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Lunchtime Lecture: Joe Rochefort’s War – The Odyssey of the Codebreaker who outwitted Yamamoto at Midway with author Elliot Carlson
June 13, 2012 @ 12:00 pm
Elliot Carlson’s biography of Capt. Joe Rochefort is the first to be written about the officer who headed Station Hypo, the U.S. Navy’s signals monitoring and cryptographic intelligence unit at Pearl Harbor, and who broke the Japanese navy’s code before the Battle of Midway. The book brings Rochefort to life as the irreverent, fiercely independent, and consequential officer that he was. Readers share his frustrations as he searches in vain for Yamamoto’s fleet prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but share his joy when he succeeds in tracking the fleet in early 1942 and breaks the code that leads Rochefort to believe Yamamoto’s invasion target is Midway. His conclusions, bitterly opposed by some top Navy brass, are credited with making the U.S. victory possible and helping to change the course of the war. The author tells the story of how opponents in Washington forced Rochefort’s removal from Station Hypo and denied him the Distinguished Service Medal recommended by Admiral Nimitz. In capturing the interplay of policy and personality and the role played by politics at the highest levels of the Navy, Carlson reveals a side of the intelligence community seldom seen by outsiders.
Driving directions and maps of the Navy Yard are available at: www.history.navy.mil/branches/org8_Visit.htm