The story

US military airbase during World War II
Narsarsuaq means "the large plain" in Greenlandic - a reference to the large plain of sand and rock that was deposited there by a nearby glacier. During World War II, the Americans decided that this glacial moraine was a perfect site for landing planes bound for Europe, and the US military built the original airfield here, an airbase code named Bluie West 1.

Bluie West 1 was made operational for military missions virtually overnight. The Americans also built a large hospital with 600 beds to receive wounded soldiers from D-Day in Normandy.

After World War II, Narsarsuaq remained under American command. In late 1945, there were as many as 1,000 military personnel stationed in Narsarsuaq, making the military base de facto the largest town in Greenland.Bluie West 1 blev ved en kæmpeindsats næsten operationsklar fra den ene dag til den anden. Desuden blev et stort hospital bygget, der kunne rumme 600 patienter. Dette var beregnet til at modtage sårede fra D-dag i Normandiet. Efter 2. verdenskrig forblev Narsarsuaq under amerikansk kommando. I slutningen af 1945 boede der op til 1.000 personer - hvilket således gjorde Narsarsuaq til Grønlands mest befolkede sted.

The Korean War - and hospital rumors
During the Korean War, the airbase gained renewed importance and the hospital was expanded to 1,000 beds. Over the years there have been persistent rumors that seriously wounded soldiers from Korea were treated in Narsarsuaq, far away from the glare of publicity, to avoid weakening public support for the war in the US. No evidence, however, has been found to substantiate these rumors.

The hospital was decommissioned in 1958 and the hospital buildings were destroyed by a fire in 1972. Only the old chimney from the nurses' dayroom remains standing in the Hospital Valley.

The town

Narsarsuaq today
Today Narsarsuaq is an international airport and a natural starting point for trips, sightseeing tours, and travel to other parts of South Greenland. You can find out more about the exciting history of the airport at the Narsarsuaq Museum.