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Celebrating the Past, Present and Future of Navy Cryptology

NSGA Marietta WA Decommissioned 45 Years Ago This Month

On November 1, 1952, the Naval Radio Station at Marietta was commissioned.  On March 15, 1953, four months later, the facility at U.S. Naval Security Group Activity (NSGA) Bainbridge, Washington State closed and mission functions and responsibilities were transferred to NSG Det Marietta. This increased responsibility elevated Marietta operational status and was commissioned to a Naval Security Group Activity on that date.

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NavRadSta (R) Marietta, WA. Station Personnel – July 1957 Rear: CS2 Hodges, SN Dixon, SN Bowman, SN Bonner, CTA2 Abel, CTR2 Muzinski; Middle: CTRSN Doss, CTR2 Clem, CTR1 Nelson, CTR1 White, CTR2 Bonsor, SA Huber; Front: CTMC Schumacher, CTRC Gramblin (Ops Chief), CWO2 Curtin, CTMC Dawson, CTRC Rogers

NSGA Marietta maintained and operated a high frequency direction finding (HFDF) facility and provided communication support to Navy and other Department of Defense elements. The communications facility located at Marietta included an operations building located in the center of an AN/FRD-10A Circularly Disposed Antenna Array (CDAA), also known as a Wullenweber antenna array.

In March 1972, NSGA Marietta was decommissioned and closed in March, 1972.  This was the first Navy Wullenweber site to be closed and ceased operations.

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AN/FRD-10A Circular Disposed Antenna Array (CDAA). Note the Operations building in the center – April, 1971

The Station was located at the U.S. Navy installation on the Lummi Indian Reservation, about 1.9 miles west of the city of Marietta. The site was located in the inland northwest corner of Washington, 8 miles west of Bellingham and 20 miles south of the Canadian border, which is now the site of the Lummi Indian Reservation. The reservation includes the Lummi Peninsula, and uninhabited Portage Island.

Today, Marietta is two-block community, which sits on the bank of the Nooksack River, on the edge of the Lummi Indian Reservation. Approximately 40 residents live in this unincorporated area of Whatcom County, on the edge of Bellingham Bay.

 

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Early History:

In pre-Colonial times, the Lummi tribe migrated seasonally between many sites including Point Roberts, Washington, Lummi Peninsula, Portage Island, as well as sites in the San Juan Islands, including Sucia Island.

Long before it was “discovered” by Europeans, Whatcom County was home to Northwest Coast Indians, the Lummi, Nooksack, Samish and Semiahmoo. The area was claimed by the Spanish in 1775 and later by Russia, England and the United States. Bellingham Bay was named by Captain George Vancouver of the British Navy during his expedition into the waters of Puget Sound in 1792. Fur trappers and traders were the first non-Indian residents to settle in and Hudson’s Bay Company set up shop from 1825 to 1846. In the early 1850’s, a tremendous amount of building took place in California (after the San Francisco fire) and lumber became scarce. Word of dense stands of Douglas fir brought California miners Roeder and Peabody north, to Bellingham Bay. An impressive and strategically located waterfall, referred to by the Lummi Indians as “What-Coom,” meaning “noisy, rumbling water” provided Roeder and Peabody an ideal lumber mill site, and a name for the area’s first permanent town. In 1854, its rapid settlement prompted territorial legislature to create the County of Whatcom, an area that, at the time, took in all of present-day Skagit, Island and San Juan counties.

In its early years, Whatcom County experienced many economic ups and downs. When coal was discovered in 1853, another bay town, called Sehome, sprang up by the mine shafts and the Bellingham Bay Coal Company became the area’s largest employer. Gold fever made a brief, though dramatic imprint on the county. In the summer of 1858, the Fraser River gold rush brought over 75,000 people through Whatcom County. Roeder and Peabody’s lumber mill burned in 1873. Five years later, after many cave-ins, fires and floods, the mine closed. Speculators vying to host the Northern Pacific Railroad’s west coast terminal brought communities on Bellingham Bay into rapid prosperity. Educational opportunities grew as well. Northwest Normal School, the predecessor to present day’s Western Washington University was established in Lynden in 1886. The Northwest’s first high school was built in Whatcom County in 1890. In 1893, after dramatic growth, the county’s boom stopped. A national depression and unyielding mountains pushed local economy into hard times. The railroad went elsewhere and population on the bay dropped to under fifty.  By the turn of the century though, Whatcom County was growing again. New lumber and shingle mills, salmon canneries, shipyards and agriculture brought stability to the area.

In 1903, the county’s four bayside towns, Whatcom, Sehome, Bellingham and Fairhaven consolidated into the present day county seat, Bellingham. Today, valuable natural resources continue to play an important role in Whatcom County’s economy.

