Washington, D.C., July 1938

The navy has trained officers and enlisted in the art of cryptology dating back to the code and Signal section of OP-20-G. For the last 92 years this training has had one objective and that is to prepare navy cryptologists to deliver the most accurate and timely information to decision makers.  This three part series will focus primarily on the basic cryptologic officer training, but acknowledges enlisted cryptologic training is absolutely critical to the success of this community’s mission.

On October 12, Youtube will be hosting on the IWCsync Live: Cryptologic Training Forum with CAPT Bill Lintz, CO CIWT Pensacola;  CDR Chris Eng, CO IWTC Corry Station; CDR Andy Newsome, CO IWTC Monterey; and CDR Paul Wilkes, CIWT Director of Training.  We hope to see you there and join the conversation. 

WWI, WWII and Cold War

The Code and Signal section of the Naval Communications Service assumed cryptologic duties when the United States entered World War One (WWI) in 1917.  On July 1, 1922 the Code and Signal Section was formally made a part of the Office of Chief Of Naval Operations (OPNAV), 20th Division of the Office of Naval Communications, G Section (OP-20-G).  OP-20-G was located at the Navy Department Building in Washington D.C. where the Vietnam Memorial stands today.  After the construction of the Pentagon was completed on January 15, 1943, naval operations started to transition from the Navy Department Building to the Pentagon.  However, some naval operations continued at the Navy Department Building until 1970 when it was demolished.

CAPT Laurense F. Safford

In 1924, LT Laurence F. Safford was assigned to expand the operations and capabilities of the research desk in OP-20-G.  Expanding operations and capabilities also necessitated expanding OP-20-GR, the training section within Code and Signals section.  Training for the enlisted, later to be known as On the Roof (OTR) Gang, first convened on October 1, 1928.  Instruction included radio intercept techniques predominantly for Japanese Katakana and basic cryptanalysis.  The first class selected was experienced radio operators.  This class was considered a success, so five more were held in 1929. The instructor for the first three classes was Chief Radioman Harry Kidder and the last two taught by Chief Radioman Dorman Chauncey.  Both men were veterans of radio intercept operations in the Asiatic Fleet.  OTR training continued from 1928 to 1941, where a total of 150 Sailors and 26 Marines completed the course.

For naval officers, training included basic and advanced cryptanalysis, traffic analysis and radio theory.  Two of the earliest graduates were Joseph Rochefort and Agnes Meyer Driscoll, both concentrating their cryptanalysis efforts between WWI and World War Two (WWII) against Japanese targets.

OP-20-G continued to grow, culminating in the formation of the Naval Security Group on March 11, 1935.  Although the name OP-20-G was retained until after WWII, March 11, 1935 marked the first appearance of the word “Group” in the title of the Naval cryptologic organization and is observed as the birth of the Naval Security Group.

In February 1943, OP-20-G moved to 3801 Nebraska Ave, in Washington D.C.  It is unclear exactly, however, when cryptologic officer training moved to Nebraska, but this training followed the move.

After OTR training ended in 1941, most of the enlisted training was moved to Imperial Beach CA. and Bainbridge Island WA.  By September 1942 the training facilities Imperial Beach and Bainbridge was expanded to accommodate 100 men and 75 men respectively.  However, 11 years later in 1953, training was closed and transferred to Imperial Beach.  On July 1, 1957, training at Imperial Beach was official designated as Navy Communication Technical Center (NCTC) Imperial Beach, CA.  By March 1960 the majority of the enlisted CT training, less language training was moved to NCTC Corry Field.  In 1966, selected training was move to NCTC Detachment Goodfellow.

3801 Nebrask Ave

Officer training continued at 3801 Nebraska Ave until 1985 when it moved to Naval Technical Training Center (NTTC) Corry Station, Pensacola FL.  On January 21, 1986 the first officer class graduated under the name Cryptologic Division Officer Course (CDOC).  The following officers are plank owners of the new course:

Alex A. Miller

Thomas M. McCaffrey

Kevin M. Kelly

Stephen F. Conway

Wayne K. Evers

William L. Barber

Ray L. Hedgpath

Thomas P. Kosyla

Annie P. Shaw

Daniel e. Canipe


Mario Vulcano