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CHIPS Articles: Four Pioneers Inducted into the Cryptologic Hall of Honor

Four Pioneers Inducted into the Cryptologic Hall of Honor
By CHIPS Magazine - November 7, 2019
On Nov. 4, 2019, four cryptologic pioneers were inducted into the Cryptologic Hall of Honor at the National Security Agency. Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, Commander, U.S. Cyber Command, Director, National Security Agency / Chief, Central Security Service, presided over the ceremony and highlighted the achievements of each of the distinguished inductees, NSA reported in a release.

The inductees are listed below.

Mr. Edward M. Drake – the principal architect of Canadian signals intelligence (SIGINT) in war and peacetime. His wartime leadership was a vital factor in victory over the Axis Alliance in World War II. As director of Canada's first permanent cryptologic agency, he spearheaded crucial intelligence programs against Soviet threats.

U.S. Navy Chief Radioman Harry Kidder – In the 1920s, he recognized the importance of intelligence about Japan and conducted intercept as a voluntary extra duty. His efforts helped convince senior Navy officers to establish intercept sites around the Pacific. Kidder pioneered U.S. Navy radio intercept, creating and teaching a course in a concrete schoolhouse on the roof of the main Navy building in Washington, D.C., which he designed and helped construct. Those he taught became the nucleus of Navy intercept in World War II. A member of the “On-the-Roof Gang,” Chief “Pappy” Kidder was later a trainer and mentor to generations of Navy cryptologists during his nearly four decades of uniformed service. “During World War II, the accomplishments of the On-The-Roof Gang contributed to turning the tide at Coral Sea and Midway. Through the end of the war, Roofers were a part of every major advance toward victory. It can be said that these Roofers stood on the shoulders of Chief Kidder. He was the expert, a mentor, and instructor for a new form of intelligence, COMINT,” according to a blog post by Station Hypo. He is only the second enlisted person to be inducted, NSA said.

U.S. Marine Corps Col. Alva Bryan “Red” Lasswell – While assigned at Station HYPO, Hawaii, through World War II, he identified, decrypted, and translated Japanese diplomatic and Imperial Fleet code messages. His expertise and analyses were key to the cryptologic impact on U.S. decision making in the Pacific during World War II, during such seminal events as the Battle of Midway in 1942 and the shoot down of the airplane transporting Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku in 1943. As chief linguist at Fleet Radio Unit Pacific, Pearl Harbor (FRUPAC), he had a key role, but it was a team effort that included cryptanalysts Ham Wright and Tommy Dyer, and traffic analysts Tom Huckins and Jack Williams, supervised by Lt. Cmdr. Jasper Holmes. Junior members of the team included future Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, and future Rear Adm. “Mac” Showers, according to Naval History and Heritage Command. Lasswell was innovative, insisted on excellence, and worked tenaciously, some said night and day, to get the job done.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Kenneth A. Minihan – As Director, NSA / Chief, CSS from 1996 to 1999, he conceived of and drove two of NSA’s most momentous transformations, moves far ahead of their times. Under his slogan “One team, One mission,” he transformed NSA/CSS from a Cold War organization following a WWII blueprint to a 21st century organization where converged networks became the organizing principle, with offense and defense collaborating in real time.

The Cryptologic Hall of Honor was created in 1999 to pay tribute to the pioneers and heroes who have made significant and enduring contributions to American cryptology.

 NSA photo of the Hall of Honor at the National Security Agency.
NSA photo of the Hall of Honor at the National Security Agency.
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