Army Base in Iceland

Iceland Army Bases

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NAS Keflavik, Iceland


Location: NAS Keflavik, Iceland is located on the Reykjanes peninsula on the south-west portion of the island.

Major Commands: Naval Air Station Keflavik and the 85th Group.

Geographically Separated Units: Grindavik & Embassy

Population assigned-served: Base Residents
Active Duty: approximately 2000 *
Family Members: approximately 2200 *
Retirees: N/A
Civilian Employees: approximately 100 (DOD/Contracted)


ICELAND: AN IMPORTANT NATO MEMBER The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was established in 1949 with 12 founding nations. They were: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, United kingdom, and the United States of America. Since then, four others have joined. They are: Germany, Greece, Spain, and Turkey. The organization is more than 45 years old, and despite the many changes in the world during the past few years, it is still looked upon by many countries as the cornerstone peace organization for what is known as the "new world order," and the many uncertainties it holds. The NATO Secretary General stated in July 1991 that NATO can be directly credited with bringing an end to the "Cold War," and it is just as important for world stability as it ever was. "The world looks to us for the future," he said. The original charter formed a framework for broad-based cooperation among its members through military alliance, in addition to continuous cooperation and consultation in political, economic, and other non-military areas. Iceland is an important member of NATO. Located strategically in the North Atlantic, it has been key in keeping the sea and air lines of communication open between North America and Europe for more than 50 years. The importance of Iceland continues to be underscored. It is essential for any European buildup or contingency operation where United States or NATO forces must move large amounts of troops and supplies. Iceland provides an effective base for maritime patrol aircraft from the United States and its NATO allies, in addition to supporting essential communications and fighter aircraft operations.

ICELAND DEFENSE FORCE: YESTERDAY The first U.S. Military involvement in Iceland dates back to 1941, when Marines arrived after an agreement between the governments of Iceland, Great Britain and the United States. The forces were replacements for the British garrison that was stationed in Iceland after the British occupation in May of the previous year. In addition to their defense role, U.S. forces constructed the Keflavik Airport as a refueling 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 continued use of the Keflavik Airport for flights in support of occupation forces in Europe. The United States provided all the maintenance and operation of the airport through an American civilian contractor. Iceland's charter membership in NATO in 1949 required neither the establishment of an Icelandic armed force, nor the stationing of foreign troops in the country during peacetime. However, the Cold War with the Soviet Union and growing world tensions caused Iceland's leaders to think otherwise. Icelandic officials decided that membership in the NATO alliance was not a sufficient defense and, at the request of NATO, entered into a defense agreement with the United States. This was the beginning of the Iceland Defense Force. During the past four decades, the Defense Force was "at the front" of the Cold War and was credited with playing a significant role in deterrence.

ICELAND DEFENSE FORCE: TODAY The mission of the Iceland Defense Force remains primarily the same as it has since 1951: meet the defense needs of Iceland. Today the Iceland Defense Force is composed of approximately 2000 members of all four branches of the armed services. The make-up of the force has shifted greatly from being all male, and with few families. Today there are many female service members and about 2200 family members. The Iceland Defense Force is commanded by a U.S. rear admiral, who is also responsible for three other commands. They are: Commander, Fleet Air Keflavik; Iceland Sector Anti-Submarine Warfare Group (CTG84.1); and Island Commander Iceland (NATO). The overall responsibility for operations in Iceland rests with the Commander, Iceland Defense Force. As a subunified command responsible to the U.S. Atlantic Command (USACOM), the commander and his relatively small joint service staff are responsible for actions taken in compliance with inter-governmental agreements and for conducting all joint planning matters affecting the defense of Iceland.

"JOINTNESS: A WAY OF LIFE; A MODEL FOR ALL SERVICES" There are more than 25 different commands of various sizes and personnel from the Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Army in Iceland. Also present are representatives from Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, and Denmark. One of the largest commands is Naval Air Station (NAS) Keflavik, which is responsible for providing all support facilities, including the runways, housing, supply and recreational facilities to name a few. NAS Keflavik employs approximately 900 Icelandic civilians who work with military personnel to provide the services necessary to operate the base. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, the airfield is available for maritime patrol activities, air defense and for transiting aircraft between North America and Europe, in addition to supporting Iceland's international civilian aviation.

