Naval Captain Joseph John Rochefort, a code breaker, was stationed at Pearl Harbor in 1941 – he was the Officer in Charge of Station Hypo. The Captain came with excellent credentials: he was a linguist in Japanese, an intelligence analyst, and a cryptanalyst (someone who specializes in translating/interpreting secret codes or ciphers). Before the Pearl Harbor attack, the men of Station Hypo were code-breakers of the diplomatic codes of Japan, but after Pearl Harbor, they switched to breaking the Japanese Naval codes. These were grim times for the United States – for six months the Japanese rampaged through the Pacific, conquering nations and islands. Somehow, the Japanese codes had to be broken if the United States was to turn the tide of the war in the Pacific Theater. Cracking the Japanese Naval Code was a very tall order before the days of computers and GPS satellites. The Rochefort group (known as the Combat Intelligence Group), was located in the basement where a hand-picked group of experts worked day and night, 7 days a week, to crack the “JN-25” code. It took a tremendous amount of mathematical analysis until they were able to break down the code into mathematical patterns with the aid of a tabulating machine that used punch cards. When the Battle of Midway (a turning point in the war) was planned, the code-breakers only had a third of the code cracked, but it was obviously enough. Japan’s primary objective was to draw American carriers into a trap to secure dominance in the Pacific, but with the help of the Combat Intelligence Group, the American Navy was able to turn the tables and ambush the Japanese. During the three-day battle, four Japanese carriers were sunk, including the Akagi, Kaga, Soryu and Hiryu (all of those carriers were part of the fleet that lead the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor). In 1986, for his contribution in the Battle of Midway, Captain Rochefort was posthumously awarded the President’s National Defense Service Medal.
SharLeigh has an inquisitive nature – she is interested in current events, history, science and many more subjects, including things that go bump in the night! Since 1997, SharLeigh has scoured the internet, looking for interesting, fun and timely topics covering all sorts of human-interest subjects for her articles from her home in Fontana, CA.