U.S. Fleet Activities Yokosuka, or Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka is a United States Navy base, in Yokosuka, Japan. Its mission is to maintain and operate base facilities for the logistic, recreational, administrative support and service of the U.S. Naval Forces Japan, U.S. 7th Fleet and other operating forces assigned in the Western Pacific. CFAY is the largest strategically important U.S. Naval installation in the western Pacific.
Fleet Activities Yokosuka comprises 2.3 km² (568 acres) and is located at the entrance of Tokyo Bay, 65 km (40 mi) south of Tokyo and approximately 30 km (20 mi) south of Yokohama on the Miura Peninsula in the Kanto region of the Pacific Coast in Central Honshû, Japan.
The 55 tenant commands which make up this installation support U.S. Navy Pacific operating forces, including principal afloat elements of the United States Seventh Fleet, including the only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS George Washington (CVN-73), the group she heads, Carrier Strike Group Five, and Destroyer Squadron 15.
When Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in Japan in 1853, using naval pressure to open up Japan to foreign trade, Yokosuka was a quaint, native fishing village. In 1860, Lord Oguri Kozuke-no Suke, Minister of Finance to the Tokugawa Shogunate Government, decided that "If Japan is to assume an active role in world trade, she must have proper facilities to build and maintain large seagoing vessels." He called upon the French Consul General, Léon Roches, and asked for the assistance of the French government to build a shipyard capable of handling large ships. The French engineer Léonce Verny was sent to Japan to accomplish the task. After the inspection of several sites it was discovered that Yokosuka topographically, if on a smaller scale, resembled the port of Toulon, France. It was decided to establish the shipyard here. It would be called the "Yokosuka Iron Works". In 1871, the name was changed to the "Yokosuka Navy Yard". It was the French engineer Louis-Émile Bertin 1840-1924 who reorganized "Yokosuka Navy Yard" completely from 1886.
Yokosuka was to become one of the main arsenals of the Imperial Japanese Navy into the 20th century, in which were built battleships such as Yamashiro, and aircraft carriers such as Hiryu and Shokaku. Major Naval aircraft were also designed at the Yokosuka Naval Air Technical Arsenal.
During World War II, activities at the Yokosuka Navy Yard reached their peak. By 1944, the Yard covered 280 acres (1.1 km2) and employed over 40,000 workers. In addition to the shipbuilding plant, the yard also had a gun factory, ordnance and supply depots, a fuel storage facility, a seaplane base and a naval air station.
British Royal Marines and U.S. Naval personnel. Commander Fleet Activities (COMFLEACT) Yokosuka was created shortly after the occupation in 1945. As the Base became organized, the shipyard was deactivated and much of the equipment was sent to other countries as part of reparations. The repair ship Piedmont took charge of ship repair and maintenance, the hospital became a Naval Dispensary (and later the Naval Hospital Yokosuka Japan,) and the Supply Department was organized with the mission to provide support to the fleet and shore-based activities. The Public Works Department was also established.
In recent years, a number of high profile international incidents involving American sailors occurred around the base. The most notable were two murders which occurred in 2006 and 2008. The first murder was committed by Airman William Oliver Reese, who beat to death 56-year-old Yokosuka woman Yoshie Sato and proceeded to take the equivalent of $130 from her purse. The second murder was committed by Seaman Olantunbosun Ugbogu, a Nigerian citizen who had joined the U.S. Navy, but had not yet received citizenship. Ugbogu stabbed a taxi driver to death in order to avoid paying a $200 fare, which he had incurred returning from Tokyo. He was stationed aboard the guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG-63), but was absent without leave at the time of the murder and considered a deserter. Both murders resulted in the U.S. Navy severely restricting the liberty of all sailors in the fleet.
Personnel and ships from the base assisted with Operation Tomodachi following and during the March 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami and Fukushima I nuclear accidents. During the crisis, around 3,000 American family members voluntarily departed the base for locations outside Japan.