Shortly after VADM T. J. White took command of FCC/C10F he issued serial CW001, dated July 2018. Here’s his opening statement:
“Team CW/CWE/CT … Active and Reserve components, Officers, Chiefs, Whitehats, and Civilians … It is a distinct privilege and honor to be your community leader and the Navy’s senior cryptologist. We have a great tradition and can trace our origins to WWI’s Black Chamber, the crucible of WWII in both TENTH Fleet’s Battle for the Atlantic and PACFLT’s struggle with Imperial Japan, in the Cold War’s strategic competition with the Soviet Union, and the quiet confrontation found in “making codes and breaking codes.” I value our cryptologic heritage, and I know you do as well; together we will honor the past and grow for the future to ensure America’s military strength and security. Be extremely proud of your rating, designator or skill set, and what you bring to the fight as a Navy cryptologist!”
VADM White specifically linked “honor the past and grow the future” to “ensure America’s military strength and security.” So how do the Active and Reserve components, Officers, Chiefs, Whitehats, and Civilians to this?
I believe part of the answer is the U.S. Naval Cryptologic Veterans Association (NCVA). I did not know it at the time when I joined the NCVA two years ago, but their function is three fold:
- Conducting an annual reunion
- Providing fraternal, social and recreational activities for members and guests
- Encouraging and supporting the preservation of the history of cryptology by members of the association and appropriate Federal Agencies.
Shortly after I joined, retired Force Master Chief Bob Anderson invited me to the local Pensacola NCVA chapter for a dinner social. About a year later the local chapter held another dinner social that I attended. After developing friendships with some, it became clear the people in this organization are not just socializing, but preserving the navy’s cryptologic heritage!
Unfortunately, the average member is nearly 80 years old with few young members joining. If this trend continues the NCVA will cease to exist and this bridge to our unique heritage will be lost forever.
So how can we stop this from happening and at the same time honor the past?
I believe it goes beyond talking about our past during morning quarters, GMTs and POD entries. I think it is about spending time and developing relationships with those who served before us, writing articles about people and events at our NIOC commands and asking the NCVA to post our stories in their quarterly NCVA CRYPTOLOG magazine. I think it’s about inviting our NCVA shipmates to Navy Day Balls and other command events.
But this is a two-way street. I think NCVA members could reach out to the FCC/C10F community, build friendships and invite the younger generation to local NCVA social events.
The bottom line is both generations of cryptologists need to share their stories and build relationships. Perhaps what the younger generation can learn from the older generation about the Cold War can be applied to the Great Powers competition of today!
There NIOCs located at Kunia HI, Denver CO, Ft. Meade MD, Augusta GA, San Antonio TX, Whidbey Island WA, San Diego CA, Groton CT and Norfolk VA. I’m sure there are NCVA chapters near these locations.
“If we don’t communicate, we don’t have a community.” – VADM T. J. White