snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Urban Legends > Military

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04 October 2007, 10:59 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 108,822
Icon13 No blacks stationed at Icelandic AFB

Comment: I came across a blog discussion regarding the US Air Force base
in Keflavik, Iceland, which was apparently closed a few years ago. People
are contending that, according to a secret protocol, accepted by the US,
no blacks were ever stationed there for decades. Is there any merit to
this claim? I haven't been able to find anything substantiated about this
issue.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 04 October 2007, 11:48 PM
A Turtle Named Mack's Avatar
A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
 
Join Date: 21 June 2007
Location: Marietta, GA
Posts: 18,182
Default

I tried googling and did not find anything right away on this. However, since the U.S. military was segregated until the early 1950s, it is very likely that there would be no black service personnel from the base's establishment in i 1940-41 until integration of the units. This would not be because of any agreement peculiar to Iceland, but just the predictable result of segregation.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04 October 2007, 11:56 PM
CannonFodder's Avatar
CannonFodder CannonFodder is offline
 
Join Date: 27 February 2004
Location: Lincoln, NE
Posts: 5,283
Default

I was stationed on NAS Keflavik from 1988 thru 1990. I can assure you there were black sailors and airmen there at the time.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05 October 2007, 12:10 AM
Malruhn Malruhn is offline
 
 
Join Date: 28 November 2003
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 7,854
Default

My father-in-law helped build the airfield there - and worked side by side with Black soldiers.

They were there in the early 1950's.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05 October 2007, 09:58 PM
hardhead hardhead is offline
 
Join Date: 26 January 2006
Location: Park Forest, IL
Posts: 209
Default

I was stationed at the Naval Air Station Keflavik in 1976 and 1977. There were African-American sailors there then. I was told during the mandatory indoctrination sessions that the Icelandic government refused to allow Blacks to even leave their ships during WWII, but that the policies where recinded in the early 50's when we integrated the armed forces.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06 October 2007, 05:20 AM
Class Bravo
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Of course I don't believe this claim for one moment. On that note, if someone were to believe this then I would have to wonder what the point would be/what benefit it would supposedly bring to have a policy against having black servicemembers at any one specific location.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06 October 2007, 05:54 AM
UEL's Avatar
UEL UEL is offline
 
Join Date: 01 August 2004
Location: Gloucester, ON
Posts: 7,007
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by CannonFodder View Post
I was stationed on NAS Keflavik from 1988 thru 1990. I can assure you there were black sailors and airmen there at the time.
During my return from the Balkans in 2001, we landed at Keflavik. There were, indeed, African American service members there.

[aside]Four damned hours at the airport and not one of us thought to bring American money. Canadian dollars and German Marks just weren't good enough.[/aside]
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06 October 2007, 12:16 PM
Spam & Cookies-mmm's Avatar
Spam & Cookies-mmm Spam & Cookies-mmm is offline
 
Join Date: 09 July 2002
Location: Northwest Florida
Posts: 12,866
Icon104

Quote:
Originally Posted by CannonFodder View Post
I was stationed on NAS Keflavik from 1988 thru 1990. I can assure you there were black sailors and airmen there at the time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malruhn View Post
My father-in-law helped build the airfield there - and worked side by side with Black soldiers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hardhead View Post
I was stationed at the Naval Air Station Keflavik in 1976 and 1977. There were African-American sailors there then.
Quote:
Originally Posted by UEL View Post
During my return from the Balkans in 2001, we landed at Keflavik. There were, indeed, African American service members there.
Of course, you'd have to say that, wouldn't you? You're all part of the conspiracy.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06 October 2007, 03:56 PM
AnglRdr's Avatar
AnglRdr AnglRdr is offline
 
Join Date: 06 June 2002
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 50,681
Default

I, too, am a part of the conspiracy. Two of the people I served with in New Hampshire had been stationed together in Keflavik. And, sure enough, one of them was Jamaican and black. This was in the early 90s though.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06 October 2007, 04:48 PM
A Turtle Named Mack's Avatar
A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
 
Join Date: 21 June 2007
Location: Marietta, GA
Posts: 18,182
Default

Okay, we have first and second hand accounts of black service members at Keflavik from the early 50s onward. Since the very early 50s was when the military integrated, it would seem that the lack of black service members in Keflavik was related to the segregation. The possibility remians that Iceland specified 'no blacks' or that the military thought that people whose ancestors came from tropical climates could not handle the weather of Iceland, but everything we have established follows the 'desegregation' explanation.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 06 October 2007, 08:14 PM
Christie Christie is offline
 