NAVY OPERATION "FROM THE SEA" -ASW CAPITAL OF THE WORLD Fleet Air Keflavik is the senior Navy command in the country. It is responsible for the operational readiness of Navy units assigned and exercise administrative authority over NAS Keflavik. It also coordinates maritime patrol operations of Patrol Squadron Keflavik, a squadron of P-3 Orion aircraft on a six month deployment from the U.S. Increased international operations with NATO allies continues to flourish in the area of maritime patrol. Allied aircrews and aircraft routinely operate with U.S. Navy forces from NAS Keflavik. The Netherlands Royal Navy has had an Orion permanently assigned here since 1985.

85TH GROUP (U.S. AIR FORCE) The 85th Group is the U.S. Air Force component in Iceland. A one-of-a-kind group, the 85th is a tenant organization at Keflavik consisting of seven squadrons and 13 staff agencies. For administrative purposes, the 85th Group reports to the Eighth Air Force, a component of Air Combat Command (ACC). Operationally, the group is assigned to the Iceland Defense Force (IDF) as part of Island Command Iceland. The 85th Group is responsible for deterring aggression in the North Atlantic and protecting Iceland's airspace. It also supports contingency operations through surveillance, air superiority and rescue forces. Air superiority was provided by the 57th Fighter Squadron, an element of the 85th, from November 1954 until it was inactivated in March 1995. Today, the vital air defense mission is carried out by F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft of deployed temporary duty units rotating every 90 days to Iceland. While deployed to Keflavik, the F-15s are under the operational control of the 85th Operations Squadron (OS). Additionally, the 85th OS's Tanker Flight overseas the operations of deployed KC-135 Stratotanker and HC 130 Hercules refueling aircraft. Using four ground-based radars and occasionally AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft, the 85th Group's 932nd Air Control Squadron provides air surveillance of Iceland and the North Atlantic, referred to as the Military Air Defense Identification Zone (MADIZ). The 56th Rescue Squadron performs the rescue function for the 85th Group. Using HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters, the 56th is responsible for combat rescue and reaction force response through insertion, extraction, and recovery of NATO combatants. Also known as "The Northern Lifesavers," the 56th provides continuous peacetime alert with long-range rescue capability for an area encompassing more than one million square miles and extending to the North Pole. More than 290 lives have been saved since 1971 by the 56th and its predecessor, Detachment 14, 67th Aerospace and Recovery Squadron.

ARMY ICELAND: GROUND DEFENSE OF ICELAND The ground defense of Iceland is the Responsibility of the U.S. Army Iceland (ARICE), the Army component of the Iceland Defense force which consists entirely of reserve components from the United States. ARICE would deploy, if required, augmenting initial ground defense personnel at the base who come from Marine, Navy, and Air Force security units.


ICELAND DEFENSE FORCE IDF HEADQUARTERS STAFF: A joint service staff comprised of Navy, Air Force, and Army personnel involved with operations, logistics, plans, intelligence, communications, administration, staff judge advocate, provost marshal and public affairs support for the Commander. Includes British, Dutch, Danish, and Norwegian liaison officers.

