“NAVFAC Nicosia was totally a NAVSECGRU site.”
The U.S. Naval Facility (NAVFAC) Nicosia, Cyprus was located near the village of Yerolakkos, just outside of the capitol city of Nicosia. The NAVFAC was commissioned in June, 1957. Following a turbulent period from 1964 to 1974, including the apparent breakdown of relations between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, the Naval Facility was closed on April 23, 1974. Yerolakkos was a nearly exclusively Greek Cypriot and relatively large village, and it was the site of intensive fighting during the Turkish invasion in 1974. Yerolakkos is immediately to the north of the ceasefire line, known as the Green line, separating North and South Cyprus. The village of Yerolakkos now lies in the area occupied by the Turkish military.
The following is from CTO2/CTI1/CDR Chaplain Robert N. “Bob” Edwards of North Port, FL. Retired in April 1993, Bob served two tours at Nicosia, first was from September 1963 to March 1964, and the second tour was from August 1970 – July 1972.
“NAVFAC Nicosia was totally a NAVSECGRU site. It was just that it was so highly classified that it was designated a NAVFAC. Everyone was assigned to the American Embassy and everyone wore civilian clothes, per the agreement with the Cypriot government. During the times I was there, we never had a Navy uniform inspection, although I think they were done at various times, but always wore civilian attire to and from the location. The Operations and Admin buildings were located about 6 miles to the north and west of Nicosia, in a village called Yerolakkos. There was a two story building which contained the Operations Department on the top floor. My first tour was cut short due to all personnel being evacuated with the exception of a small handful. We had no exchange nor commissary; everything was bought on the local economy. Medical care was provided by a Navy doctor and staff at the embassy. During my first tour of duty, the Navy had a hotel that was built to house single men. Prior to that everyone lived in the local community. When I returned for my second tour of duty, they had built an American compound where the singles lived, on the north side of the city. There we had a swimming pool, softball field, and a gymnasium. The gym was where official gatherings were conducted.”