Sunday, June 10, 2012

Last surviving member of Admiral Nimitz's intelligence team is awarded his Information Dominance Warfare Officer qualification

CAPT Ashworth presents RADM Showers with his certificate.
A year ago, Captain Steve Ashworth 'took permission'  and awarded Rear Admiral "Mac" Showers his Information Dominance Warfare insignia and certificate for his many achievements over a long Navy career.

Less than a year prior to the Battle of Midway, retired Rear Admiral Donald "Mac" Showers had been commissioned on Sept. 12, 1941 as an Ensign. Soon after his commissioning, he received orders to join Pearl Harbor's code breakers. One of very few code breakers, "Mac" was assigned to Station Hypo. Commander Joseph John Rochefort was the Station Hypo officer in charge. Rochefort hand-picked many of Hypo's augmentees, and it contained the Navy's best cryptologists, cryptanalysts, traffic analysts, and linguists. By the spring of 1942, Rochefort's staff, which included Showers, was making positive strides toward deciphering the Japanese Navy's crucial next move. 

About that time, Japanese intercepts began to make references to a pending operation in which the objective was designated as "AF", but not everyone was convinced. Showers was a key witness to the history, in fact the conversation regarding the significance of "AF" between Rochefort and Cmdr. Jasper Holmes took place at his desk. Both Rochefort and Holmes knew they needed to convince Admiral Chester Nimitz and Washington that the Japanese may be targeting Midway Island. Both believed that "AF" signified Midway Island based upon his staff's earlier deductions that the "A" designators were assigned to locations in the Hawaiian Islands. 

Rochefort's staff assisted in drafting a naval message, in the clear, indicating that Midway Island's water distillation plant had suffered serious damage and that fresh water was needed. Shortly after the transmission, an intercepted Japanese intelligence report indicated that "AF" was short of water - which satisfactorily alleviated any doubt. 

Due to the cryptologic and intelligence achievements of Rochefort and his staff, including Showers, the team enabled Nimitz to know when the attack on Midway Island would commence. Armed with this crucial information, he was able to get his severely outgunned, but determined force in position in time.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I attended this event last year, what an amazing opportunity to hear the words directly from a living legend, I wish I was able to attend the same event that was held in Hawaii this year and here the Admiral's words again. I have been to Pearl Harbor, Horishima and Nagasaki, and ready many books regarding WWII, but to listen to someone who participated in such a turning point in our National, Military and Naval history was a true blessing.

Anonymous said...

I attended this event last year, what an amazing opportunity to hear the words directly from a living legend, I wish I was able to attend the same event that was held in Hawaii this year and here the Admiral's words again. I have been to Pearl Harbor, Horishima and Nagasaki, and ready many books regarding WWII, but to listen to someone who participated in such a turning point in our National, Military and Naval history was a true blessing.

Anonymous said...

Captain Ashworth is a class act from start to finish.