Naval Air Facility Atsugi is one of the United States Navy military bases established in Japan. It spreads over two local cities – Ayase and Yamato. They are located in the Kanagawa province. If you count its size, it is the widest facility of the US Navy in the Pacific area. It is a co-base run by the USA under the Japanese regulations. It is named after a nearby city, although it is not adjacent to it. That is because the name was picked in the ’50s. Back then, Atsugi was the only real city nearby. The other current cities were nothing but some small insignificant villages. The facility is commanded by Steven J. Wieman.
Before being owned by the United States Navy, Naval Air Facility Atsugi belonged to the Japanese Navy. It was established before World War II, in 1938. It was built as a home for one of the most advanced and expert squadrons Japan relied on during the war. The unit was amazing and counted a lot of successful operations throughout the war – the 302-nd Corps. The planes hosted at the base eliminated more than 300 bombers belonging to the USA in 1945. The V Day came with Japan surrendering to the allied nations, but not this base too. Although the commander’s orders were specific and implied surrendering, the pilots thought differently. They took off and flew above some of Japan’s largest cities to urge the population against the USA. It was one of the most patriotic acts from World War II.
Naval Air Facility Atsugi got under American occupation starting with the same year. On August, 30-th, Douglas MacArthur got to the base to accept the surrendering terms. A few days later, the first American troops got to inhabit the empty facility. The base was not in the best shape after more weeks of bombing. It took the Americans more than a month to reestablish it. The first flights showed up in October, same year. However, there was still a lot of work to do. This is why the popular Seabees were sent on site to deal with the reconstruction process in 1950.
Naval Air Facility Atsugi played an impressive role over the Korean War and the Vietnam War. It was probably the most active base during those years. It supported all types of aircrafts, from transportation planes to bombers. One of the aircrafts hosted at the site caused an international incident when it was taken down above the Soviet Union. By 1972, the relations between Japan and the United States of America got better. Therefore, the two governments set up an agreement to share the base.
One of the latest events the base was involved in includes the latest major earthquake that hit Japan in 2011 – Tohoku. The tsunami it formed caused huge damage and affected the nuclear plant at Fukushima. Plenty of Americans voluntarily left the base to save themselves from any potential dangers, while the Japanese stuck together to help those in need.