The Ravens Roost

In the summer of 1997, I was in Greenland for the fifth time. But this time I WAS BLUENOSED.
As you properly have read, I have been doing work in Greenland for some time. But this year I was invited to an party at
The Ravens Roost.
I had a lot to do that day so I came a hour later then the rest of the guinea-pigs. That was a BIG mistake. When I arrived, some rather drunk people, with some blue paintings in their faces, where having fun, and the rest of the 109th were sitting having fun. So I went up to Thomas "Tom" S. Grugan, an asked what was what. Then I was informed, that since I did not attend to that normal times, I would get a special "Bluenose". I did not know what I should do, I was seated on a bar chair, and a big glass was placed in front of me. Then I realized what should happened:
I should drink the jar, which was filled with mixed liquor.
Then my face would be painted blue, but my
"Supreme Exalted Protentate of the Atric Region". (Tom)
After that I should go with the rest of the unite, to the local club "Klubben".
At "Klubben" I would have more fun, and get more drunk.
The last thing I should do......stay up for a very long time, and get the full effect of the alcohol.

When the list, was finished, and I had a hangover, I got a certificate. Now I am a Knight of the Blue Nose. I am not able to remember much from that evening.
But is was fun......


This is a picture, of where you sit up on stage, below the Jägermiester banner.
This is a story by Fred Reed. He was also BLUENOSED, but he came on time, and got the original thing.

By Fred Reed Soldiering SONDERSTROM, Greenland

- High, barren hills of the arctic desert loom over this tiny half-American, half-Danish
base, hills speckled with brave but foolhardy scrub vegetation and occasional musk-oxen. These latter mostly snort, peer about nearsightedly and look stupid, which for all I know they are. Or, maybe they just aren't interested. It gets chilly here, and in the summer the sun never goes down. From the hills the base looks temporary and flimsy. The runway, used by the big C-130 transports that supply scientific groups on the ice cap, looks small in the vastness. The social hot spot of Sonderstrom is the Raven's Roost, the shaky bar and restaurant of the 109th Tactical Airlift Group of the New York National Guard, out of Schenectady.
The 109th, whose guest I am, has come here to ski. The skis, however, are on the airplanes: The C-130s have to land on the open ice, there being no snow-free ground where the scientists are. Digging down to bare earth to bulldoze a runway would be difficult, since the ice cap is 10,000 feet thick. Several times a year the 109th comes to carry many tons of food and supplies to the otherwise inaccessible regions. The Roost is comfortable without being excessively elegant. Beer, which the guys bring with them, is 50 cents. Every night the unit barbecues chicken or chops, sits around hoisting brews and talking shop. Tonight -- night here looks like 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon -- I shot the breeze with the cook at the grill out back while an arctic fox circled ten feet away. Then catastrophe struck. Suddenly, a sergeant announced that it was "bluenose time."
Tradition insists that newcomers to Greenland, which I was, must be bluenosed. Uh-oh. About five of us neophytes, including a young schoolteacher from Alaska, were duly lined up at the bar. Bluenosing consists of the recounting by one of the unit of the tale of some fellow who allegedly traveled around Greenland by sled. Whenever he reached any destination in this tale -- and Greenland, it turns out, consists mostly of destinations -- those being bluenosed have to toss down a shot of schnapps. Remember, I didn't want to do this; I was forced. I didn't mind as long as the purported traveler went only to major cities, since there are few. The towns didn't bother me too much, although the shots of schnapps were beginning to add up. Soon, however, the traveler was visiting obscure camps, former camps, bushes, rocks, and molecules. Anyway, I had a wonderful evening -- I'm sure of it, because the air crew told me so in the morning. When we turned in it was, as always, 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon.

*Editor's Note: Aquavit = Schnapps in Greenland.
Fred Reed, a Marine veteran,
is a syndicated columnist based
in Washington, D. C.
The Shreveport Times
September 14, 1989