Breaking New Ground—Stories from Defence Construction Breaking_new_ground - Page 46

Did You Know? Arctic permafrost could not be excavated. Pile setting involved boring into the permafrost, setting the piles into the holes and then filling around them with sand and water that would freeze and hold the pile in place. An air space was allowed under the floor so heat from the structure would not melt the permafrost. I gradually realized that the figure was that of a Cree Projects: Working with Indian wearing black pants, shirt and top, with attached the United States black cloth covering the back of his neck. Very much relieved, I stepped out onto the trail to speak to him. Strategic Air Command (SAC) Refuelling Base Program What I failed to realize was that he hadn’t yet seen me, SAC’s mission was to launch strategic aerial attacks and my sudden appearance scared the hell out of him. against an enemy, and its mere existence—which Neither of us could understand the other’s language so involved nuclear weaponry that would have been used I tried to calm him by offering him a cigarette. Very first by bomber aircraft and later by missiles—was obviously, he wanted nothing to do with any jackass who considered a strong deterrent to attacks against the would jump out of the bushes just to give him a fright. U.S. To maintain the deterrent factor, it was considered essential to be able to support the aircraft en route from When I was leaving Moosonee in 1962, one of the older the bomber bases in the U.S. to their targets in the Crees told me that from the time of the clearing operation Soviet Union. in 1959, they had called me “the man that the mosquitoes bite.” How apt that was! So although the In February 1957, the Canadian government authorized bears didn’t get me, the mosquitoes did. Moosonee the U.S. Air Force to build tanker facilities at Frobisher Bowl, 1959—final score: Mosquitoes 1, Bears nil. Bay (now Iqaluit), Churchill, Cold Lake and Namao— but two issues delayed the program’s implementation: Bob Givens joined DCL in 1959 as an ex-military the first was the change in federal government; the engineer. He retired in 1979 as Area Engineer with the second was the U.S. State Department’s objection to Ontario Regional Office in Toronto. the Canadian demand that only Canadian contractors be employed. In the end, the formal treaty specified that the construction procedures would be as arranged between the two countries; in private, however, the Secretary of the Air Force wrote to the Minister of Defence Production, agreeing that the Canadian condition would be followed. 36 BREAKING NEW GROUND DEFENCE CONSTRUCTION CANADA