Nautilus Institute Digital Library
july 19, 1999


Special Nuclear Weapons Proceedures For U.S. Navy Ships Using Yokosuka

The nuclear-capable aircraft carrier USS Midway (CV-41) homeported at Yokosuka between 1973 and the early 1990s had special nuclear weapons procedures due to the sensitivity of nuclear weapons in Japan. This prevented establishment of formal nuclear weapons scools in or training with nuclear weapons while inport Yokosuka. Moreover, the ship's nuclear weapons devision was the only such division in the Navy that routinely offloaded nuclear weapons at sea.

Obtained at the Center for Naval History
Washington, D.C.


FOIA Documents

U.S. Navy, "USS Midway (CV-41) Command History for 1978, March 15, 1979, Part I, Section B, Summary of Operations, p. I-B-20.

pdf format 1

(See below for description)

U.S. Navy, "USS Midway: The Magic Touch,” Cruise Book for 1985-1987, n.d. [1987], W. Division, n.p.
pdf format 2

(See below for description)

Full Excerpt From Document 1:

"(C) As scheduled MIDWAY transited to the Subic oparea and received a Defense Nuclear Surety Inspection (DNSI) conducted by Chief Inspector for Weapons, Commander Naval Air Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, during the period 19 through 24 November. Upon completion of the DNSI, COMNAVAIRPAC Chief Inspector for [Nuclear] Weapons Training Group Pacific (COMNUWPWNTRAGRUPAC) inspected all remaining areas necessary to complete the Navy Technical Proficienty Inspection (NTPI) and Nuclear Safety Survey (NSS). All areas requiring inspection were covered. The objective of the inspection was to evaluate and recertify MIDWAY's capability to perform assigned nuclear tasking.

(C) The inspection revealed no significant and only four minor deficiencies. A grade of 'satisfactory' was assigned for the inspection (only an adjective grade of 'satisfactory' or 'unsatisfactory' is considered).

(C) The final report noted that:

'USS Midway is continously forward deployed to an area where political sensitivity precludes establishment of formal schools on, or inport training with special weapons. The highly sucessful completion of the DNSI and NTPI is indicative of the command attention given to the exceptional screening and training measures required in this environment.'"

Source: U.S. Navy, "USS Midway (CV-41) Command History for 1978," March 15, 1979, Part I, Section B: Summary of Operations, p. I-B-20.

Full Excerpt From Document 2:

"W. Division

'W' Division is responsible for the maintenance and stowage of Midway's ordnance and are staunch supporters of 'Midway Magic'. They are tasked with maintaining safety qualifications and must continuously receive formal technical training to meet the regorous requirements demanded by a program that has no margin for error. They also provide weapons quality assurance support for the Air Wing during loading evaluations, and provide technical advice to strike operations. 'W' Division is a major contributor to Midway's outstanding weapons readiness. They performed superbly during the past two Navy Technical Proficiency Inspections. In addition, they take special pride in being the only 'W' Division in the Navy that routinely offloads and onloads weapons at sea. Their high morale and processionalism keep the "Magic" alive."

Source: U.S. Navy, “Midway CV-41: The Magic Touch,” Cruise Book for 1985-1987, n.d. [1987], W. Division, n.p.

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