ASA Chitose Association Inc.
Chitose History and events leading up to it
                 
Group Historian Roy VanOrder

History of Kuma Station, Chitose, Hokkaido, Japan

                                 Chitose is located in the mid-western part of the Japanese island of Hokkaido. To the west is the mountainous Shikotsu portion of Shikotsu-Toya National Park.
                                To the east are hills utilized for agriculture and forestry.

From 1946, the host site was the U.S. Army 12th Security Agency Field Station (USASAFS) Chitose, Hokkaido, Japan. In September 1937, Chitose Airport was established as a Flying Corps Base for the Japanese Navy. From 1939, Chitose was a Japanese Imperial Navy auxiliary airfield; until Japan's surrender in 1945, ending World War II.

In September, 1945, the first U.S. troops, the U.S. Army's 77th Infantry Division, (fought on Okinawa) arrived on Hokkaido. During the period 1945-1949, U.S. Army Security Agency (USASA) operational units arrived at Wakkanai, on the island of Hokkaido, the northernmost city in Japan. The Army Security Agency took over 184 acres, and antennas began sprouting from a 1229-acre stretch of southern Hokkaido, four miles southwest of Chitose.

Beginning in 1946, The 12th USASAFS, was located on the island of Hokkaido under various U.S. Army unit designations. From 1946, the predecessors of the 12th were located at Chitose I, which was occupied successively by elements of the 11th Airborne Division, the 7th Infantry Division, the 45th Infantry Division and the 1st Cavalry Division. In April, 1951, USASA operations moved to Kuma Station on Chitose I.

In November 1951, the USASAFS unit was billeted at Chitose II, an area five miles from the Chitose Air Base. This area was a quonset hut development, constructed for the 45th Infantry Division. During 1952, the 45th Infantry Division replaced the 1st Cavalry Division in Korea, and the latter became the 12th's new neighbor.

In the spring of 1954 the 1st Cavalry Division was transferred to Honshu, the main island of Japan, and the Japanese Ground Self Defense Forces occupied this area. The departure of the 1st Cavalry Division, the U.S. Air Force took over support functions for all U.S. forces on Hokkaido. On November 15, 1956, the USASA unit on Kuma Station was redesignated the 12th USASA Field Station (USASAFS).

In 1958, there was a draw down of the U.S. Air Force forces at Chitose AB, and The 12th USASAFS assumed support functions for all U.S. forces on Hokkaido. In December,1967, the 12th USASAFS was redesignated as USASAFS Chitose. On June 30, 1972, the Kuma Station at Chitose was closed and the U.S. Army 12th Security Agency Field Station (USASAFS) at Chitose was disbanded.

Chitose Air Base is now a Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) base located adjacent to the New Chitose Airport. It is the JASDF's primary base in northern Japan and tasked with monitoring Japan's maritime borders with Russia. It was also Hokkaido's primary civilian airport until the opening of New Chitose Airport in 1988. The new airport began operating on July 20, 1988.



Chronological Events

Date(s)

Event

Source
1929-1942 Signal Intelligence Service 1
prior to WW II   Seven fixed intercept stations:
No. 1 -- Fort Hancock, NJ, USA
No. 2 -- Presidio District San Francisco, CA, USA
No. 3 -- Fort Sam Houston, Texas
No. 4 -- Corozal, Panama Canal Zone
No. 5 -- Fort Shafter, (USA) Territory of Hawaii
No. 6 -- Fort McKinley, Philippine Islands
No. 7 -- Fort Hunt, Virginia, USA
2
June-July 1942 Signal Intelligence Division and Signal Security Branch 1
Aug. 1942 Central Bureau (Brisbane Australia) established.  MacArthur's "forward command center" for singals intelligence  in Pacific theater under command Col. A. Sinkov.  Controlled many disperesed units including Army units assigned to (ship board) 5th Fleet and Army Air Corps (1st Radio Squadron, Mobile) 4
July 1942-July 1943 Signal Security Service era 1
July 1943- Sept.1945 Signal Security Agency era 1
By end of WW II  Eleven fixed intercept stations:

No.   1 -- Vint Hill Farms, Warrenton, VA, USA
No.   2 -- Two Rock Ranch, Petaluma, CA USA
No.   3 -- Indian Creek Station, Miami Beach, FL, USA
No.   4 -- ......
No.   5 -- Fort Shafter, (USA) Territory of Hawaii
No.   6 -- Amchitka, (USA) Territory of Alaska, Aleutian Islands
No.   7 -- Fairbanks, (USA) Territory of Alaska
No.   8 -- ......
No.   9 -- Bellmore, Long Island, NY, USA
No. 10 -- Tarzana, CA, USA
No. 11 -- Territory of Guam

2
Aug. 14, 1945 WW II ends
Sept. 15, 1945 Army Security Agency established 1
WW II:    Chitose is an auxillary airfield for Japanese Imperial Navy
Sept., 1945:    First US troops, 77th Inf. Div. (fought on Okinawa)  arrive on Hokkaido
1945-1949: ASA operational units arrive in this time period. "At Wakkanai on the island of Hokkaido, the northermost city in the empire, ... the Army Security Agency took over 184 acres ... Like tall gray weeds, more antennas began sprouting from a 1229-acre stretch of southern Hokkaido, four miles southwest of Chitose." 3
Dec., 1945:   77th replaced by 11th Airborne Div..  Chitose airfield manned by field
artillery unit of each div. in turn
Jan. 1946-
June 1946  
49th Fighter Group (from Atsugi) stationed at Chitose.  P-51s, lead by Col Herbert Grills.