FLEET AIR KEFLAVIK-NAVY ICELAND FLEET AIR KEFLAVIK (CFK): Senior Navy Command; operational commander for all Navy operations and anti-submarine warfare operations. Includes a Canadian exchange officer. NAVAL AIR STATION (NAS) KEFLAVIK: Responsible for all airfield operations, support services, facilities and housing. PATROL SQUADRON (PATRON) KEFLAVIK: U.S. Navy Maritime patrol squadron on a six-month deployment to Iceland with P-3C Orion aircraft from homeports in the United States. NAVAL HOSPITAL KEFLAVIK: Provides a wide range of outpatient care. Sixteen beds and four cribs available for inpatient care; maternity, surgery, radiology, laboratory and clinical psychology services available. BRANCH DENTAL CLINIC KEFLAVIK: Provides a wide range of dental care for active duty service members and their families. NORTH ATLANTIC METEOROLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY DETACHMENT KEFLAVIK: Provides weather information and support for assigned operational units and transient aircrews. NAVAL COMPUTER AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS STATION (NCTS) KEFLAVIK: Provides electronic message, data and voice communications support for all units assigned to Iceland. MARINE CORPS SECURITY FORCE COMPANY: Provides security for controlled areas. NAVY EXCHANGE: Operates a main retail store, furniture store, mini-mart, video rental, barber shop, flower shop, temporary lodging facility (Navy Lodge), recycling operation, personalized services, and Wendy's restaurant. FLEET IMAGING CENTER ATLANTIC OCEANA DETACHMENT KEFLAVIK: Provides photographic support services (color and black and white film processing and printing, color slides, portraits0 for operational units and others as feasible. NAVAL MEDIA CENTER BROADCASTING DETACHMENT KEFLAVIK: Operates cable television and radio services in support of command information and entertainment. Part of the worldwide Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS). NAVAL CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE SERVICE (NCIS) RESIDENT AGENCY: Assists in the handling of criminal investigations. RESIDENT OFFICER IN CHARGE OF CONSTRUCTION(ROICC): Facilitates the management of construction projects in Iceland.

85TH GROUP-U.S. AIR FORCE HEADQUARTERS, 85TH GROUP (GP): The U.S. Air Force component in Iceland. Responsible for protecting Iceland's airspace and supporting contingency operations through surveillance, air superiority and rescue forces. The 85th Group consists of seven squadrons and 13 staff agencies; chaplain, comptroller, exercises and plans, group surgeon, historian, inspector general, joint command post, quality assurance, quality improvement, safety, social actions, staff judge advocate and standardization and evaluation. 56TH RESCUE SQUADRON (56TH RQS): Conducts North Atlantic Theater combat rescue and reaction force response with four HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters through insertion, extraction, and recovery of NATO combatants. Provides continuous peacetime alert with long range rescue capability for CINCUSACOM and Iceland Defense Force, providing coverage for an area encompassing more than one million square miles and extending from Iceland to the North Pole. 85TH CIVIL ENGINEER SQUADRON (85TH CES): Provides overall mission support, integration and services support for all 85th Group units in liaison with the host-Navy installation in areas of construction, facilities maintenance, disaster preparedness, food services, mortuary affairs, honor guard and cycle ergometry. Supports 680 personnel, six dormitories and 124 facilities. Operates a dining facility and a structural maintenance and repair team. 85TH LOGISTICS SQUADRON (85THLS): Provides combat capable F-15C/D, HH-60, HC-130, and KC-135 aircraft intermediate support through reliable, customer-oriented logistics to include transportation, supply, passenger services, aircraft maintenance, munitions and contingency planning for the 85th Group, TDY units and NATO community. 85TH MISSION SUPPORT SQUADRON (85TH MSS): Provides direct support to more than 675 Air Force personnel and their family members in the areas of military personnel, information management, education and training, communications-computer systems, Suggestion Program and group staff agencies. 85TH OPERATIONS SQUADRON (85TH OS): Air arm of the Iceland Defense Force and sole provider of Iceland's air sovereignty. Executes USACOM tasking for rotational F-15, KC-135, and HC-130 assets. Provides operational control, intelligence, total force management and maintenance of all U.S. Air Force combat aircraft in Iceland. Provides all aerospace intelligence to IDF. Maintains organizational infrastructure and assets for U.S. Air Force contingency operations. 85TH SECURITY POLICE SQUADRON (85TH SPS): Provides security for F-15, HH-60 and tanker aircraft assets; transient aircraft; selected NATO aircraft; and the Iceland Region Operations Control Center. Administers information security, personnel security, resource protection and anti-terrorism programs for the 85th Group. Integrates into the Ground Defense Battalion to provide protection for the NATO base, flying units and a remote air defense site. 932ND AIR CONTROL SQUADRON (932ND ACS): Responsible for the detection and identification of all aircraft within the Iceland Military Air Defense Identification Zone. Controls and coordinates the employment of assigned air defense forces to include fighter, tanker, and air/ground surveillance systems. Coordinates with USACOM, NORAD and NATO command and control units and reports unidentified air traffic to the NCA. OTHER AIR FORCE ARMED FORCES BROADCASTING SERVICE, DETACHMENT 5: Administrative title of the command to which Air Force personnel attached to Naval Media Center Broadcasting Detachment keflavik are assigned. Headquarterd at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas.

