At this point in U.S. Navy Cryptology’s evolution, it’s just after WWII and the Navy’s COMINT organization was reorganized within the Division of Naval Communications (Op-20) and officially renamed Communications Supplementary Activities.
The Assistant Chief of Naval Communications for Communication Intelligence (Op-20-G, aka CAPT Joe Wenger) was elevated to the status of a deputy chief with the new title of Deputy Chief of Naval Communications for Communications Supplementary Activities and a new office code, Op-20-2. With this change, the Navy’s COMINT leader and function becomes coequal to the Deputy Chief of Naval Communications for all other divisional activities. It was the first time the cryppies had organizational equality with their communications overseers. The memorandum is typical of Wenger’s correspondence…exceedingly well written. He didn’t want the cryppies to get big heads.
MEMORANDUM TO ALL SUPPLEMENTARY ACTIVITIES:
Subject: Responsibilities of Supplementary Personnel.
1. After a long and difficult straggle for recognition, the Communication Supplementary Organization, because of its fine performance, has emerged from the war with a status enjoyed by few activities in the Navy. This status carries with it certain privileges and obligations. In order to maintain this hard won position, it is important that those privileges be not abuse and that the obligations be fully met.
2. Much of our success in the past has been made possible by the splendid assistance of, and our cordial relations with, other activities in the Navy. The fact that the Communications Supplementary Organization has become a self-contained unit makes it doubly important that we give no cause for any just criticism that we are “fair-faired boy”, run a private navy, or are uncooperative in any way. Ours is an important part of the Navy and it must remain so. We need the help of other activities and must seek it in every possible way.
3. The Communication Supplementary Organization has been accorded a special status in order to insure that it will have every possible advantage in carrying out its important mission. Above and beyond the need for maintaining this position, is the greater responsibility of carrying out our assigned functions in the scheme of National Defense. This must be done to the utmost of each and everyone’s ability. The war has been won but another is unfortunately too well within the realm of possibility. This is no time for resting on our laurels.
4. Officers in charge of Supplementary Activities will bring this memorandum to the attention of all hands engaged in supplementary duties.
J. N. WENGER
Copy of the Memorandum:
Source: National Archives at College Park, MD.
Mr. Mark Neighbors
1 December 2022 at 21:41
Excellent letter! This should be carefully read and understood by every person researching U.S. entry into World War II, or anyone involved in writing about the role ComInt played with the U.S. Navy in prosecuting the Second World War.
It is my most sincere belief that the Navy’s communications intelligence organization has never received the high degree of credit it deserves for a job, superbly well done, in the years leading up to Japan’s raid on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor and all throughout the Second World War.
Thank you very much for posting this!
Written on a laptop computer at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Waikiki Beach, Oahu, 1 December 2021.
Andrew “Andy” McKane IV, PO Box 166, Maunaloa, Molokai, Hawaii 96770