Corea NAVSECGRU

The US Naval Security Group (NAVSECGRU) was an organization withing the US Navy tasked with intelligence gathering.  A large part of this was signals intelligence (SIGINT) gathering, cryptology, and information assurance.  NAVSECGRU was active from 1935 to 2005 when it was folded into the Naval Network Warfare Command (NETWARCOM).  

SIGINT is intelligence gathering by interception of signals between people (communications intelligence, aka COMINT) or electronic signals not used for direct communications (electronic intelligence, aka ELINT).  Sensitive information is generally encrypted and this is where cryptologists would enter the equation.

Often times, the US would fly planes near sensitive Soviet Bloc countries to arouse suspicion and cause the Soviets to use their radar and communications systems.  The ELINT specialists would then soak up as much information as they could, interpret it, and send it off to the appropriate parties within the military to give us a better understanding of the Soviets' capabilities.

Corea served the US Navy not only as an important site for SIGINT but also as a training ground for the entire Classic Wizard System globally, for maintenance, tuning, support, and operation, with the last class graduating in 2001.  The Classic Wizard System was a high frequency direction finding (HF/DF) network which the Navy used to track and target enemy ships.  Sites like Corea would use their Wullenwebber Antenna Array in conjunction with ELINT satellites to triangulate the location of foreign warships.  Not only did this enable the US Navy to track these vessels, but it also provided cruise missile-equipped vessels ships with over the horizon targeting capabilities.  The nearby Winter Harbor facility served as the main base and provided housing, recreation facilities, a chapel, mess hall, and the other necessities.  The US Navy operated here from 1935 until 2002, when it was excessed by the Department of Defense. 

 

The Winter Harbor facility was a replacement for an existing radio site across Frenchman Bay on Otter Cliffs (south of Bar Harbor).  The Naval Radio Station at Otter Cliffs was built in 1917 and was the Navy's best transatlantic radio site because it had an unobstructed shot across the ocean and because Mount Desert Island was so isolated that there was no other radio noise.  By the 1930's, the site's buildings were run down and needed replacement badly.  

 

John D Rockefeller suggested that the site be removed and that the Navy included it with his land donation to Acadia National Park.  The Navy agreed, provided that Rockefeller built a replacement site.  Rockefeller had a site constructed across the bay on the Schoodic Peninsula, which was commissioned in 1935 and grew into the US Navy's Winter Harbor facility.

 

Typical life span for the satellites used was 7-8 years.  With the last batch of satellites being launched in 1995, closing the site in 2001 and excessing it in 2002, timed out about right.  

 

The site's Wullenwebber Antenna was probably the feature by which it was most commonly identified.  Often called an elephant cage because of its ring shape and tall antenna poles, the Wullenwebber was a Circulalary Disposed Dipole Array (CDDA) that used vertical radiator elements in a ring with vertical reflector elements installed behind them in a  smaller diameter ring for high frequency direction finding.         

Access Road

Access Road

The old access road juts off of Route 195 to the south west, toward the ocean. April 2010

Guard Shack

Guard Shack

The old guard shack and gate. April 2010

Guard Shack

Guard Shack

Closer look at the guard shack. April 2010

Maintenance Shop

Maintenance Shop

Just beyond the main gate, looking at the maintenance shop. The Ops Building is in the background. The maintenance shop was bulldozed a few years later and is no longer there. April 2010

Maintenance Shop

Maintenance Shop

A closer look at the maintenance shop exterior. April 2010

Maintenance Shop

Maintenance Shop

The building had been pretty vandalized by the time I got here. I was amazed at how much stuff was left behind: tools, a copier, spare parts, manuals, etc. April 2010

Maintenance Shop

Maintenance Shop

Handbook for the Caterpillar generators that were used in the event of power loss. The Caterpillar 3412 is a 27 liter V-12 diesel generator that can produce anywhere from 600 - 800 kW. For reference, you could run your entire house comfortably with a 16 kW generator. Corea had three 3412 generators. April 2010

Maintenance Shop

Maintenance Shop

Shelves full of spare parts. I saw circuit breakers, bulbs, belts, and all manner of spare parts here. April 2010.

