100 Hawks for China

PBY Catalina at Bluie West One
PBY Catalina amphibious patrol bomber on the steel-mat runway at Bluie West One, with Quonset huts in the background, in 1943 or 1944.



Cover of BW-1 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, more or less. He is now 92 and would like to contact anyone who served with him. If you remember Sgt Nye, kindly send him an email through me. Update: Success! I was delighted to pass on this message from Jim Buell: "I was a member of the 51st Air Rescue Squadron and worked in the orderly room with M/Sgt Nye during part of 1954.... Would you please my regards to M/Sgt Nye with hopes he is doing well." It was my pleasure, and blue skies to both of you! -- Dan Ford

Layout of Bluie West One
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.