Join Date: 28 November 2001
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 30,909
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
Okay, we have first and second hand accounts of black service members at Keflavik from the early 50s onward. Since the very early 50s was when the military integrated, it would seem that the lack of black service members in Keflavik was related to the segregation. The possibility remians that Iceland specified 'no blacks' or that the military thought that people whose ancestors came from tropical climates could not handle the weather of Iceland, but everything we have established follows the 'desegregation' explanation.
Actually according to what Hardhead posted it sounds more like Iceland had the problem with African American personnel.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 02 February 2008, 01:15 AM
john h
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Comment: I came across a blog discussion regarding the US Air Force base
in Keflavik, Iceland, which was apparently closed a few years ago. People
are contending that, according to a secret protocol, accepted by the US,
no blacks were ever stationed there for decades. Is there any merit to
this claim? I haven't been able to find anything substantiated about this
issue.
I was stationed at Keflavik, Iceland with the 57th Fighter Squadron from 1954-1955. We had no Blacks stationed on the base at that time. The Icelandic's very much were in control of the base and their police patrolled the base. They could and did invade our quonset huts on occasions to insure we did not have Icelandic girls in our quarters. You could not be in town after sunset. The rumor was there was a regulation that did not allow Blacks to be stationed on the base because that is what the Icelandic government decreed. I cannot be sure but I think I may have seen a copy of such a regulation or agreement & it was marked SECRET. We had Air Force, Army, and Navy stationed on the base. To not have a single Black would have been statistically improbable. Civilian airlines and military aircraft used this base as a refueling stop so there were Blacks on board some of these aircraft. But I never saw one leave the civilian terminal in my year there. I was transferred from the 437th FIS at Otis to Iceland. My Commander at Otis AFB was Major Chappie James. He later became a 4 star general and the highest ranking Black officer in the Air Force. That was a long time ago (53 years). A lot of aircraft were lost near Iceland due to the very bad weather and ice. Most aircraft had to refuel on Atlantic crossings in those days. My fighter the F-89C had to be towed to the end of the runway on a day with good winds in order to fly to Harmon, New Foundland and you landed with fumes. While I was there the first ever commercial trans Atlantic crossing of a civilian passenger jet landed for refueling. I am thinking it was a Boeing 707. I bet everyone on the crew of that jet was approaching 60 except the stewardess as this was the senior crew for the airline.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 14 February 2008, 10:10 PM
Taken
 
Posts: n/a
Default

The source of the rumour may be that the Icelandic government (or someone in it) asked the US not to send any black soldiers, but the US refused and did so anyway. During World War 2, some officials in England, as well as in some of the governments in exile, reportedly made similar requests which were ignored.

http://www.heretical.com/smith/wwar2.html


Taken
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 04 June 2013, 07:55 PM
mikeatskyline
 
Posts: n/a
Default Iceland; Black airman and women in the Navy

I was stationed in Iceland in 1972-1973. There were a few black airman there and in fact our AFRTS representative was a black gentleman. I forget his name but he did reside in the Airman barracks on the base. There were others. The big deal while I was there was when the first female Navy personnel arrived - that was a historic day.....not many dates either! A special barracks was remodeled for them and a guard was placed at their door by the local marine commandant.
I remember Iceland as a pleasant assignment and as we launched our deuces for early morning sorties, the hair would rise up your neck!
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 24 July 2013, 03:28 PM
chemoniepilot chemoniepilot is offline
 
 
Join Date: 23 July 2013
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 1
Default Chemoniepilot

Hopefully I can clear up some of this confusion. While serving in AWACS in the USAF I was sent TDY (temporary duty) to Rockville Air Station, Iceland (H-1) a 'long range' N.A.T.O. radar site which is about 3 or 4 miles northeast of the town of Keflavik. I was there from Dec.' 68 thru June 69.

I had met a man named Gunnar and his wife and they owned a fleet of ocean gong fishing trawlers. Wonderful people! Being that fishing is my #1 sport they arranged for me to go out on one of their 24 hour trips. The trip was a blast!

While on the trip I was talking with one of the crew and the subject of foreigners in Iceland came up. Race was never mentioned. I was told that since Iceland had gotten their independence from Denmark there was not a single murder in Iceland until a man in a bar killed another man. I was told that the person committing the crime was black and that the victim was Icelandic. It was the opinion of the crewmember that the Icelandic Parliament (called the Althing) or either the people of Iceland decided that if they did not have blacks there would be no more killings.

From the day I arrived in Iceland until the day I left I only aware of 2 black people that were in Iceland. (1) an Air Force technician flown into Navy Keflavik during the night in a tendem seat F-106 Delta Dagger. I was told that he was confined to a certain area and was flown back to the U.S. the next night. (2) a translantic airliner had to make an emergency landing at Navy Kef. While the passengers were taken to a more comfortable place one or more black passengers were kept at the terminal in a 'sort of' protective custody area'. I was told they were treated well but not allowed to leave the area. This would have been an Icelandic issue, not a U.S. issue since all major airliners fly into Keflavik (KEF). They just call it the Reykjavik airport.

I cannot vouch in any way for the validity of what I was told. It is true that I never saw a black person during the entire time I was in Iceland. I also never heard an Icelandic person make a negative statement about people of color.
Best wishes and I sure hope this retired pilot has added something to this forum.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 08:41 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.