Ernest Harmon AFB, Newfoundland
48 33'N 58 33'W
In 1941 the United States obtained rights to construct an air force base in the St. George's Bay area of Newfoundland. The US 76th Congress approved the 99 year lease and in April 1941, construction began. The air force base was originally referred to as Stephenville Air Base. However, it was renamed Ernest Harmon Air Force Base on June 23, 1948, in honor of Captain Ernest Emery Harmon. Harmon was a US Army Corps ace who was killed in an air crash in 1933.
On September 1, 1943, the Newfoundland Base Command transferred control of the Harmon Field to the North Atlantic Wing, Air Transport Command. The base became a part of the Northeast Air Command in October, 1950.
Prior to Confederation with Canada in 1949, and between the years 1934 and 1949, Newfoundland was governed by a Commission which consisted of six appointed Commissioners and a Governor. Three Commissioners were appointed from the British Civil Service and three from Newfoundland.
In April of 1957, the Strategic Air Command assumed control. The mandate of the base was to maintain a tanker alert force and its capability to meet and refuel Strategic Air Command jet bombers on route to targets. The KC-97 was employed in this task. The base was also used as a refueling stop for transatlantic military flights. In addition, Harmon supported three Air Defense Command units. In 1957 the Canadian Department of Transportation constructed an air terminal building to accommodate Trans Canada Airlines.
1966 saw the closure of the US Air Force Base in Stephenville. The airport is now owned and operated by the local Airport Authority (Stephenville Airport Corporation Inc.). Stephenville Airport was officially designated as an alternate in the Trans Oceanic Plane Stop (TOPS) program on July 23, 1970. On April 1, 1990 the airport was further designated for alternate use, fueling only, by international scheduled air transport and for international general aviation regular use. In recent years, Stephenville International Airport has become a favorite technical stop for international flights on route to Europe. As the former Ernest Harmon USAF Base the runway is capable of handling the worlds largest aircraft.
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