Source: navycthistory.com

 

 

Remembering RADM John Walter McClaran, the 9th & 11th Commander to Lead the Naval Security Group (OP-20G)

John Walter McClaran was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. He entered the academy in 1908 and graduated with the class of 1911.

He was promoted to Ensign in 1912. Further promotions came in time: to Lieutenant (junior grade) on March 7, 1915, to Lieutenant on March 7, 1918 and promotion to Lieutenant Commander on December 31, 1921.

LCDR McClaran joined the crew of the USS POPE (DD 225) in the Orient. The ship protected American lives and interests during the civil strife in China. She first served with the Yangtze River Patrol from September 9 – October 9, 1923 and continued to make her presence known through repeated patrols until 1931. A notable exception was duty off Japan in connection with the Army’s “Round the World Flight” in early 1924. Three aircraft, named Chicago, Boston & New Orleans made the circumnavigation. A 4th plane, the Seattle, fell out of the quartet after crashing into a mountain. A photo shows several officers from the ship – including LCDR McClaran in arctic gear – northern Japan can be a cold place. He received commendation from CINCASIA for saving the POPE from being wrecked on several occasions in Kuriel Islands in connection with the flight.

In June of 1930, LCDR McClaran was ordered to the Navy Department, Washington, D.C. and relieved LCDR A.D. Struble as Office-in-Charge, Code and Signal Section, Division of Naval Communications Systems (OP-20-G). He remained in this position until he was relieved by CDR Howard Kingman in May 1933.

He was promoted to Commander on June 4, 1931

 

On October 1, 1935, CDR McClaran returned for a second tour at OPNAV (OP-20-G), relieving CDR Kingman and remaining in this position until he was relieved by LCDR L.F. Safford on April 1, 1936.

 

The Naval War College was Commander McClaran’s next tour. He led a team that established an advance base on Midway Island in early 1939, earning a commendation from Commander Minecraft for the effort.  This was followed by promotion to Captain on July 1, 1939. In late 1939, Captain J.W. McClaran is listed as the Director of the Training Division, Bureau of Navigation under RADM Chester Nimitz.

 

He retired due to a physical disability on March 1, 1941 with the rank of Rear Admiral. The physical disability was serious enough that he was unable to work following retirement.

 

RADM McClaran died on March 24, 1948 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

 

Source: Echoes of Our Past

Honoring Reserve FORCM Jon A. Henke, Retired

Jon A. Henke was born in Belleville, Illinois on March 19. Master Chief Henke joined the U.S. Navy upon graduation from high school in 1976. After attending Boot Camp and Class “A” School for the CTT rate, he reported to his first duty station at VQ-2 in Rota, Spain in 1978. He transferred to the European Defense Analysis Center (EUDAC) in Stuttgart, Germany in 1980. He transferred to the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, MD in 1982.

Master Chief Henke left active duty in 1986 and immediately joined the U.S. Naval Reserve. He was assigned to the Naval Reserve Security Group unit at Adelphi, Maryland, and was promoted to Chief Petty Officer in 1987. He transferred to the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWARS) reserve unit, Washington, D.C., in 1990. During this tour, he was recalled to Active Duty during Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield and was promoted to Senior Chief Petty Officer in 1994.

In 1995, Master Chief Henke accepted civilian employment in Denver, Colorado, and was ordered to assist in the establishment of a SPAWARS unit in Denver, ultimately being assigned as the Executive Officer of the unit. He was promoted to Master Chief Petty Officer in 1997, and requested transfer to the Denver Naval Reserve Security Group unit in 1998. In 2000, Master Chief Henke was selected to be the Regional Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Reserve Cryptologic Area Commander, West Region in San Diego, California. In October 2001, Master Chief Henke was selected to be the Force Master Chief of the Naval Reserve Security Group Command, headquartered at NAS JRB Fort Worth, Texas. After his tour as Force Master Chief, he was assigned to the Center for Information Dominance – Active Reserve Integration (CID-ARI) at Corry Station, Pensacola, Florida as the Community Manager for the CTT rating. Master Chief Henke retired from the United States Navy on July 9, 2005 after 29 years of service.

Source: Echoes of Our Past

NSGA Company “L” Decommission after 57 Years in Guantanamo Bay, March 16 2000

Naval Security Group Activity (NSGA), Guantanamo Bay and Company L, Marine Support Battalion held a joint decommissioning ceremony on top of John Paul Jones Hill March 16, 2000.
Continue reading “NSGA Company “L” Decommission after 57 Years in Guantanamo Bay, March 16 2000″

21 Years ago today, NSGA Augsburg was disestablished

Augsburg is in the German Federal State of Bavaria. It is located about 30 km west-north-west of Munich, Germany and lies at the junction of the Wertach and Lech rivers, and extends over the plateau area between the two rivers.
Continue reading “21 Years ago today, NSGA Augsburg was disestablished”

Did You Know?

Did enlisted CTs go to sea during World War II? Continue reading “Did You Know?”

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