Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Welcome to the Cryptologic Community

Do letters matter? Do 35 year old letters matter? Why does it matter and who does it matter to?

The letter on the right is a Welcome to the Cryptologic Community letter to a young LT in the diesel submarine community. It was written and delivered 35 years ago. Note the signature - G.P. March (That was not done with a signature pen.) The letter is old and its recipient is approaching middle age. This letter marks a significant milestone in this officer's career. It was a MAJOR transition for that officer. That MAJOR transition was recognized by the leader of the cryptologic community at the time - Rear Admiral G. Pat March who passed away on 18 October 2009. You can read about him elsewhere on this blog.

Critics will argue that it is a form letter and sending the letter was a mere formality - both meaningless, for the most part. The officer receiving this letter had no sense that this was a form letter and the process a mere formality. He competed with some number of other officers who wanted to become a cryptologist and he was selected. Others were not. He got a letter and others did not.

The Information Dominance Corps and the Information Warfare community should reinstate the practice of welcoming lateral transfers and new accessions with a letter recognizing their achievement. Truth be told, many of our community's most senior leaders have come from other warfare communities - RADM Deets was in training to be a Naval Aviator, RADM Singer was a SWO and so was VADM Dorsett.

Years ago (1986) when you had to request augmentation to the regular Navy, I received a letter from the Admiral welcoming me to the "Regular" Navy. I still have that letter as well as a letter from a Commanding Officer who said that he always "thought that I was a Regular guy anyway". Do these letters mean anything? I will let the length of time that they are kept by their recipients answer that. 35 years-24 years. I think that means something.


Anonymous said...

One great thing old SECGRU did was present the SECGRU MSA when cryptologic personnel retired. Do they still do this? I heard that NETWARCOM did but don't know if they still do or not.

Captain - Special Duty Cryptology said...

Yes. It has been modified somewhat but Mr. Jerry Beckleheimer still does this so far as I know. At least he did 3 years ago when I retired.

Anonymous said...

I agree!!!! Your statement that the length of time the letters are kept by their recipients answer how significant the letters are.

I recall receiving a letter from CNSG when I was selected to Chief Warrant Officer back in 1995. I'm sure I still have it and will go home tonight and look for it. :)

BTW, enjoy your blog alot!!

T said...

I got a welcome letter last year "signed" by RADM Leigher when I laterally transfered to the cryptologic community. So, I believe they still do this.

I also enjoy reading your blog!!!

Captain - Special Duty Cryptology said...


Thanks for your comment and I am beyond pleased that RDML Leigher has kept practice this alive.

Amy said...

Photo: The only time I ever saw an admiral in four years in Naval Security Group:
RADM G.P. March pays us a visit: NSGD Key West, late 1976 or early 77... link:

Oh, and by the way, do take the time to view the final scene of "Moby Dick", which begins with Starbuck ALMOST shooting Ahab, but losing his nerve. The problem of what to DO when the person in charge has clearly gone scooters and is endangering everyone else?! Easy to discuss, not so easy to do...

Ref: Captain Holly Graf, someone commented sarcastically about her being a "warrior", and I recalled that according to the great general Chief Red Cloud, the number one characteristic of a warrior must be HUMILITY!!!