In July 1995, Naval Security Group activity (NSGA) Adak was slated for closure under the Base Realignment and Closure Act and deactivated on January 31, 1996. At the time of deactivation approximately 500 military and 50 civilian personnel were on the island. Officially, the military mission ended on March 31, 1997, and the station closed.
Naval Security Group Activity (NSGA) Adak’s history dates back to the early days of World War II in the Pacific. Shortly after Japan bombed Dutch Harbor, located on Unalaska Island east of Adak near the mainland, and occupied the Aleutian Islands of Attu and Kiska, located to the west of Adak, the Navy established two major naval installation on Adak to counter the Japanese threat, Naval Air Station in May 1943 and Naval Operating Base in July 1943. In September 1943, the Naval Communication Supplementary Activity, Adak, NSGA Adak’s progenitor organization, was established to provide communications support to the location forces. The original activity, consisting of eight men, operated out of Quonset huts through the war’s conclusion until June 1948 when a new communication facility was constructed to replace the temporary wartime structures.
The Naval Communications Supplementary Activity was decommissioned in October 1951 and immediately replaced by Naval Communications Station (NAVCOMMST) Adak as a separate command on the island. Construction of the Circularly Disposed Antenna Array (CDAA) Operations Facility started probably between 1962 and 1963. During the next decade, the command’s telecommunications and cryptologic mission continued to grow. On April 1, 1977, after nearly twenty-six years as an active telecommunications site, NAVCOMMSTA Adak was decommissioned and Naval Security Group Activity, Adak was commissioned, growing to a major command of over 700 military personnel assigned. The end of the Cold War, coupled with the high cost of sustaining operations, placed NSGA Adak under consideration for Navy downsizing.
NSGA Adak began downsizing by terminating manual Morse collection operations in November 1993. A full scale drawdown effort occurred throughout 1994 with the closing of the Naval Telecommunications Center in January 994, the transfer of Company I Marine Support Battalion in May 1994, and the termination of Special Communications and High Frequency Direction Finding Operations in December 1994. The command closure effort peaked in 1995, and the Telecommunications Department becoming a detachment of Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station, Puget Sound on September 30, 1995. NSGA Adak achieved final facilities closure, detached all remaining personnel, and formally decommissioned on January 31, 1996. Coming full circle, all that remains is a small 15 man detachment supporting telecommunications operations on Mount Moffett until January 1998.
Source: NSGA Adak Decommissioning Booklet
24 May 2019 at 20:13
I served there from Feb 1976 thru Jan 1977 at NCS/NSGA Adak in the Personnel Office. Norm Goyette
17 June 2019 at 13:39
I served there December 1982 – January 1984.
Character building. Yes. Stress relief, learned to read for pleasure.
CACO. Administrated 3 post-suicide investigations. Averted 2 more.
Cold War. Yes. Cool assignment. Pun intended.
6 February 2020 at 16:50
USMC Company I Marine Support Battalion NSGA from 1982 to 1984. Manual Morse Intercept Operator.
23 May 2020 at 22:09
Morse intercept operator July 1958-July 1959. Salmon fishing for fun.
16 August 2020 at 22:53
I knew a lots of guys that were stationed on Adak back in the day. I was over a mile or two to the east on Cape Chiniak, Kodiak Island. We had maybe 35 there, they had several hundred, I guess. We were out in the woods, they were….well….out in the ocean.
6 January 2021 at 21:13
I served there from February 1955 to February 1956.
14 February 2021 at 17:17
I served at the COMSTA from January 4 1971 to January 24 1972/worked on second floor of P-62 as the TPL clerk for the Command/Lt Mellott was our boss and Senior Chief Burleson was our NCO/ I lived in Dorm J cube one with Paul Heller and Kenny Dukes and one other ET/I worked the crab processing and catcher boats at Finger Bay/I umpired the softball games for our really short SB season for Special Services/I enjoyed going to the Coffee House in an old building at Naval Station/the USO shows were wonderful and the people I served with were the best/spent some time with the members of the Adak Auto Club/ a group of Hot Robbers who use to race on one of the abandoned air strips/good times with good people…….CYN-SN Joe Bolwahn
15 February 2021 at 04:33
Joe – Please explain the CYN rating. Thank you
27 February 2021 at 21:01
back in the old days the Navy decided to split Yeoman and Radioman/guess they thought it would catch on/”A” School was at Schools Command Norfolk, Va. and I was there in the spring of ’70/late in ’71 the Navy decided to end that designation and go back to RM or YN (you had to choose)/I got my “crow” on April 1 of ’72 and went RM/others went YN if they had had enough of Day Mid Eves on Adak at the Com Centers.
