This volume in the third in the Center for Cryptologic History's series documenting United States communications intelligence in World War II. The first volume was Dr. George F. Howe's American Signal Intelligence in Northwest Africa and Western Europe, subsequently released to the National Archives and Records Administration as SRH 391. Frederick Parker's New View to Pearl Harbor followed; this was the first volume in a major project documenting U.S. Naval COMINT in the Pacific Theater in World War II.

As was the case in his earlier work, Mr. Parker has diligently researched and analyzed the surviving COMINT records held by NSA, the military services, and the National Archives. The process of locating and identifying these World War II COMINT records has been, and continues to be, agonizingly slow. Contrary to the impression held by some outside historians, these documents are not neatly marked and arranged in drawers awaiting our use.

But the time and effort have been extremely worthwhile. Mr. Parker has combined meticulous research and careful analysis of the COMINT and then has blended the COMINT history with the facts from published accounts of the military operations involved.

The cryptologic profession has long been aware of the role played by COMINT in the Battles of Coral Sea and Midway and that Midway was a pivotal action in the naval war in the Pacific. Mr. Parker has provided the reader, at last, with a masterfully detailed account of the COMING associated not only with the Coral Sea and Midway actions but also with the events in the Aleutians, often neglected or given superficial treatment by some historians. And, as Mr. Park documents, there is a very interesting story of the non-use of COMINT by the commander of the U.S. task force.

Beyond the treatment of the role of COMINT in the battles, however, Mr. Parker has provided the reader with a marvelous context from which to view the unfolding history of U.S. naval COMINT in the Pacific. He has presented the reader with a continuity often lacking in accounts of individual events or actions. The history of U.S. naval COMINT in World War II cannot be viewed simply as related to specific battles or events but as an evolving, dynamic, changing entity with a recognizable history of its own. Mr. Parker's works provide a continuing examination of the organization, personnel, policies, and operating procedures of the small COMINT organization of the 1930s as it desperately struggled to both meet the exigencies of war plans for the future. Mr. Parker has provided the cryptologic profession, the academic community, and the public at large, with an exciting history. Future volumes are eagerly awaited.

Mr. Parker has been a reemployed annuitant working in the Center for Cryptologic History., The Center lost all of its reemployed annuitants late in 1992. Since that time, Mr. Parker has rejoined the Center as a cleared volunteer, and continues to make invaluable contributions to U.S. COMINT and to U.S. history.

Henry F. Schorreck
NSA Historian


Table of Contents *   Introduction

Transcribed and formatted by Patrick Clancey