The First Lady of Naval Cryptology

[UPDATE: Some folks seem to think I spelled Cryptography incorrectly in the title to this post. But that isn’t how Agnes Meyer-Driscoll was known. See Remembering the First Lady of Naval Cryptology. I originally referenced the NSA’s site, because why not. Maybe I should have used the Navy’s site.]

Agnes Meyer Driscoll sounds like an extraordinary woman. She was born July 24, 1889 and passed away on September 16, 1971.

In June 1918, about one year after America entered World War I, Agnes Meyer enlisted in the United States Navy. She was recruited at the highest possible rank of chief yeoman and was assigned to the Code and Signal section of the Director of Naval Communications. Except for a two-year hiatus, when she worked for a private firm, Agnes Meyer Driscoll (she married in 1924) would remain a leading cryptanalyst for the U.S. Navy until 1949.

She worked to break the Japanese naval codes of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. She worked to break the cipher of the Orange Machine, which wasn’t quite the Japanese Enigma. And she did work on Enigma, though that code was broken by the British.

In 1949 she transferred to the Armed Forces Security Agency, which became the National Security Agency in 1952. She retired in 1959.

Hat tip to Coffee or Die (which is becoming one of my favorite reads). 7 Badasses in the U.S. Navy — Who Aren’t SEALs! Which is worth your time in its own right. (Beach Jumpers, the USS Seahorse, and more.)

Trump Kills Navy Achievement Medals for JAG Team That Screwed Up

If you call circumventing the protections of the Constitution a screw up. The medals made little sense to anyone outside of JAG. Trump nixes NAMs for 4 prosecutors tied to SEAL case.

“Not only did they lose the case, they had difficulty with respect to information that may have been obtained from opposing lawyers and for giving immunity in a totally incompetent fashion,” Trump tweeted.

And he was right. For the details on everything they got wrong, see the original story: Their case collapsed in court but 4 Navy prosecutors still netted NAMs.

First up there was some warrant-less surveillance carried out by NCIS with the original lead prosecutor on the case in question.

The spying wasn’t the only accusation of prosecutorial and police misconduct dogging the case. They were accused of manipulating witness statements to NCIS agents; using immunity grants and a bogus “target letter” in a crude attempt to keep pro-Gallagher witnesses from testifying; illegally leaking documents to the media to taint the military jury pool; and then trying to cover it all up when they got caught.

And for this they were awarded medals. Does the Judge Advocate General Corps realize how tone-deaf they are? Or is this just another issue of “Lawyers Behaving Badly?”

And for all this (and more, there was at least one more related trial scheduled) the Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson ordered a review of JAG.

Lawyers (and Navy Cops) Behaving Badly

JusticeEnough to have the lead prosecutor thrown off a court martial. Lead Navy prosecutor in SEAL war crime case out over email spying.

Navy Cmdr. Christopher Czaplak was ordered off the case against Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher by the judge, Navy Capt. Aaron Rugh, on Monday after Czaplak admitted emailing 13 defense attorneys and paralegals, as well as Navy Times editor Carl Prine, a tracking beacon in an effort to find the source of leaks to the media.

It was part of an NCIS investigation. (So that makes it OK?)

In a related matter the judge released the defendant from pretrial confinement. Military judge frees Navy SEAL in advance of murder trial.

A decorated Navy SEAL facing a murder trial in the death of an Islamic State prisoner was freed Thursday from custody after a military judge cited interference by prosecutors.

It must be the mindset of .gov and .mil in the 21st Century. They think they can do anything. (Hat tip to Mobius Wolf.)

Capt. Kirk to the Bridge Please (No, not a Star Trek Post)

The US Navy’s new destroyer – the Zumwalt – is nearing completion. U.S. Navy gives look inside futuristic $4.4 billion Zumwalt destroyer – Chicago Tribune

It hasn’t been commissioned yet, so it isn’t the USS anything. It will be the USS Zumwalt on October 15th, after it is commissioned.

And yes, the Captain’s name is James Kirk. (Named after his grandfather, not the guy from Iowa of Star Trek fame.)

It is stealthy, it uses the new electric propulsion – and the ship generates a lot of electric power which runs weapons, and systems, etc. It is acoustically quiet too, making it even harder to find.

Its advanced technology and capabilities allow it to do a range of defensive and offensive missions, and project power, wherever it is needed, and that’s generating tremendous excitement within the Navy, Rowden said.

It is NOT the USS Zumwalt – not yet. (It has to be commissioned to get the “USS.”)

It isn’t quite the stealth destroyer envisioned by James Cobb in The Choosers of the Slain, but it isn’t far off either. This Is The Navy’s New Zumwalt-Class Destroyer Out At Sea For The Very First Time (Click thru for some great photos.)

Pre-Commissioning Unit Zumwalt, soon to be known as the USS Zumwalt, is the United States Navy’s newest and most advanced surface warfare ship. It’s almost an experiment in its own right, with only three ships planned, only 60 percent of the crew of a regular destroyer, and enough power to feed railguns and lasers that don’t even exist yet.

I always thought that the world depicted in Cobb’s Choosers of the Slain made sense. (Well, the first book in the series and the third one made sense… the 2nd and 4th, not so much). Anyway, a world where women were commanding cutting-edge naval vessels and kicking ass while doing it… Not Honor Harrington, but in the same ballpark. (Try your local library.)

And in case you aren’t up on stuff written by dead white men… The Destroyers – Poem by Rudyard Kipling

The strength of twice three thousand horse
That seeks the single goal;
The line that holds the rending course,
The hate that swings the whole;
The stripped hulls, slinking through the gloom,
At gaze and gone again —
The Brides of Death that wait the groom —
The Choosers of the Slain!

Offshore where sea and skyline blend
In rain, the daylight dies;
The sullen, shouldering sweels attend
Night and our sacrifice.
Adown the stricken capes no flare —
No mark on spit or bar, —
Birdled and desperate we dare
The blindfold game of war.

Go read the rest.

“Big E” Retired From Service

The only aircraft carrier of its class ever built, USS Enterprise was retired from active service. USS Enterprise carrier taken out of active service | Fox News.

The USS Enterprise ended its notable 51-year career during a ceremony at its home port at Naval Station Norfolk, where thousands of former crew members, ship builders and their families lined a pier to bid farewell to one of the most decorated ships in the Navy.

The 8th ship in the US navy to be named Enterprise, it won’t be the last. Though the name will be out of service for a number of years, there are plans to christen a new ship with that name in the near future.