‘Being deployed in such a remote place, I learned to appreciate moments of solitude, to be the only person around for miles, away from the hustle of the city, away from other issues, no problems, just peace and the appreciation of life and the gifts of our senses. I guess the experience of living on America’s northernmost airbase prepared me for the solitude that the pandemic has brought with it,’ MSgt B muses.
The former master sergeant, who wishes to remain anonymous, was stationed at Thule Air Base, positioned 1,524km (950 miles) from the North Pole, from 2000 to 2001 for 12 months, living through four months of complete darkness and temperatures as low as -30C.
While the austere conditions took a bit of getting used to, MSgt B says one of his most trying moments at the remote military outpost was learning about the terrorist attacks back in his home country on September 11, 2001.
An aerial view of Thule Air Base in winter, which is the United States Air Force’s northernmost base. It’s located 1,118km (695 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, and 1,524km (950 miles) south of the North Pole on the northwest side of Greenland
A photo showing 12th Space Warning Squadron’s primary missile surveillance radar, which stands 10 storeys high
The father-of-three and grandfather-of-four remembers: ‘I had just finished a workout at the little gym and was going to my office on the base when I received word of the events unfolding in the U.S.