24 February 2022 at 03:24
I was stationed on Adak October 71 to October 72 worked at p70 receiver site. Made myself a private quarters sometimes on top floor of p70 they stored old tty there. And mattresses, so I took the key and sneezed up once in a while before day shift and bunked right there!! Remember channel 8 Adak only tv station, recreation hall behind quarterdeck galley up the hall then gym up further. Ex RM2.
1 July 2022 at 11:39
During your stay there, you may have heard some of my Saturday afternoon radio shows on good ‘ole radio 89. At least until the end of May, when my tour on Adak ended.
11 March 2021 at 04:43
Had a fun tour there, the ecology was unique and there was a lot of stuff for kids to do.
12 April 2021 at 00:03
I was the CO of Company I, Marine Support Bn. from Aug 74 until Aug 75 out at NavComSta. Capt. Mike Moylan was my XO and Staff Sergeant Artie Thompson was in charge of all the 0141 duties. It was a good tour to end my Marine Corps career. My family loved it there, especially my 2 children, ages 10 and 12. The children and myself are going back to Adak in August 2021. Unfortunately, my wife of 60 years is now in an Alzheimer’s care facility. The children(now 57 and 59) are very excited about the trip. I am 86 now, but looking forward to it.
Major Raul B. Brown, USMC (Ret)
30 April 2022 at 00:22
Major Brown !,
Random thoughts today brought me to search for information on my “stay” in Adak and suddenly, there you were. This is Sgt Paul Cooper who was there from February 1974 to March 1975. If memories are distant, I was awarded a Meritorious Mast following the first IG Inspection of our Company. You were a great CO and I admired your style of command.
Over the years I have attempted to recollect some of the others who were there during the first year of Marines being re-deployed to Adak since 1957. My list is:
Robert P Wilhelm Jr
Jim Comer (now deceased)
Ron Haberkorn and
Have not had contact with any of the above unfortunately.
I finished university with a degree in Accounting, worked in manufacturing, healthcare finance, data base administration, and commercial real estate appraising. I am also a Ham radio enthusiast (KD7KCV) and maintain my Rifleman skills with an M1 Garand (a year younger than me) and a Springfield M1a (the M14 equivalent).
Sorry to hear about your wife. Took care of my Mother with Alzheimer’s at home for 8 years until she passed last year at the age of 93. (Retreat ? Hell, we just got here ! said some stubborn Jarhead) Avoided Memory Care Unit and called in Home Hospice Care for the last two months. I am all too familiar with the ravages of dementia for the patient and the caregivers. I was able to break through momentarily from time to time with humor at wake-up; we had some great laughs and wonderful contact with the inner person suffering inside.
Was also able to use the Amygdala where painful and pleasurable memories are retained for survival purposes. That portion of the brain appears not to be affected by the plaques. Never had to tell her what her favorite ice cream (coffee) was or how to use a spoon. She lived in Germany for four years and HATED it. However, tangential memories surrounding that topic could be retrieved. Music therapy didn’t work for her but I had direct experience with other patients that did respond. One actually sang along with me and the music “Making Whoopee”; at the end she looked at me, smiled and said “I like making whoopee”. Complicated melodies, lyrics, emotions – oh my. Hope persists in odd places.
I made it to age 70 a few months back, which snuck up on me. Last week visited San Diego for the Zoo, Safari Park, MCRD, Air and Transportation Museum, and the Model Rail Road Museum. I graduated MCRD 50 years ago on May 5th. My that tempus doth fugit.
Heading to British Columbia and the northwestern states later this year, COVID permitting. I suspect you are living in Anchorage or maybe the Northwest; would love to have dinner with you if available. My current abode is in Phoenix, Arizona and my comms are firstname.lastname@example.org and 602.373.5164 or 602.831.4967.
I read that you are going back to the Adak (last year ?) Hope Reeves Aleutian has upgraded their fleet of mid-60s Lockheed Electras for inter-island flights. Saw them on TV (History Channel – Ice Pilots) and they still have a few in service, along with C-47s and DC-3s.
Happy landings and 73s,
145 W Surrey Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85029
8 May 2021 at 22:07
Was stationed at NavComSta in ’66 & ’67. Flew in via Reeves Aleutian Airways. I actually enjoyed my time there, fishing, hiking, sight seeing and exploring many old WWII bunkers. Several of us got together and would go out to the dump behind our barracks in the evenings and start a bonfire. Then we would shoot the rat population by firelight as they were scavenging in the dump. Learned to scuba dive in the pool “downtown” and did spend some time in a bowling league.
