Kagnew Station Patch

Kagnew Station
Tract F

Aerial view of Tract F

This page is devoted to the Navy's Tract F.

If you have something you would like to add please let me know.

New!15 Jan 2023

Lee Thurner (NavCommSta 67-69) has sent in an edited version of Larry Bucher's entry from his memory of Tract F. Out of respect for Larry I have left his observation intact and have a Word document (scanned for viruses)you can download here to view Larry's comments. If you have trouble getting this document and I will get it to you....Ricki

Lee also sent in a photo of the Navy Seabees during construction of the Administration and Supply building at Tract F.

Tract F was occupied by the navy in 1961. If I was on a quiz show and had to take a wild guess at the month, I'd say April. The operations building ran roughly east to west with a central corridor of the same orientation. Entrance to the site, and the building, was from the east. On the right side of the center corridor was first a small lounge, then the navy relay (RBQA?), then Special Communications (supersecret, those within forbidden to talk about what they did -- but from one clue and another we figured out that it was comms with the Polaris-missile submarines), and finally circuit control. I think the COMSEC Custodian's vault could be entered only through circuit control. On the left side of the corridor were a couple of rooms devoted to electronics and teletype repair, a head, an office housing the operations officer, operations chief, and operations yeoman, and last the message center (largest space in the building) -- tape cutting, message reproduction and distribution, ship-shore comms, fleet broadcast, and the desks of communications watch officer, traffic officer, and traffic chief. At the end of the corridor double doors opened out to our nearby incinerator.

The next-largest building, on the right (north) side of the compound, was completed a few months later. I remember movies being shown there in late 1961 but the navy admin offices had not yet moved from tract A, I assume that move was made soon after, in 1962. It contained offices of the captain, exec, admin officer, a mailroom, large admin/personnel office where the yeomen and personnelmen worked, education & training office, small auditorium/theater, offices and spaces for supply and for public works.

There was a row of smaller buildings along the south side of the compound but I don't remember anything about their uses.

Before moving to tract F the navy occupied a small corner of tract C; as you entered the compound it was at the right rear of the building. The same functions mentioned in the message center of tract F were there except that the relay (and everything else) was unclassified only -- there was an adjoining crypto center but it had no circuits (? - my memory could be at fault here) and was mostly handled by junior officers. We also had a small quonset hut off that right rear corner, partitioned in two. Half of it belonged to the electronic technicians, the other housed ship-shore CW and a couple day workers.

Consider the foregoing to be "as best as I can remember". There are probably a few inaccuracies/mistakes somewhere in it.

courtesy of Larry Bucher
59-61, 69-71, 93-95
US Navy NavCommSta Tract C, Tract F
U.S. Embassy

In June, 1961, Kagnew's naval unit became a full-fledged communications station, and Navy receiver operations moved out of Tract C and into Tract F.

Source: History of Kagnew Station by John Rasmuson, 1973