Kagnew Station - Who, What, Why, Where, When?

The word Kagnew” is said to mean bring into harmony” and “order out of chaos”. Kagnew Station was operated by United States Army in Asmara, Eritrea (formerly Ethiopia) on the Horn of Africa.

Why Ethiopia?

-In March 1941 Roosevelt administration declared Ethiopia eligible for the military aid program known as the Lend-Lease program. This was done to support the British troops in Libya and Egypt which were fighting Germany's Afrika Korps. The focus of the lend-lease program was in Eritrea, a former Italian colony which strategically bordered the Red Sea. British forces had established a communications base at the former Italian radio communications base named called Radio Marina, which was located in Asmara, Eritrea. The British used the former Italian name for the base, Radio Marina. The United States received access to the base from the British beginning in 1942. The United States would initially call the former Radio Marina the "Asmara Barracks," but the name "Radio Marina" would become the more enduring name for the base until the base was officially named "Kagnew Station".

Its inception was a War Department memo dated January 26, 1943, titled "Establishment of a War Department Fixed Radio Station in Africa," which detailed the operational objectives for what was to become the 4th Detachment of the Second Signal Service Battalion (renamed the U.S. Army Security Agency-USASA-in 1945).

-The base's main function is to transmit, relay and receive communications from United States diplomatic missions and military units around Africa as well as to relay messages from the United States and Europe to the Indian Ocean and even the Far East. Kagnew Station operated until April 29, 1977, when the last Americans left.

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