In response to national policy, the Navy began in 1949, a highly secretive program known as the Special Electronic Search Project (SESP) which was a program designed to equip certain aircraft with SIGINT equipment and man them with SIGINT trained crews. These crews, according to Chuck Huber, were operators, linguists, cryptologists, technicians,and all the CT rate sub-specialties. Many men in the 1950's were in other ratings with special program codes (John Herndon for example was an AT, AQ, and PT at different times) and always worked within his special program codes.
Basically the crews operating out of Port Lyautey were attached to the NCU 32 group but the aircraft were predominately WW2 Navy Liberators assigned to Fleet Air Wing 15 at Port Lyautey. NCU-32 became VP-26 and eventually Electronic Countermeasure Squadron 2 (ECM-2).
NCU-31 was assigned to the Western Pacific and NCU-32 was Atlantic/Africa/Europe. They rode planes, ships, and submarines as needed. They were redesignated in the early 1950's, but still were NAVSECGRU. By the mid-1950's, Navy SIGINT operations were accomplished by NSG personnel. The NSG evolved out of earlier Navy SIGINT efforts and formally adopted this title in 1950.
The following photographs are of US Navy WW2 aircraft used by NCU-32 and were taken by Gaynor Abbott, an Air Crewman assigned to it. His rate and other information are unknown and any viewer who can shed some light regarding him would be greatly appreciated. The photographs were sent to John Herndon prior to Mr. Abbott's passing who in turn forwarded them to the Port Lyautey website editor requesting that they be added to the ECM-2 page.
Some of the photographs were beginning to deteriorate and this web-editor is grateful for the talents of Mr. Jerry Zimmerman, a Navy photographer at Port Lyautey in the 1947 - 48 time frame, for taking the time to enhance certain photographs in the collection which are noted. Anyone who may have additional information regarding the photographs, crash incidents or other information per these photographs is invited to share that information on this page.
JerrCrewman Gaynor Abbot fueling aircraft
rCrewman Gaynor Abbot fueling aircraft on wing
rCrewman Gaynor Abbot and fellow aircrew members
rGaynor Abbot on left
rSome of the other cew-members and their rates can still be made out