"Canadian Forces Station Alert"

Alert, Nunavut
Canada



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With the introduction of Intergration of the Forces in 1967, came a name change for Alert Wireless Station. The station now became known as Canadian Forces Station Alert. This change to CFS also occured at all the other SRS stations.

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It was also probably around this time that planning began for a rebuild of the military side of Alert. This obviously was a long process and the logistics involved boggles the mind. All the planning began to come together in 1974 when Operation Trelar (thats Alert spelled backwards and the "r" of course stands for "rebuild") got underway in earnest with the construction of the first accomodation building. Construction of Chimo Hall was completed in 1975, Ladner Hall was completed in 1976 and Whitehorse Hall was finished in 1977. All of these buildings were 2 stories with 4 wings, 2 wings on either side of the main lower runway. The 3 Halls were able to handle the 4 shifts, the Senior NCOs, as well as CE and MSE personnel, the Techs, the Admin staff and Food Services personnel. If I missed anyone, please accept my apologies, but you get my drift. These buildings were to house the permanent staff. The remaining personnel, the Senior Staff, ie., the CO, OpsO, SadmO, LogO, SWO OpsC, Tech C, Food Services C and CE C continued to be housed in Building 53, the Senior Staff Mess (SSM) until 1995 when downsizing of Alert meant fewer permanent staff. The SSM then moved to the new complex, the HAPS building. Station visitors also continued to be lodged in the newer of the old GP huts.
A much needed new transmitter site was added in 1976 and MSE got their new vehicle storage building in 1977.



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Now that the bodies were comfortable, it was time to start thinking about Operations, since that is the reason that Alert is where it is. Of course planning was well along, so construction of the new Operations Building began in 1978. It would be called "Polaris Hall", since it was positioned immediately below the North Star, and would be completed in 1980. And what a beauty it would be after having did what we did for so long in the primative surroundings of the old building.


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The next big project to be undertaken was construction of a new adminstration building. Churchill Hall as it is named was started in 1982 and was completed in 1984. The Headquarters, Administration and Personnel Services Building (HAPS) is another beautiful effort. The photo to the right was taken in 1983. It is a large 2 storey building and contains everything that originally was housed in several smaller buildings of the GP Hut generation. This structure is exactly what it's name implies. Click the link above for details.

Along about circa 1994-95 the Operations department at Alert began to downsize with the remoting of Operations to southern climes. Remoting meant that there would be little sense in keeping a whole bunch of Communication Research Operators (291ers) in Alert to do nothing. All that was needed were the Techs and the Support trades. What a coup this was for the 291 trade. It brings to mind something I had said to the Techs and Support people on numerous occasions during my 8 tours of Alert. That was, "just think, if it wasn't for us (the 291ers), you people wouldn't even be here"!!!!!!!!!!!! What a GREAT spot, EH guys and gals????

My last 2 tours in Alert were in the winter/spring of 1986 and 1989 as Ops Chief. All the new buildings were in place, however our accomodation was in Building 53, the Senior Staff Mess (SSM). In 1989 that building was wearing itself thin. It was comfy though. It can be seen in the photo at the left, the building shaped like a large "F" in the foreground. This row of buildings was bulldozed when the SSM personnel moved to the new complex. The old GP Huts were anything but great, but they did serve their purpose until the Canadian genius took over and Alert was "rebuilt".
Since my last tour was in 1989, I can't really comment on what the place looks like now, however I am sure it hasn't changed drastically, other than the 50's row is not there anymore. Alert is still there though and still being manned by trades other than 291. I know the 291ers are happy about that!!!!!!!!


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