Webmaster Debbie Anderson

To accept one’s past – one’s history – is not the same thing as drowning in it; it is learning how to use it. An invented past can never be used; it cracks and crumbles under the pressures of life like clay in a season of drought.
― James Baldwin

Over the nearly 20 years I’ve authored this site I’ve kept a low profile. I preferred to draw attention to the people who made up the actual Dayton code-breaking project. I’m now comfortable in writing a bit more about my history and association with this story.

The Research Director of the US Naval Computing Machine Laboratory was my father, Joseph Desch (or, as nearly everyone around him called him, Joe). I was born in 1950, in Dayton, Ohio, to Joe and Dorothy Desch. Those who have heard me speak about this topic or who have read the story as written by Jim DeBrosse know that at the time of my father’s death in 1987 I had only curiosity about his war-time secret and a few clues, and not much else. He had maintained a strict loyalty to the Oath of Secrecy he took in early in the years leading to World War II. Fortunately, however, my father had  dropped many hints–all vague and some even misleading–in the years I spent listening to his stories.

Because of a fledgeling curiosity whether there was anything to my father’s teasings, and spurred on by his colleagues and then the project veterans, I’ve spent these last 30 years tracking down leads, visiting libraries and the National Archives, and more. In late 2001 I launched this web site. As a result  I’ve learned that I love web site construction, maintenance and migration (e.g., HTML to PHP, WordPress, etc.). I probably never would have pursued this topic were it not to launch and maintain the Dayton Codebreakers website. In addition  my background in both the sciences and the liberal arts helped me spend hours reading military, mathematical and technological history.

I can be reached by email. I cannot guarantee a speedy reply. However, gentle reminders are not discouraged.

  • Education
  • 1972-1973 Graduate Studies in English Literature, The Ohio State University, 1972-73
  • Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, University of Dayton, August 1971
  • Archbishop Alter High School, Kettering, Ohio, 1968
  • “The US Bombes, NCR, Joseph Desch and 600 WAVES: The First Reunion of the US Naval Computing Machine Laboratory,” Spring 2000, IEEE Journal Annals of the History of Computing , John A. N. Lee, Colin Burke and Deborah Anderson.


  • IEEE Dayton Section Event – AFOSR Windows on Science Lecture – 24 Jul 2020: Joseph Desch’s use of Quantum Mechanics in Thyratrons
  • “Stem Girls” Online Interview, Cincinnati Museum Center, Sept. 17, 2020
  • Presentation, August 10, 2019, Cincinnati Museum Center
  • Presentation, 4 May 2012, IEEE-USA Annual Meeting, Cincinnati OH
  • Presentation, International Cryptologic Symposium, Charlotte NC, March 2012
  • Presentation, 14 Sept 2010, Society of American Military Engineers, at the Nat’l Museum of the US Air Force, Dayton OH
  • Presentation, IEEE NAECON Nat’l Aerospace and Electronic Conference, July 16, 2010
  • Presentation, Friday October 19, 2007 at National Cryptologic Museum Foundation History Conference, Fort Meade, Maryland
  • Talk, October 17, 2007, The National Archives, Washington DC, sponsored by the Records Book Group
  • Initiated and sponsored the IEEE Oral Histories with 7 of the surviving engineers for the IEEE History Center
  • Initiated the process for the Milestones in Engineering recognition of the NCML in 2001
  • Organizer, Second Reunion of the NCML; Dayton, Ohio, October 2001
  • Initiator and Organizer, the First Reunion of the Naval Computing Machine Laboratory (50th Anniversary of same); Dayton, Ohio, September 1995

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  • Sources

    This site has material from many sources. Some are use by permission. Before using, ASK. More specific information here.
  • Dayton Codebreakers DVDs

    To inquire about a DVD of the Dayton Codebreakers documentary, contact me at this link
  • Inside You’ll Find…

    WHO worked during the war? Find the Personnel section. Also, Joseph R. Desch
    WHAT were their goals? By the Numbers. Also, The US Bombe
    WHY? History of the Bombe Project A contemporary account of the reasons and the plans for their project for the Director of Naval Communications, 1944.
    WHERE was the project: In Dayton, it was in Building 26. In Washington, it was housed at the Naval Communications Annex