OTHER UNITS AND ORGANIZATIONS NATO SATELLITE GROUND TERMINAL F-15: A NATO-funded facility that provides communications support. DEFENSE REUTILIZATION AND MARKETING OFFICE (DRMO): Facilitates the redistribution and sale of government property. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE DEPENDENTS SCHOOL (DODDS): Operates two schools from Kindergarten through 12th grade. DEFENSE COMMISSARY AGENCY (DECA): Operates the commissary for the sale of food to authorized customers. ROYAL NETHERLANDS NAVY DETACHMENT: Since 1985, the Royal Netherlands Navy has operated a P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft from Keflavik on a permanent basis. The crew operates under Commander, Fleet Air Keflavik direction for anti-submarine surface search.

Telephone Access:
From the States Commercial: 011-354-425-xxxx
DSN: 450-xxxx
ALL NUMBERS LISTED ARE LAST FOUR DIGITS, unless otherwise specified.

From the States, you must dial the complete phone number. There are some official phone lines that can only be reached using DSN. Please note that all on base phones can receive DSN calls.

Telephone Access: On the Base On base callers must only dial the last four digits.

Telephone Access: Off base From Reykjavik; dial 425-xxxx From Keflavik; dial 425-xxxx


874 AD Iceland was settled by Ingolfur Arnarson, a Norwegian Viking, who was the first permanent settler to arrive in Reykjavik.

930 AD The Althing assembly was established.

1000 Christianity was adopted as the new religion. Leifur "The Lucky" Eriksson discovers the North America continent and calls it "Vinland".

1120 - 1230 Is known as the Age of Writing as there was a tremendous amount of literary activity and the "Saga" are written in the vernacular.

1262 Norwegian King came into power, end of the Age of Sturlung.

1380 Danish King conquered Norway and assumed control of Iceland.

1783 - 1785 The catastrophic Lakagigar eruption and earthquakes.

1786 Reykjavik obtains it's town status with a population of 200.

1843 The Althing is re-established as a consultative body with Jon Sugurdsson leading the way for greater autonomy.

1874 Millennium celebration of the settlement. The King of Denmark visits for the first time, there is a new Icelandic constitution written.

1904 Home rule over Denmark

1911 University of Iceland was founded.

1918 Iceland was considered to be in a State of Union with Denmark.

1930 Millennium of the Althing celebrated.

1940 British troops occupy Iceland.

1941 U.S. troops take over the defense needs of Iceland and a policy of permanent neutrality abandoned.

1944 The Republic of Iceland was founded at Thingvellir on June 17th.

1945 First international flight by an Icelandic aircraft.

1946 Iceland joined the United Nations.

1949 One of the 12 Founding members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The original charter formed a framework for broad base cooperation among it's members through military alliance, in addition to continuous cooperation and consultation in political, economic and other non-military areas.

1972 Fishery limits extended to a 50 mile mark.

1973 Volcanic eruption on Heimaey in the Westman Islands.

1974 Ring road around the Island completed.

1975 Fishery limits extended to 200 miles, Cod war with Britain.

1980 Vigdis Finnbogadottir becomes the first woman ever to be democratically elected President of a Republic. Re-elected in 1984, 1988, and 1992.

1986 Reagan-Gorbachev Summit Meeting held at the Hofdi House in Reykjavik.