Naval Ordnance Facility
Yokosuka, Japan - A History
The facility of about 794 acres had three major and one minor storage and operating areas, three of which were located several miles from the main base of Yokosuka; the Uraga (Taura) Magazine area of about 44 acres was five miles northwest of Fleet Activities, Yokosuka, the Ikego Magazine
Area of about 706 acres was five miles to the north of Yokosuka, the Azuma Magazine area of about 39 acres (Azuma Island) lies three miles northwest of Fleet Activities, Yokosuka, and the "J" Area containing five acres, which was located within the physical boundaries of the main gate.
During the period 1945 through 1948, there was no Naval Ordnance Facility (NOF), as such, in the Yokosuka area, but an Ordnance Department was established within U.S. Fleet Activities, Yokosuka. The Department had a limited staff and magazines in the "J" Area on the Yokosuka Base, with a mission for emergency resupply of U.S. Fleet units.
On 11 August 1945, the secretary of the Navy transferred management control of the NOF from CNO to BUORD and designated the facility as part of the Ordnance Shore Establishment. At this time, the mission of the facility was extended to include the storage, overhaul, repair, and issue of acoustic torpedoes. This function, which previously had been the responsibility of the Ship Repair Facility, Yokosuka, was assigned to the NOF's Underwater Ordnance Division located on Azuma Island.
On 5 January 1949, the U.S. Naval Ordnance Facility, Yokosuka, was established as a separate command. At this time the mission of the facility was extended to include responsibility for storage, overhaul, repair, and issue of mines.
With the NOF as a separate command, an advanced base mine unit was ordered from Saipan to Yokosuka. A portion of Azuma Island in Yokosuka Harbor was assigned to the facility for carrying out its responsibilities in the field on mines. Existing Japanese surface and underground magazines on Azuma Island were used for mine storage, but new facilities were constructed by the U.S. Navy for the production, assembly, and overhaul of mines.
The outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, found NOF unable to handle the tremendous logistic requirements for an active wartime fleet. Early efforts to find more stowage space led to the acquisition of Uraga (Taura), Kinugasa, and Kurihama magazine stowage areas, all located several miles from the main base of Yokosuka. Additional office and shop spaces were constructed in the magazine areas as required. Principal construction was in the Uraga (Taura) area where an administration building, transportation shops, and maintenance shops were built.
Movement of ammunition stocks, equipment, and personnel into the new magazine areas was made during 1951 and 1953, and the command headquarters was moved from Yokosuka Base to the Uraga (Taura) Magazine Area in early 1953.
On 1 July 1958, BUORD delegated administrative control over funds and personnel for NOF Yokosuka to COMSERVPAC. Except for this relatively minor change, the mission and physical plant of the facility remained essentially the same in 1959 as they were in 1954.
On 7 October 1959, the title of Officer-in-Charge, U.S. Naval Ordnance Facility, Yokosuka, was changed to Commanding Officer. On 3 August 1970, the Ikego Magazine and stowage area was acquired from the U.S. Army.
On 1 July 1971, the NOF was disestablished. Most military and civilian employees were transferred to other facilities or released and the activity became the Ordnance Division of CFAY Operations Department.
On 1 January 1972, the Ordnance Division became the Ordnance Department. In March of the same year, the Kinugasa and Kurihama magazine areas were vacated and given back to Japanese control. Also, the Ikego administration area was turned over to the Japanese on 20 December of the same year.
The Uraga (Taura) area of 44 acres with 23 magazines was negotiated with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force that allowed the U.S. portion to remain approximately 23 acres with ten magazines, plus administrative and maintenance facilities. All pier facilities remained under U.S. control.
The Azuma area of 39 acres had five magazines with the capability for storage of mines, electric torpedoes and warheads for steam and electric torpedoes. In addition, there were several buildings previously used for overhaul and assembly. Other facilities included block houses and caves constructed by the Japanese and temporary Butler-type buildings. Many of the magazines were rehabilitated air raid structures. There were also two docks and a LCU ramp capable of handling small craft.
Submitted by LCDR Don DeCrona, USN (Ret.)
The Early Years (Pt I)
The Early Years (Pt II)
The Early Years (Pt
The Early Years (Pt
The Early Years (Pt
CWO-1 William "Bill" (Gunner) Holloway
Hartshorn - ©2009-present