The NCVA is not just a social organization, but they are the very keepers of naval cryptologic heritage.
I had the pleasure to attend a couple of U.S. Naval Cryptologic Veterans Association (NCVA) functions during the last couple years. As I met follow cryptologists and listened to their stories it struck me that the average age of these members were between 65 and 75, some into their 80s! Most served during the Cold War when the majority of the duty stations were overseas.
It was different back then. There was no cable TV or internet. The only entertainment they had was each other. NSGA commands back then produced a quarterly command newspaper, and if you are lucky enough to get your hands on one you will quickly realize something special was happening. People spent time with each other after work. Overseas and sometime isolated duty created an environment where people depended on each other. It was camaraderie at its finest. Cryptologists had a common bond in uniqueness of their work that carried over into liberty and among their families too. Today, if you were talk to some of these old salts of yesteryear many would walk you back and unveil this brotherhood and sisterhood that they experienced.
Thankfully, my wife and I were fortunate to experience this during our first assignment in NSGA Misawa, Japan during the mid-1980s, but after we transferred to NSGA Pearl Harbor, our second assignment, the camaraderie was beginning to fade. With the Soviet Union collapsing in the early 1990s, most of the NSGA overseas duty stations started to shut their doors for the last time.
The camaraderie overseas that was so commonplace during the Cold War was no longer common. Today, if you are lucky, you can still find small pockets of it. And if you take advantage of it you will quickly realize this type of socializing is much more satisfying then staring at a smart-phone.
Initially when the NCVA was established it was viewed as a social experiment where cryptologists had a place to rub elbows. No one knew how valuable this organization would become; people were just enjoying each other’s company and telling some sea stories. As I contemplate my recent experience with the local NCVA chapter, it became very clear to me that the people in this organization were not just socializing, but they are the keepers of the Naval Security Group (and Fleet Cyber Command/Commander Tenth Fleet) cryptologic heritage!
After years I recently joined the NCVA. I’m not sure why it took me so long. Officially, I became a cryptologists on November 2, 1984 when I graduated my “A” school at Corry Station. In 2006, I retired from the active duty, but I continue to serve as an instructor at Corry Station.
I am sharing this with you because I want you to consider joining the NCVA, find a local chapter near you and get involved. Regardless if you served during WWII or OIF/OEF, we all have something in common – each of have used the most sophisticated systems and techniques of our time to provide valuable information to decision makers at all levels of war. Believe me you will connect.
If you are on active duty or retired, officer or enlisted, a lateral-transfer or cross-rate, the only requirement to join the NCVA is that you served your country as a naval cryptologist!
Let us come together to celebrate the past, present, and future of Navy Cryptology.
Those who are interested here is the application for membership: