DLA Distribution Norfolk fulfills resupply mission for Operation Pacer Goose

By DLA Distribution Public Affairs

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Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Norfolk, Virginia’s Pier 8 is a hotbed of activity every summer in preparation of Operation Pacer Goose, an annual resupply mission to Thule Air Base, a remote U.S. Air Force base in the Arctic region of Greenland.

This year, DLA distribution process workers spent four days in July loading the Schuyler Line Navigation Company’s Magothy cargo ship with essential supplies including COVID-19 personal protective equipment before it set sail to the air base July 23.

DLA Distribution Norfolk fulfills resupply mission for Operation Pacer Goose
Thule Air Base lies approximately 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle and 946 miles from the North Pole, with temperatures typically ranging from 30 to 40 degrees below zero in the winter to 30 to 40 degrees in the summer. With a population of U.S., Canadian, Danish and Greenlandic personnel, the base provides security, communications, civil engineering, personnel, services, logistics and medical services, supporting the missile warning and space surveillance and satellite command and control operations missions. Operated by the 821st Air Base Group, Thule Air Base is one of the six installations maintained by the 21st Space Wing.
DLA Distribution Norfolk fulfills resupply mission for Operation Pacer Goose
DLA Distribution Norfolk fulfills resupply mission for Operation Pacer Goose
Thule Air Base lies approximately 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle and 946 miles from the North Pole, with temperatures typically ranging from 30 to 40 degrees below zero in the winter to 30 to 40 degrees in the summer. With a population of U.S., Canadian, Danish and Greenlandic personnel, the base provides security, communications, civil engineering, personnel, services, logistics and medical services, supporting the missile warning and space surveillance and satellite command and control operations missions. Operated by the 821st Air Base Group, Thule Air Base is one of the six installations maintained by the 21st Space Wing.
Photo By: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Tiffany DeNault
VIRIN: 150314-F-EX835-0104


Operation Pacer Goose is one of the Arctic outpost's few sources of food, spare parts and other items needed each year, and summer is the only time of year the ice is thin enough to sail through. While COVID-19 supplies were previously air lifted to Greenland, five pallets of hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and cleaning supplies were loaded onto the Magothy along with construction materials, electrical equipment, furniture, food and water.

The load included 98 lifts – 90 containers plus a fire truck, rock crusher, step-deck trailer and five 20-foot modular containers, said Michael Kelly. This is his first year working as a marine cargo specialist with DDNV, but he participated in Pacer Goose in 2007.

DLA Distribution Norfolk fulfills resupply mission for Operation Pacer Goose
Supplies loaded from Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Norfolk, Virginia, Pier 8 are destined for Thule Air Base Greenland in support of Operation Pacer Goose, an annual resupply mission. (Photo provided by DDNV)
DLA Distribution Norfolk fulfills resupply mission for Operation Pacer Goose
DLA Distribution Norfolk fulfills resupply mission for Operation Pacer Goose
Supplies loaded from Defense Logistics Agency Distribution Norfolk, Virginia, Pier 8 are destined for Thule Air Base Greenland in support of Operation Pacer Goose, an annual resupply mission. (Photo provided by DDNV)
Photo By: DLA Distribution Public Affairs
VIRIN: 200701-D-D0441-4507


A variety of skilled workers – stevedores, blockers and bracers, and workers who load containers on chassis at the pier – are needed to load the ship, Kelly said. DDNV cargo specialists and materiel handlers loaded the Magothy with members of Navy Cargo Handling Battalion 8 from Fort Dix, New Jersey, and NCHB 1 from Williamsburg, Virginia.

“Items are single-stack loaded to protect the cargo because if something breaks, they can’t reorder something and [get it] there two weeks later. They have to wait ‘til the next year. So we are very careful about not damaging cargo,” Kelly said.

The Magothy is scheduled to return to Norfolk from Thule mid-August with items no longer needed at Thule Air Base, completing the 68th annual resupply mission.