6

Late 1948: 11th disbanded.  7th Infantry rotated out of Korea to Hokkaido
By 1949:   7th is stationed primarilly at Camp Crawford - 10 miles due west of
downtown Sapporo
Jan., 1950: ASA's 51st Signal Service Det transferred to Chitose
Aug., 1950: 7th back to Korea - replaced by 45th Inf. Div. (from OK).
45th  first unit to station substantial number of troops in Chitose
1951   51st SSD redesignated as the 356th Communications Recon. Company

5

Circa 1951: US Army builds Bullet Road (Dangan Doori - paved - 2 lanes) from
Otaru to Sapporo via Chitose, Tomamomai, and Muroran
Circa 1951: Tachikawa-Chitose air service running.  Mix of USAF and Air America (contract Nationalist Chinese crews) flights - on mostly unheated C-47s on VFR
Spring, 1951: ASA operations moved into what became Kuma Station on Chitose I
April 1951: Field Station, 8612th Admin Area Unit organized at Kuma Station
Dec. 1951: 45th to Korea.  1st Cav. moves in
Nov. 4, 1952  National Security Agency established 3
1954:   1st Cav. disbanded.  USAF takes over support function for all US forces on Hokkaido
*Dec1954   Fire in OPS.  Building burned to ground The date of the fire is given as December 29, 1954 in Ron Dakin's account in our Bear Tales section.
June 1953-1956 4th USAF Fighter Wing at Chitose I
Summer 1956:    New construction on site
Nov. 15, 1956: Redesignated 12th USASA Field Station
circa 1957: Brick OPS building, gym, and bowling alley open.  First computer installed
Fall 1957: All US forces out of Camp Crawford
1958:      Draw down of USAF at Chitose AB. 12th USASAFS assumes support functions for US forces on Hokkaido
Fall 1962: AFRS-TV comes to Chitose 
Dec., 1967: 12th USASAFS redesignated USASAFS Chitose
June 30, 1972: Station closed
1976: ASA disbanded - INSCOM becomes successor
Sept., 1989 First reunion held, Niles Ohio - 16 people in attendance

//Sources:

//1.  The Origin and Development of the Army Security Agency 1917-1947 (Aegean Park Press)
//2. Achievements of the Signal Security Agency in World War II(Aegean Park Press)
//3. The Puzzle Palace (Penguin Books, James Bamford)
//4. The Codebreakers (Signet Book, David Kahn)
//5. Miles Miller (51st SSD/356th CRC)
//6. Guy Watson Flight Leader & Post Engineer

Thanks also to: Mark Scott, the INSCOM historian, Clark Halstead, Leonard, and Duane Christenson, Jim Brock

Personal observations  and contributiuons of an historical nature are very much welcomed           asachitose@aol.com or asachitose@gmail.com      Thanks   Phil Peters



HISTORICAL UPDATE .
In recent years, we've been able to add to our library of Chitose publications (CONFIDENTIAL/COURIER) and an update is in order along with a plea for H E L P in finding missing pubs!!!
From what I can determine, prior to 1960 the CONFIDENTIALS were in tabloid format except as noted below. From 1960, the CONFIDENTIALS and COURIERS were printed in a magazine format. Our CURRENT holdings follow:

Chitose CONFIDENTIAL

Recent inventory of the copies of the Chitose Confidential are as follows:.

1954…. Missing Feb and Nov issues.

1955…. Missing April, and July thru Dec issues

1956……Missing Feb, and Oct thru Dec issues

1957…….Missing Jan, March thru June, and Aug thru Oct

1958-….No issues

1959 Missing all issues except Oct and Nov

1960… Complete

1961.. Missing Jan thru April, July, Sept. Nov and Dec

1962….Missing Feb, Mar, July, Oct, and Nov

1963….Missing Mar., May, June, July, Oct thru Dec.

1964….Missing Feb, July, Nov

1965… Complete

1966….Missing Aug

1967… Complete

1968.. Missing April, and Dec

1969….. Missing May thru July, and Oct and Nov

1970… Missing Jan, Feb, April, July, Aug thru Nov


The following article was copied verbatim from the July 5, 1957 Chitose Confidential:

(Ed. note: The following article is an excerpt from the records of the unit historian files, containing in brief the history of the unit since it was begun in 1946.  The article is offered for the benefit of the many new personnel arriving for duty at the 12th in hope it will enlighten them and make them more aware of the function of the 12th in the present day here on the island of Hokkaido.)

The 12th US ASA Field Station has been located on the island of Hokkaido, under various military designations, since 1946.  From 1946 to September of 1951 the predecessors of the 12th were located at Chitose I, which was occupied successively by elements of the 11th Airborne Division, 7th Infantry Division, 45th Infantry Division and the 1st Cavalry Division.

In November 1951, the unit was billeted at Chitose II, and an area five miles from the present Chitose Air Base.  This new area was a quonset-type development constructed for the 45th Infantry Division.  During 1952, the 45th Infantry Division replaced the 1st Cavalry Division in Korea, and the latter became the 12th's new neighbor. In the spring of 1954 the 1st Cavalry Division was transferred to Honshu, the main island of Japan, and the Japanese Ground Self Defense Forces occupied this area.

During the Korean Conflict, the 12th functioned as a supporting unit responsible to the Chief, ASA Far East.

In June and July of 1956 construction projects were were begun to improve this station's effectiveness and improve the welfare of it's personnel.  At the present time, projects are underway to provide a hot water heating system in all the billets, a new gymnasium, a theater, bowling alley and a craft shop.

Email for this web site should be sent to asachitose@aol.com or asachitose@gmail.com