This mission of this site is to tell the story of hundreds of people who worked at the United States Naval Computing Machine Laboratory, a top secret project in Dayton during World War Two. These people kept their secret for over fifty years.
Please take a look–there are hundreds of pages of declassified documents, rosters of personnel, photographs and more. Audience members for my presentation in July will find a new bibliography page brought up to date to include new information on the web.
This site originates with and is maintained by Debbie Anderson in Dayton, Ohio. This site is an outgrowth of my own efforts to learn more about this story and a desire to share what I have learned. It also is a resource for documentation behind the documentary Dayton Codebreakers.
I am grateful to the Archive Center at Dayton History, the Wenger Command Display in Pensacola, Florida, friends at the NSA Cryptologic History Center and the National Cryptologic Museum, and the many veterans–WAVES and sailors– who have been so generous over the years for a share of the photographs presented here.
Thanks for learning about a part of Dayton’s, and the nation’s, history.
The 2016 George R. Stibitz Computer & Communications Pioneer Award Recipients
The two individuals most responsible for developing the advanced technologies, with their respective teams – in England and the United States of America, that cracked the secret World War II German Enigma Machine Code:
ALAN TURING (posthumously), Bletchley Park, England – award to be received by Sir Dermot Turing, Alan Turing’s nephew, For Seminal & Pioneering Contributions to the Breaking of the German Enigma Machine Code. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Turing)
JOSEPH DESCH (posthumously), NCR, Dayton, Ohio – award to be received in person by Debbie Desch Anderson, Joseph Desch’s daughter. For Seminal & Pioneering Contributions to the Breaking of the German Enigma Machine Code. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Desch)
The Recipient of the 2014 National Medal of Technology and Innovation Medal Recipient awarded by President Barak Obama: MARY SHAW, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburg, PA. For Seminal & Pioneering Contributions to Software Architecture & Computer Science Curricula. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Shaw_(computer_scientist))
For more information as the date approaches, see The American Computer & Robotics Museum site.
…I wondered whether codebreaking’s contribution to the war could be quantified. Would someone in a position to know say how many divisions it was worth, or how many months or years it shortened the war by? The literature showed a few such statements. They all dealt with the Pacific and said that codebreaking had saved a year of war — one high-level operations officer said two years [History of the Army Security Agency].The only comment about the European theater that I could get was Mr. Beesly’s, who to be nice to me guessed that codebreaking save nine months in the battle of the Atlantic. Most people declined to make this kind of an estimate. They thought it was impossible and probably meaningless. The most cogent remark came from someone who might have been expected to say quite the opposite. This was Geneteral W. Preston Cornerman, the wartime head of the Army codebreaking agency. “If you try to do that,” he said, “you’d have the quartermaster claiming so many years, the air force so many, and everybody claiming some, and before you know it you’d find that the war should have been over 25 years before it began.”
David Kahn. “The Significance of Codebreaking and Intelligence in Allied Strategy and Tactics.” from remarks delivered 1976 before the Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, reprinted in Cryptology.