgt
Nye's phone number, so her dad did have a chat with Mrs Nye. Alas, Brayton
Nye died last August at the noble age of 94. Blue skies to him, and all
the men who served our country in so many strange and wonderful places.
— Daniel Ford
Here is Bluie West One at the height of its powers, with the
east-west runway now hard-surfaced, a secondary runway at an
angle to it, and a full quota of buildings. Not visible is
Hospital Valley, off the top of the photo beyond the the
end of Runway 27. This photo would have been taken about 1950.