The NSG moved from Tengan to Futenma in July 1955. According to Captain George McGinnis, who was the commanding officer at Futenma from August 1957 to June 1959, ‘the US Army wanted the site at Tengan so some ignorant Navy type in Tokyo swapped the good site [at Tengan] for the very poor one at Futenma’.
In return, the Army built an administration building and two or three small additional buildings to leave for the Navy. Futenma was a full-fledged D/F and intercept site, although it consisted of only a few intercept positions and an Army mobile DF system. According to McGinnis, ‘we were pretty small potatoes.’
In 1957-59, McGinnis, together with Jack Jennings, the senior linguist in the Operations Department, instituted an airborne COMINT collection operation using P-2V aircraft from Patrol Squadron 4 (VP-4) at Naha. The aircraft were fitted with an assortment of antennas. The program involved about two or three operational flights per month, starting with day-long stop-overs in Taiwan or Hong Kong. They then orbited off the Chinese coast for a few hours before returning to Naha.
Jack Jennings, who succeeded McGinnis as commander in August 1959, has said that ‘at this point, our airborne effort, which had achieved only marginal success, was not very active.’ The NSG Activity at Futenma was downsizing, although operations continued at a much reduced level.
McGinnis believed that the Futenma site was completely unsuitable for NSG purposes. It was located in the midst of many Okinawan homes, right in the middle of a village with the houses adjacent to our operations building. Before he departed in 1959, he had persuaded the NSG that a new site was necessary to accommodate the new large
AN/FRD-10 CDAA HFDF being planned, and was instrumental in the selection of Sobe as the site for the new station close to Yomitan airfield and on a bluff overlooking the East China Sea. McGinnis later said that, from his ‘personal point of view’, ‘the site chosen was also not very good’. However, it had the major advantage of co-location with the Army at Torii Station, just south of the new site. Preparation of the new site was underway when McGinnis left Okinawa in August 1959. The NSG Activity at Futenma ceased when the new site at Sobe, NSGA Hanza, opened in August 1960.
However, the NSG maintained a transmitter facility at Futenma for use by Camp Hanza. In early 1964, the NSG asked Congress to provide funding in the FY 1965 defense budget ($90,000) for a small [400 square feet] transmitter building and associated antennas at Futenma to serve Hanza’s participation in the world-wide Classic Bullseye HFDF network. In 1966, it sought $240,000 for a much larger Operations Building at Futenma.
Source: Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, 23 December 2015