Chief Radioman Harry Kidder
United States Navy
First On The Roof Gang Instructor
September 27, 1889 – November 21, 1963
Harry Kidder first enlisted in the U.S. Army October 25, 1910 as a private. Was honorably discharged from the Army October 24, 1913 and subsequently enlisted in the Navy on January 26, 1914 as a landsman/Radio electrician.
He retired as a Chief Radiomen on January 1, 1940, was recalled to active duty from Boston Mass on February 5, 1941 and served until December 17, 1942. Chief Kidder Died of Cancer at the age of 74.
Chief Kidder heads the Muster List of “On-The-Roof” trained Navy and Marine Corps special radio operators. These were the radio operators selected and given specific cryptologic training under a well-qualified Chief Radiomen in a still reinforced concreate blockhouse on the roof of the sixth wing of the Old Main Navy Building, Washington D.C.
Chief Kidder was a member of class 0, in 1921, encompassing the key members of the original self-trained contingent, and was referred to as the “Pappy” of the outfit. No formal convening or graduation occurred.
Upon graduation from class 0, he taught the first three classes from October 1929 through February 1930 and classes 11, 12 and 13 from July 1933 through September 1934. Class 0 personnel were undoubtedly the nucleus of the Naval Security Group.
Chief Kidder decorations included the Good Conduct Medal, Mexican Medal, Yangtze Service Medal, American Defense Service Medal and the Navy Unit Commendation of the United States Communications Intelligence Organization.
Chief Kidder was born in Farber, Missouri on September 27, 1889 and died at the Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, PA. on November 21, 1963.
Source: Plaque displayed in building the Cryptologic Training Building 511 at Corry Station, Pensacola, FL.
Note: Building 511 at Corry Station is named Kidder Hall in his honor.