Air Force Bases

Keflavik Airport, Iceland

Location: Located 5 miles southwest of Keflavik, about 35 miles southwest of Reykjavik, Iceland.

Origin of current name: Named after a town in Iceland.

Date current name was assigned to base: October 25, 1946

Previous Names: Reykjavik Adrm, 6 Aug 1941 (U.S. occupation); Meeks Fld, c. Jul 1942.

Date Established: March 1, 1943

Date Occupied: March 24, 1943

Construction Began: July 2, 1942

Base Units: 824th Engrg Bn, Avn, Feb 1942; 14th Det, North Atlantic Wg, Air Trpt Comd, 28 Aug 1943 (rdsgd Stn 14, North Atlantic Wg, Air Trpt Comd, 18 Oct 1943); 1386th AAF BU, 1 Aug 1944; OL 53, 1100th AAF BU, 25 Mar-7 Apr 1947. 1400th AB Gp, 23 May 1951; Iceland AD Force, 15 Jan 1954 (rdsgd Air Forces Iceland, 1 Jan 1960)

Changes in Capability: First runway completed Sep 1942; runway, control tower, and first hangar became operational MarĂ³May 1943; all major construction, including four 6,500-ft runways, completed Jul 1943; field served as refueling stopover for two-and four-engine aircraft on flights between U.S. and U.K. during 1943; base also became transit point for aircraft returning from the European Theater of Operations to the United States; runways lengthened slightly following World War II; U.S. flying operations phased down in preparation for transfer of the base to the Icelandic government at the end of 1946; the Office of Foreign Liquidation Commissioner, established on 16 Feb 1947, assisted in disposing of noncritical surplus equipment and supplies; all U.S. air activity ended on 11 Mar 1947; American Overseas Airlines, followed by Airport Overseas Corporation personnel, operated the military portion of Keflavik Fld after its reversion to Icelandic control at the end of Mar 1947; operation of Keflavik Aprt assumed by Military Air Transport Service (MATS) following signing of a defense agreement between the United States and Iceland in May 1951; general rehabilitation project, chiefly construction of barracks, completed mid-1952; despite 50-plus knot winds, field served as refueling station along the Great Arctic Circle route starting 1953; main runway extended to 10,000 ft, taxiways completed, and aprons extended 1954; concrete surfaces upgraded, additional hangars constructed to accommodate an F-89 squadron, and two air rescue squadrons and TAC and SAC transient aircraft accommodated, 1955-1956; hangar, dormitories, operations building, and underground POL tanks accepted by USAF 1956-1957; retrenchment of USAF operations, including the reduction of F-89 and elimination of F-102 and SAC (tenant) activities occurred in 1959-1960; USAF assigned field to USN, which named it U.S. Naval Station Keflavik, although Keflavik Aprt remained a tenant USAF activity with one fighter-interceptor and two aircraft warning squadrons, on 1 Jul 1961; Keflavik Aprt supported the air defense interception and identification of non-NATO aircraft, mostly Soviet long-range bombers, that penetrated Iceland's military air defense identification zone after 1 Jul 1961; operation of the air terminal and hotel turned over to Icelandic Civil Aeronautics Administration and the Loftleidir Icelandic Airlines, 15 May 1962; major plumbing and electrical lines repaired, flight-line maintenance facilities and all roadways rebuilt, runway arresting barriers and night visibility markers installed, 1962-1965; airmen's dormitories and operations building renovated, and new dining hall constructed, 1966-1967; runways and major surfaced areas repaired, seven Butler-type aircraft ready shelters and an addition to base power plant built, runway approach lights for runway 21 and a BAK-12 aircraft arrester system installed, 1974-1975; extensive maintenance and repair of surfaced areas, 1976-1978; maintenance and repair of igloos at Patterson ramp completed, hangar 884 renovated, and flammable and munitions storage facilities constructed, 1979-1981.

Changes in Status: Returned to Iceland on 7 Apr 1947; returned to joint Icelandic-USAF control, 23 May 1951. Air Forces Iceland changed from host to tenant status on 1 Jul 1961, when the U.S. Navy gained jurisdiction; the installation was renamed U.S. Naval Station Keflavik, and Keflavik Airport became one of its tenants.

Base was Decommissioned on June 28, 2006