The Kami Seya station suffered a terrible fire on the night of 23-24 September 1965.
The fire destroyed most of the Operations Complex adjacent to the Tunnel, including Building 25 near the entrance, and severely damaged operational areas inside the Tunnel. Twelve men died; they were the Officer-of-the-Deck, ten Morse code Intercept Operators (including two Marines), and a Russian linguist. The R-390A radio receivers that could be salvaged were taken by bus to the NSAPAC facility at Camp Fuchinobe. One of the NSG operators said that it was strange, seeing the NSA employees in ties doing the same job we did. Other personnel were temporarily transferred to Misawa, Hanza in Okinawa, and other places that could handle the load.
In November 1965, Project Running Light was organized to construct, ‘on an urgent basis, four new buildings to replace Building 25 and other parts of the operations complex destroyed in the fire. These were completed during 1966. A 1,700-square feet Communications Addition was also constructed. A new receiver site was also established during 1966.
By December 31, 1966, there were 81 officers and 1,270 enlisted men stationed at NSGA Kami Seya, with another 23 officers and 360 enlisted men stationed at detachments assigned to Kami Seya. Company E of the Marine Support Battalion that were attached to the NSGA, had four officers and 115 enlisted Marines.
USS PUEBLO Capture
The NSGA at Kami Seya had a Direct Support (DIRSUP) unit, also called the 5th Division, which provided the personnel for airborne, ship-borne and submarine SIGINT collection operations in the Far East. Six men from Kami Seya were aboard the USS Pueblo, the US Navy’s SIGINT ship captured by the North Koreans in January 1968, comprised of four NSG CTs and two Marine sergeants. The Marines were assigned as Korean linguists, although they barely knew the language. While the Pueblo was dock-side at Yokosuka in December-January being prepared for its patrol, all its CTs were sent to Kami Seya for training, apart from six who went to the PACOM ELINT Center at Fuchu. During the seizure of the vessel, the DF systems at Kami Seya recorded the ship’s position as well beyond North Korean waters.
The Kami Seya station suffered another tragedy on April 14, 1969, when North Korean fighter aircraft shot down an EC-121M SIGINT aircraft, flown by the VQ-1 Squadron based at Atsugi, on an ELINT collection mission along North Korea’s eastern coast. Nine men were from NSGA Kami Seya’s Direct Support Unit were aboard the aircraft, including two from Hakata
who were on temporary duty at Kami Seya.
Kami Seya Largest Overseas Site
By December 31, 1969, the NSG station occupied 586 acres and was staffed by 1,652 personnel, of who 1,370 performed NSG functions. The mission of the NSGA at Kami Seya was officially described as being to provide direct and timely Naval Security Group Support to the fleet in the Pacific. Primarily this support consists of HFDF, COMSEC and other Naval Security Group functions.
Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, 23 December 2015