NSGA Keflavik was decommissioned and closed on June 30, 1994, 22 years ago today. The NSGA was located approximately 8 miles from NAS Keflavik, one mile from the U.S. Air Force 932nd Air Defense Squadron facility, and adjacent to the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station Keflavik, Rockville Receiver Site. The Rockville Receiver Site was fully remoted on March 14, 1997 and was closed in October, 1999.
In March of 1959, an advance party arrived at Hafnir, Iceland to prepare for the establishment of United States Naval Security Group Activity (NSGA), Keflavik. The advance part team was led by the assistant Officer-in-Charge, CWO2 Earl W. Stewart, and consisted of CTAC Bill Tait, CTMC Nellie Nelson, CTM1 Helphrey, one CTM2, two CTM3s and one “logistics” seaman. The following month on April 25, 1959, the NSGA Keflavik was formally established in the village of Hafnir, approximately five miles from the main base at Keflavik International Airport. At that time, the U.S. Air Force was the host of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Base and the Naval Air Facility was charged with providing administrative and logistic support to the command. In May, 1959 the NSGA officially joined the Atlantic High Frequency Direction Finding (HFDF) net, earning the dubious distinction of being the norther most Naval Security Group site in the world. The tour length for all personnel was one year, which compensated for the remoteness of the duty assignment.
In November 1967, the command assumed an additional function as a CRITIC Communications (CRITICOM) relay station and personnel tasked with this work were assigned to Hanger 831 aboard Naval Air Station. By this time the Navy had assumed host responsibility for the air station and the position of the senior officer at the NSGA was upgraded from Officer in Charge to Commanding Officer. In April, 1970, a special operations building was completed at Rockville, which was home to the 932nd Air Control Squadron. In 1973, talks began on the feasibility of consolidating the three separate sites that made up the NSGA into one central location. On June 7, 1977, ground was broken for a new consolidated operations building, which was completed and occupied on August 1, 1979. By the summer of 1979, all of the operational, administrative, communications and facilities functions were consolidated in building 2586 on the Rockville site.
The mission assigned to NSGA Keflavik by the Commander, Naval Security Group Command was as follow: “To operate an HFDF Facility in support of Navigational Aid and Search and Rescue (SAR) functions. It is also to provide communications and related support, including communications relay, communication security, and communications manpower assistance to the Navy and other Department of Defense elements within the area.”
Since its establishment, the amount of personnel stationed at the NSGA has fluctuated. The original complement was 30, which rose within one year to 59. At times the command was manned by more than 150 personnel.
In 1994 it was announced that due to technological advances and military drawdowns, NSGA Keflavik would cease operation in March and officially close as a command on June 30 of the same year. The Commanding Officer will be the last command member to depart on 24 July 1994. NSGA Keflavik has served the United States and the NATO for over 35 years.
The Last Command Members of NSGA Keflavik:
Commanding Officer: LCDR R. R. Lynch
Executive Officer: LT C. B. Tharrington
Command Master Chief: CTRCM(NAC) C. D. Blalock
CE1 (SCW) Rowton CTM1 Crabtree CTA3 Keller
CTA1 Davis CTM2 Knief CTMCS Easton
CTR3 Lehman CTR3 Bowens CTOCS Gilligan
BU2 Letterman CTR2 Brown CTM2 Goewey
CTM3 McGill CTR3 Burton CTA3 McILwain
CTM1 Gregory CTRC(AW) Hanich CTA3 Meeke
CTM1 Hittle CTM3 Michael CTM2 Hofman
CTM2 Holt CTR1 Pagano SK1 Ihle
CTMC Paterson CTO3 Johnson CTM3 Kaunitz
CTR3 Rhodes CTM2 Richerson CTOSN Ruchert
LTJG Smoak CTOSN Thomas CTM3 T. Waugh
CTA3 Williams CTO1 Williams MS1(SW) Gonzales
CTM3 Barker CTM3 L. Waugh
Last Plan of the Week
Officers in Charge:
LT N. E. Berthier Aug 1958 Aug 1959
LT G. W. Cox Aug 1959 Aug 1960
LT R.J. Hume Aug 1960 Aug 1961
LCDR J. L. Morse Aug 1961 Aug 1962
LT T. L. Kennedy Aug 1962 Aug 1963
LT O. Unterberger Aug 1963 Aug 1964
LT P. P. Kennedy Aug 1964 Nov 1966
LCDR W. L. Luna Nov 1967 Dec 1969
CDR W.L. Luna Nov 1967 Dec 1969
LCDR K. B. Kampen Dec 1969 Jul 1972
LCDR G. R. Johnson Jul 1972 Jul 1975
CDR G. L. Preston Jul 1975 Jul 1977
CDR D. E. Olson Jul 1977 Jul 1979
CDR J. P. Collins Jul 1979 Jul 1981
LCDR D. G. Vaurio Jul 1981 May 1983
LCDR P. A. Mast Jun 1983 Jun 1985
LCDR J. A. Gallina Jun 1985 Jun 1987
CDR J. P. O’Neill Jun 1987 Sep 1989
CDR J. R. Wojdyla Sep 1989 Jun 1992
LCDR R. R. Lynch Jun 1992 Jun 1994
A message from Director National Securty Agency, VADM McConnel to LCDR Lynch:
Edited by Mario Vulcano
21 March 2021 at 23:53
Hello shipmates. I was a CT(R) and In 1964 I worked the HFDF site across the lava fields from NAS KEF. I was in both spaces, the classified and the even more classified. I most remember the times we’d pause on the drive to the site to watch the northern lights. Amazing. As was watching the sun at noon pass behind a mountain peak. So long ago now….question – which barracks in the photo of the base did NSG have the top floor of?
21 January 2022 at 17:36
My name is Paul Rhoton, I was station at Keflavik NAS between Dec 1985 – Dec 1986. I was in the Air Force, and I really enjoyed my stay there. I worked with COMSEC while I was there. Very challenging job.