Maintenance Shop

Maintenance Shop

They had a small crew mess in the Maintenance Building. April 2010.

Guns N Roses

Guns N Roses

I enjoy finding random stuff like this. Use Your Illusion II came out in 1991. This was a HUGE rock album when I was a kid. It had several big singles and "You Could Be Mine" was in Terminator 2. April 2010

Maintenance Shop

Maintenance Shop

Refrigerant recovery and recharge equipment. I'm guessing this was so they weren't dependent upon anyone else to maintain all of the air conditioning equipment required for large, windowless buildings full of computers. The Classic Wizard building inside the elephant cage had an ammonia system, which would have been a whole other kettle of fish. April 2010.

Maintenance Shop

Maintenance Shop

A huge pile of belts. Not sure if these were belts for the generators or air handlers or snowblowers and lawn mowers or what. Maybe all of the above. Since they trained maintenance people for the entire Classic Wizard System, they likely had a ton of materials on hand in order to prepare staff for every eventuality. April 2010.

Generator Building

Generator Building

Here you can see the generator building and what remains of the electric fence that surrounded the Ops Building. April 2010.

Fence

Fence

A closer look at the fence. This is very similar to what you would have seen for a fence around the alert area at Loring AFB. April 2010

Generator Building

Generator Building

Closer look at the generator building. April 2010.

Generator Building

Generator Building

The roof of the generator building with exhaust and mufflers for the large Caterpillar generators that were once here to power the site in the event of grid power loss. April 2010

Generator Building

Generator Building

Inside the generator building where the generators would have sat. April 2010

Generator Building

Generator Building

There were pallets of un-used motor oil for the generators still in the building. April 2010

Generator Building

Generator Building

This is a look at the CO2 fire suppression system for the generator building. Not being on a city water system and also not wanting to damage electrics so that repair/replacement can be speedy, a CO2 system makes a lot of sense. It displaces oxygen and snuffs a fire out. Loring AFB used Halon in places, but Halon is much more dangerous to people and was mostly out of production by 1994, so that may be another reason for the CO2. April 2010

Radome Base

Radome Base

This radome base is just beyond the generator building at the edge of the woods. April 2010

Classic Wizard Training Bldg

Classic Wizard Training Bldg

Classic Wizard system training building. This secure, windowless building was surrounded by a heavy duty electric fence and access was through a turnstile ID check. April 2010

Guard Shack

Guard Shack

Guard shack, gate, and turnstile for access to the Classic Wizard training building. April 2010

Turnstile

Turnstile

Turnstile for access to the training building. April 2010

Warning Sign

Warning Sign

Warning sign outside the training building. April 2010.

Leftover Equipment

Leftover Equipment

Inside the training facility, this storage room was full of old monitors, printers, power supplies, and copiers. This would have been thousands of dollars in relatively new hardware in 2001-2002 when this site was decommissioned. April 2010

Leftover Equipment

Leftover Equipment

More of the leftover equipment. April 2010.

SSO Cabinets

SSO Cabinets

Special Security Officer heavy duty filing cabinets. April 2010

Electrical

Electrical

Electrical panels for the Classic Wizard training building. April 2010

Leftover Equipment

Leftover Equipment

Still more leftover equipment. LaserJet4 printers, keyboards, fax machines, and more. April 2010

Mural

Mural

I love finding these old murals. Fleet Support is in reference to providing over the horizon targeting for Naval vessels. April 2010

Hallway

Hallway

Long hallway down the middle of the training building. The light at the far end comes from another exterior door that is open. April 2010.

Mural

Mural

Another cool mural. April 2010.

Training Room

Training Room

I'm not sure what types of training happened in each room. Obviously they all had substantial amounts of computers as evidenced by the old school tile floors that lift up to expose the cable raceways. April 2010

Training Room

Training Room

Panel Boxes

Panel Boxes

A wall lined with panel boxes. Presumably for training purposes, though these may have been practical to the building as well. April 2010

Training Room

Training Room

This room still had desks and tables in it. April 2010

Training Room

Training Room

More of the desks and tables. April 2010

Heat Exchanger

Heat Exchanger

With all of the electronics and computers running here, the building needed substantial cooling equipment. April 2010

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Mural

Another cool mural. April 2010.