Welcome to Kris and Susanna’s Icelandic Adventure


Viking ship sculpture, Reykjavik harbor

After spending a second assignment at Cannon AFB, (making a total of 8 ˝ years there,) Susanna and I were ready for a change. The opportunity arose for an assignment to Keflavik Naval Air Station, Iceland and we leapt at the chance. It was odd, but few people shared our enthusiasm. Other Air Force wives told her to make me go alone, and my own peer group, while understanding my desire to leave the high plains of New Mexico, were glad I was going instead of them.

I received my assignment on April 15th of 1994, and I was supposed to report in June. I couldn’t get permission for Susanna and I to travel together in such a short time, and I ended up traveling alone.
Part one was getting the car to Iceland. To do that I had to get it to a seaport. Since the charter flight to Iceland flew out of Philadelphia, I chose to ship my car from Bayonne, New Jersey. I took the opportunity to drive across the United States and experience what many people call "flyover country." When I got to New Jersey and told someone I was dropping off my car at the port in Bayonne, someone asked, "Why go all that way? I can make a call and have it stolen right here."

The flight from Philadelphia left at around midnight. I don’t remember what time I touched down in Iceland, but it was early Saturday morning, June 4th, 1994. The next day was the first Sunday in June and, although I didn't know it then, it was the Icelandic holiday called Seaman’s Day. I walked from the base to the town of Keflavik, just exploring and taking pictures to send home. (Despite extensive reading on Iceland, we were still a little worried about what the conditions would be. I was somewhat concerned that Susanna would change her mind and end up staying in Clovis.)

Seaman’s Day, Keflavik harbor, 1994.
As I made my way through Keflavik I noticed an Icelandic Coast Guard helicopter making repeated passes over the harbor, and as I approached the harbor I discovered a large crowd of people assembled to watch, and in some cases partake, of the oddest games. They had contests like those you see on The World’s Stongest Man contests, they had people racing from pier to pier using shovels to paddle the plastic tubs used for storing fish, and they had wet pillow fights on a telephone pole extended out over the water. The Coast Guard were wearing special orange dry suits designed to protect them from hypothermia, and helped ensure the losers were able to get out of the water. When I saw the winner take a celebratory dive from the pole into the frigid 35 degree water, I realized I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

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Last edited on January 21, 2006