On October 1, 2014, after 52 years of distinguished service to the Navy, the nation, and its Japanese allies, U.S. Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Misawa was disestablished. Rear Admiral Sean R. Filipowski, presided over a ceremony conducted in the Misawa Air Base officer club, remarked, “NIOC Misawa is, and will always be remembered as a critical strand in our national defense and information dominance fiber. I continue to be impressed by the efforts of the officers, enlisted personnel, and civilians before me, who have well answered all of the Chief of Naval Operations tenets of warfighting first, operating forward, and being ready – you embody his charge,”
Filipowski previously served as the U.S. Naval Security Group Activity (NSGA) Misawa, Japan Executive Officer, 1999-2000. Also in attendance, Rear Admiral (Retired) Alex Miller, a former NSGA Misawa Commanding Officer (September 1993 – August 1996) observed, “Time has passed, the mission has changed, and technology has now provided a new and cheaper means to provide the nation the information it needs. This chapter in Cryptologic support to our nation is coming to an end,” Miller said. “But, it will live on in the minds of those who served here, in the awards they received and the lives their actions saved.”
For more than five decades, Misawa Sailors deployed throughout the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Middle East. These Sailors worked joint missions, served on surface combatants, submarines, and airborne platforms. They fought alongside their joint service brethren in Iraq and Afghanistan and have logged thousands of days deployed and accumulated more than 80,000 flights hours.
To briefly review the remarkable history of NSGA/NIOC Misawa and her Sailors: On January 5, 1962, the U.S. Navy formally established Naval Security Group Detachment (NSGD) Misawa, Japan on the southern shore of Lake Ogawara in Aomori Prefecture, Japan where the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service once practiced with Type 91 “Thunder Fish” aerial torpedoes in preparation for the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
On July 1, 1971, NSGD Misawa was commissioned as NSGA Misawa, Japan and absorbed the mission of NSGA Kemi Seya, Japan which subsequently became a subordinate detachment of NSGA Misawa.
At the height of its existence, NIOC Misawa had over 1,500 Sailors and civilians assigned; at disestablishment there were less than 75 Sailors and civilians assigned.
For 52 years, NIOC Misawa and its Sailors had a direct and lasting impact on the Cold War and numerous combat and contingency operations across the globe with one constant theme – commitment to operational excellence. The command and crews earned numerous unit and individual awards to include: two Navy Unit Commendations, eight Meritorious Unit Commendations, four Gold Anchor Retention Excellence Awards, four Zumalt ‘BOQ/BEQ’ Awards, two On-the-Roof-Gang Awards (Master Chief Cryptologic Technician Interpretive (NAC) Robert J. Bishsir and Master Chief Cryptologic Technician Collections (IDW/SW) Matthew P. Bouchard), and three Travis Trophy Awards.
Of note, four former Commanding Officers (Capt. George P. March, Capt. Paul W. Dillingham Jr., Capt. James S. McFarland and Capt. Alex Miller) were promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral with three of those Admirals subsequently serving a Commander, Naval Security Group Command (March, Dillingham and McFarland).
In addition to the relentless commitment to the Navy and national missions, the NIOC Misawa team established and maintained a tremendous decades long relationship with the local Misawa community and had a significant impact on the community’s welfare over the years.