On October 10th, 2014, U.S. Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Misawa was disestablished after the command’s 52 years of distinguished serve to the Navy, the nation and its Japanese allies.
Misawa Air Base is located approximately 400 miles north of Tokyo, on the northeastern part of Honshu, Japan’s main island, adjacent to Misawa City in Aomori Prefecture, in Tohoku. Misawa Air Base is unique in that it’s the only combined, joint service installation in the western Pacific.
A brief history:
During the Meiji period, a national horse farm was established in the area of Misawa Air Base and was eventually used as a cavalry training center for the Imperial Army. As late as the 1930s, at the onset of the Sino-Japanese War, the emperor’s cavalry was stationed there, until its transfer to China. Misawa’s transformation to an air base began in 1938. The Imperial Army laid a primitive airstrip in the heavily wooded terrain for use as a base for long-range bombers in the defense of northern Honshu Island during the China conflict. It could also be used as a launching site toward the U.S. and Russia, if necessary. A communications site was established in 1941, which was used to send signals to a combined fleet anchored in Mutsu Bay. This fleet would later launch the aircraft that attacked Pearl Harbor. The base was taken over by the Imperial Navy Air Corps in 1942 and the base’s mission changed to research and development for training and fighter aircraft. Lake Ogawara, which borders the base, was used to test seaplanes.
In 1944, facilities were built for Kamikaze Special Attack forces. Shortly before the war’s end, the Yokosuka Flying Corps began testing new aircraft designs here. These improvements, while too late to change the outcome of World War II, were made to Zero and Raider fighter aircraft. In July 1945, a B-29 sabotage training program was established at Misawa. Using wooden dummies of the bomber, the pilots and crewmen were taught how to destroy them. The war ended before the training could be applied. One month before the end of World War II, U.S. fighters strafed and bombed the base. One week later, B-29s all but destroyed it.
The American occupation of Misawa began in September 1945, when the Army’s famed “Wildcat Troops” arrived. Later, Army engineers restored the base for future use by the Army Air Corps. During the Korean conflict, Misawa supported the F-80s, F-84s and F-86s that saw action over that peninsula. F100 fighters arrived in 1958 followed by F-4s that operated from here during the Vietnam conflict.
The origin of U.S. Naval Security Group Activity, Misawa dates back to December,1945 when RM1 Brillhart was Petty Officer in Charge of COMMSUPACT in Ohminato, Japan. In April 1946, COMMSUPACT operations moved to Yokosuka, Japan. In December, 1952, operations were relocated to Kami Seya, Japan with CDR C. M. Smith as head of NAVSECGRU Department, NAVCOMMSTA Kami Seya. U.S. Naval Security Group Activity, Kami Seya was established on January 15, 1960, under the command of CAPT E. W. Knepper. NSGA Kami Seya remained on the Kanto Plain until March, 1971 when most functions were moved to NSG Detachment Misawa, Japan. On July 1, 1971, U.S. Naval Security Group Activity, Misawa was commissioned under the command of
CAPT G. P. March.
The communications facility located at Misawa AB included an operations building located adjacent to the AN/FLR-9 Circularly Disposed Antenna Array (CDAA), also known as a Wullenweber antenna array. The building inside the array housed the goniometer and other electronics to support the antenna.
On September 30, 2005, NSGA Misawa was administratively closed and was re-established on October 1, 2005 as the Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC)
Of note, four former Commanding Officers (Capt. George P. March, Capt. Paul W. Dillingham Jr., Capt. James S. McFarland and Capt. Alex Miller) were promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral with three of those Admirals subsequently serving a Commander, Naval Security Group Command (March, Dillingham and McFarland).
Edited by Mario Vulcano