St Lawrence Island Secret Military Base: St. Lawrence Island is an enigmatic and intriguing place. Located in the middle of the Bering Sea, just south of the Bering Strait, it is closer to Russia and Asia than to mainland Alaska. It is the sixth largest island in the United States and the 113th largest island in the world. It is home to about 1,400 people who belong to the Siberian Yupik culture and speak their own language. It is also a birder’s paradise, hosting millions of seabirds during nesting season.
But there is more to this island than meets the eye. For decades, rumors have circulated that there is a secret military base on St. Lawrence Island, possibly used for spying or testing weapons. Is there any truth to these claims? We decided to investigate and find out for ourselves.
The History of St. Lawrence Island | St Lawrence Island Secret Military Base
St. Lawrence Island has a long and rich history that dates back to the Pleistocene period, when it was part of the land bridge that connected Asia with North America. The island was inhabited by various groups of people over time, including the Okvik, Punuk, Birnirk, Thule, and Siberian Yupik cultures. The island was also visited by explorers, traders, whalers, missionaries, and researchers from different countries.
The island was named by the Danish and Russian explorer Vitus Bering, who discovered it on August 10, 1728, the feast day of St. Lawrence. The island became part of the United States after the Alaska Purchase in 1867. In 1971, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act granted title to the land to the Savoonga Native Corporation and the Sivuqaq Native Corporation, representing the two villages on the island: Savoonga and Gambell.
St Lawrence Island Secret Military Base Presence
During and after World War II, the U.S. military stationed forces in and around Gambell to protect Alaska from possible Japanese invasion. The Air Force operated an Aircraft Control and Warning Station (AC&WS) in Gambell from 1948 to 1956. The site was abandoned after a similar facility was constructed at Northeast Cape on the island.
The Northeast Cape AC&WS was built in 1950 and 1951 to provide radar coverage and surveillance for the Alaskan Air Command and later for the North American Air Defense Command. A White Alice Communications System (WACS) station was added to the site in 1954. The AC&WS and WACS operations were terminated in 1969 and 1972, respectively, and personnel were removed from the site.
The Northeast Cape site included areas for housing site personnel, power plant facilities, fuel storage tanks, distribution lines, maintenance shops, wastewater treatment facilities, and landfills. The buildings and most of the furnishings and equipment were abandoned in place initially due to the high cost of off-island transport. Demolition of the buildings and other structures was completed between 1994 and 2003. All the buildings, above ground structures and debris have been removed from Northeast Cape and disposed of off island.
The Evidence for a Secret Military Base
So far, we have established that there was indeed a military presence on St. Lawrence Island until the early 1970s. But was there a secret military base that remained operational after that? And if so, what was its purpose?
There is no definitive answer to these questions, but there are some clues that suggest that something might have been going on behind the scenes.
One clue is the persistent polynya that formed south of the island in 1999, when prevailing winds from the north and east blew away the migrating ice from the coast. A polynya is an area of open water surrounded by sea ice. Polynyas can be natural phenomena that occur due to ocean currents or winds, but they can also be artificially created by ships or submarines breaking through the ice.
Some people speculated that the polynya south of St. Lawrence Island was caused by a submarine or a ship that was part of a secret military operation or experiment. However, there is no conclusive evidence to support this theory and St Lawrence Island Secret Military Base.
Another clue is the contamination that resulted from the military activities on the island. The main sources of contamination are attributed to spills and leaks of fuel products associated with aboveground storage tanks (ASTs), underground storage tanks (USTs), and associated piping. Other contaminants include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, metals, asbestos, batteries, munitions debris, medical waste, sewage sludge, and radioactive materials.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for cleanup at the sites through its Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) program. Cleanup activities have been ongoing since the 1980s and include site investigations, remedial actions, long-term monitoring, and community involvement. However, some areas of the island are still contaminated and pose a risk to human health and the environment.
Some people have suggested that the contamination on the island is a cover-up for something more sinister, such as biological or chemical weapons testing, or nuclear waste disposal. However, there is no concrete evidence to support this claim.
The Conclusion | St Lawrence Island Secret Military Base
Based on our research, we have not found any proof that there is a secret military base on St. Lawrence Island. The only military facilities that existed on the island were the AC&WS and WACS stations at Gambell and Northeast Cape, which were decommissioned and demolished decades ago.
However, we cannot rule out the possibility that there might have been some covert operations or experiments that took place on or near the island, either during or after the Cold War. The polynya and the contamination are intriguing anomalies that raise some questions and suspicions.
We invite you to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic. Have you ever visited St. Lawrence Island? Have you heard any stories or rumors about a secret military base there? Do you think there is something more to this island than meets the eye?
If you are curious and adventurous, you might want to visit St. Lawrence Island yourself and see what you can find out. It is a fascinating place with a rich history and culture, and a stunning wildlife. You can book a flight from Nome to Gambell or Savoonga, and stay at a local guest house or inn. You can also join a guided birding tour or a walrus hunting expedition, or explore the island on foot, ATV, or bicycle.
St. Lawrence Island is a hidden gem in the Bering Sea that awaits your discovery. Who knows, you might even stumble upon a secret military base along the way.