1 June 2021 at 02:27
I was there from 1976 to 1977. Was there during the changeover from NCS to NSGA and was a plank owner. Got a nice little certificate. Adak is a beautiful place but so isolated. If your head wasn’t right when you got there it could be a rough tour. Alcoholism was a big problem when I was there. I hated it when I got there but fell in love with it over time. Good memories.
3 November 2021 at 03:05
I was there from July 1961 to July 1962. Worked at the DF shack and loved it.
Operated the amateur radio station a lot, call sighn KL7AIZ.
10 December 2021 at 03:40
Major Brown, I hope this reply finds you doing well, and you had a successful trip back to Adak.
You promoted me to Sergeant – December 1, 1974 and were responsible for awarding me with a Meritorious Mast, also in December of 1974. We played on the “B” basketball team (I was terrible), and you seemed to foul out early.
You have been a constant inspiration for me!
During my tour in Adak, I had upset an Ensign and Chief. You gathered some intel (I believe with the help of our Gunnery Sgt.) on the situation, and summoned me to your office where you said “I always admired a turtle… because in order to get anywhere he has to stick his neck out.” I knew you had my back.
You also gave me my “reenlistment” talk. My response was “If the Marine Corps was serious about me reenlisting, Adak AK would not have been my last duty station” I believed you laughed and asked me what I was going to do. My response was “I am going to college.” Your response was “aim high.” I earned a BS in Dec of 1977, then started Information Technology work in the Oil and Gas Industry, went back part time to earn an MBA by1981, and in 1988 earned a PhD in Information Systems from the University of Houston, and left industry for academia.
I am now retired as Professor Emeritus at the University of South Florida, Tampa FL. I am still working with Dissertations in the Muma College of Business and am currently Board Chair of the USF Federal Credit Union.
Life has been full – and I still try to aim high. I remember your words often.
Thank you for your support when needed and your life long inspiration.
https://www.usf.edu/business/about/bios/will-richard.aspx (older site)
1 July 2022 at 11:35
I was there from June 1, 1970, until 1 yr, 22 hrs and 15 minutes later, i.e. from plane landing until plane takeoff.
I was a CTM2 whose primary billet was working on the GSQ-76A (Tebo) units. They never broke.
Off time was spent bowling at the four lane alley. Unfortunately, most times you threw a ball down and then had to go down and fix the machine. Adak is where I learned how AMF bowling machines worked.
But, my major off time was spent on weekends doing an oldies radio show. I talked my way into getting a 1.5 hour show late Sundays. That only lasted a short while before Denny Woytek moved me to a two-hour Saturday afternoon show. Later he extended my show to three hours. I recorded all of my shows on 7″ reel-to-reel tape.
I took many 35mm slides while I was there. Including photos of the burned out bowling alley, I suspect I wasn’t supposed to in the building, but there was no one to stop me. One of these days I’ll have all my photos put up on my website.
One of the sayings there is that after a snowstorm, you have about three days to get your photos before the snow is gone. So very true.
I do not remember when it exactly happened, but one Saturday I went in to do my radio show and there was a sign on the booth widow that said not to discuss the submarine that arrived. There were all kinds of guesses as to why it was there. During my next work shift, I went down to the come room and asked why the sub was here. Turns out, it was in Russian waters and had their conning tower hit. To this day I do not know if they were chased, or just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was a secret. But, in Dec of 71, Life Magazine had an issue on ElInt and sure enough, in the article was a description of this sub. No idea how they learned about it. But there it was in print. I watched the sub leave. It headed northeast of Adak.
As I got o the end of my tour, the old B&W tv station (the equipment was junk) was being replaced with a new color equipment, in a new studio across the hall from the existing studio. I left before it was operational.
While I was there, I went through two earthquakes. One of which happened while I was on the air doing my show. Since the studio was in the building on the “rock,” the needle did not skip across the record. But I felt it. The people in the flatland, certainly felt it. The second one happened while I was in my room listening to a record. Yep, the needle skipped that time.
Well, that is some of the stuff I remember while I was there.
12 February 2023 at 04:54
I was at NCS from July 1969 to May 1970. I got my amateur radio license there and operated KL7AIZ.
CTT2 George Schneider
25 April 2023 at 00:24
Ct3 shotgun may 65 to June 66
25 April 2023 at 00:26
CT3 shotgun may 65 to June 66 good times