VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Throughout the year, we can look back at our history and appreciate events and milestones which have forged our force into what it is today. This week in naval history, we remember and honor the Battle of Midway.
At Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Virginia Beach, the Battle of Midway holds a special significance, especially within the intelligence specialist, communicator and cryptology rates. While the actions of Sailors such as Adm. Halsey and Adm. Spruance during the battle are well known, it was the information collected and analyzed prior which proved to be the difference between victory and defeat.
“The Battle of Midway has always been a special day for me as a cryptologist, solidifying our Navy’s code-breakers into a distinct warfighting profession that continues to evolve,” said IWTC Virginia Beach Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Brielle Adamovich. “It is also important to acknowledge the groundwork laid for the Navy’s information warfare community by cross-pollinating the intelligence community with radio operators. I hope our future continues with the same pioneering spirit of our beginnings, pushing the boundaries for our own generation.”
After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the Japanese Navy was widely dispersed across the Pacific Ocean as the Japanese were quickly maneuvering to conduct more attacks against the United States. Due to the tyranny of distance between their naval forces Japanese Adm. Yamamoto had no choice but to provide strategic guidance to his forces and outlying ships over encrypted radio transmissions.
As the U.S. was recovering from the attack on Pearl Harbor, Navy cryptanalysts stationed in Hawaii at Station HYPO began collecting and breaking Japanese communication signals and codes. For weeks Navy code-breakers in Hawaii, led by information warfare heroes, such as Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Rocheford and Lt. Cmdr. Wilfred Holmes, observed a specific set of code they believed were the dates and locations for future Japanese attack plans aimed at further crippling the United States.
Due to the actions of Rochefort, Holmes and their teams, it was concluded the Japanese were maneuvering to attack American forces stationed at Midway Atoll. The attack plans were provided to Adm. Chester W. Nimitz who quickly ordered the movement of ships and aircraft to conduct defensive maneuvers and counterattacks against the Japanese navy. During the Battle of Midway the U.S. Navy was able to successfully sink four Japanese aircraft carriers tipping the scales of the war. American forces sustained far less casualties had the cryptanalyst not been able to crack the Japanese code. The quick and decisive actions by Navy leadership proved to be significant as the Japanese Navy was never able to recover after their defeat at Midway.
IWTC Virginia Beach, located in Dam Neck Annex, currently offers 65 courses of instruction in information technology, cryptology, and intelligence with an instructor and support staff of 280 military, civilian, and contractors who train over 6,500 students every year. It is one of four schoolhouses for the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT) and oversees learning sites at Jacksonville and Mayport, Florida; Kings Bay, Georgia; and Groton, Connecticut to continue aligning IW community training.
With four schoolhouse commands, two detachments, and training sites throughout the United States and Japan, CIWT trains over 20,000 students every year, delivering trained information warfare professionals to the Navy and joint services. CIWT also offers more than 200 courses for cryptologic technicians, intelligence specialists, information systems technicians, electronics technicians, and officers in the information warfare community.
For news from the Center for Information Warfare Training domain, visit www.navy.mil/local/cid/, www.netc.navy.mil/centers/ciwt/, www.facebook.com/NavyCIWT, or www.twitter.com/NavyCIWT.