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Pepperrell AFB, USAF was located in St.John's, NL, CA and was in full operation from approximately 1950 to 1959.

Fort Pepperrell originally was the nucleus of the defense protecting the Northeast coast of the United States and Canada.

In the early 1940s, French Atlantic ports were controlled by the Germans and French African ports were cut off for Royal Navy airships. The French fleet was in danger of coming under enemy control. Great Britain was practically alone as the Allied line of defense since Italy was allied with Germany and had their fleet in the Mediterranean.

The British government got leases for sites for the establishment of military bases for the government of the United States in September 1940. This included facilities in Britain's western possessions, Newfoundland, and the south Atlantic territories.

Great Britain did not want to sell or cede the land. This resulted in the United States leasing sites for 99 years from them in 1941.These sites were leased for construction of air bases in Newfoundland, Bermuda, Bahamas, Jamaica, Antigua, St. Lucia, Trinidad, and British Guinea

In January of 1941, Headquarters Newfoundland Base Command (NBC) was activated aboard the U.S. Army transport, Edmund B. Alexander, the former German liner, Amerika, which had been made into a floating barracks, and arrived off Cape Spear, Newfoundland January 25, 1941 with the first U.S. troops numbering about 1000 men made up of infantry, coast artillery and anti-aircraft artillery.

The ship Alexander was kept out of harbor until January 29 when it maneuvered through the narrows to St. John's, the largest ship to ever have been docked there.It was decided that the ship would be used as a barracks until housing had been built by the U.S. District of Engineers who had already been at work before the Alexander's arrival. That work began in October 1940 near Quidi Vidi Lake. A tent camp known as Alexander built on carpasian Road was completed May 20, 1941 and this would serve as quarters for the troops until permanent quarters could be built.

Wartime shortages prevented the Canadians from building permanent military bases at Botwood, Gander, Bell Island or St.John's and because of this, Canadian military buildings were constructed quickly and cheaply using whatever material was readily available. U.S. construction was planned to last the duration of the 90 year lease.

Construction of the permanent base began in May 1941 and some of the troops were able to move into permanent quarters late in the year. Roosevelt Avenue and Charter Avenue were constructed in the shape of a stylized cowboy hat which encompassed each barracks building. Each new barracks was designed to house 125 men using single beds or 250 men using double deck beds. Each Barracks included space for non-commissioned officer sleeping quarters and space for an orderly room. By 1943, some 5000 American troops were at Fort Pepperrell.

In addition, the U.S. Army established an outer ring of seacoast defense facilities, including searchlight batteries, and early waning radar sites. The data gathered from these sites was filtered through the command center at Fort Pepperrell. The Newfoundland Base Command was put in place at Fort Pepperrell in 1943, the year the base was completed. During the war years, all supplies shipped to other stations were processed through Fort Pepperrell, St John's harbor where supplies necessary to maintain all Newfoundland stations were being unloaded was one of two ice free ports during the winter months.

When the war ended, there was some question of what would become of the Newfoundland Base Command and Fort Pepperrell. It was eventually decided that Newfoundland would provide local security for and maintain U.S. Army installations, facilitate operations of the Air Transport Command and maintain liaison with the U.S. Navy and allied nations and local commands. In 1948, the Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland, and Bermuda Base base commands were reassigned to the Newfoundland Base Command headquartered at Fort Pepperrell.

The command was charged with dispatching, servicing, supplying, and maintaining all aircraft under the operational control of he Atlantic Division scheduled or routed through or within the command. It further had responsibility for the operation and disciplinary control of such air units and crews while within the command and to operate a Search and Rescue Service. In 1948, the NBC included Labrador, Greenland, and the Northwest territories, Ernest Harmon AFB at Stephenville was left under the control of the Air Transport Command. NBC ceased to exist in 1950 when their bases and facilities became part of the newly formed Northeast Air Command (NEAC) and the fort became known as Pepperrell Air Force Base.

The value of the North Atlantic and Arctic as a defense against potential invaders became widely recognized, but the Northeast Air Command was short lived. It was abolished in 1957 and integrated into the Strategic Air Command and Air Defense Command. Within a couple of years after NEAC ceased to exist, Pepperrell Air Force Base had been vacated by the Americans. The area soon became known as Pleasantville, a suburb of St.John's where civilian housing was developed and where many of the buildings built by Americans to last 99 years came to be occupied by various Canadian and Newfoundland government entities.

By 2006 the Department of National Defense was planning to build the facility for Canadian Forces Station (CFS) St. John's to replace infrastructure of Pleasantville.

(By Sir Cavendish Boyle)


When sunrays crown thy pine clad hills

And summer spreads her hand

When silvern voices tune thy rills

We love thee smiling land

We love thee, we love thee

We love thee, smiling land

When spreads thy cloak of shim'ring white

At winter's stern command

Thro' shortened day and starlit light

We love thee, frozen land

We love thee, we love thee

We love thee, frozen land

When blinding storm gusts fret thy shore

And wild waves lash thy strand

Thro' spindrift swirl and tempest roar

We love thee, wind-swept land

We love thee, we love thee

We love wind=swept land

As loved our fathers, so we love

Where once they stood, we stand

Their prayer we raise to heav'n above

God guard thee, Newfoundland

God guard thee, God guard thee

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