5 Replies Latest reply on Apr 8, 2020 11:00 PM by Don Johnson

    Seeking information my aunt, a women code breaker


      I think my aunt was a code breaker during WWII.  She was very secretive about her activities.  Where can I find information about her?

        • Re: Seeking information my aunt, a women code breaker
          Sylvia Naylor Scout

          Dear Jean Dietrich,


          Thank you for posting your question on History Hub!


          In order to try to locate records relating to your aunt’s work during World War II, you need more details about her employment.  You might find such information in her Official Personnel File (OPF) if she was a civilian employee or Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) if she was in the military.


          Official Personnel Files (OPFs) and medical information for individuals who worked for the U.S. government in a civilian capacity prior to 1952 are in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis, P.O. Box 38757, St. Louis, MO 63138. The email address is stl.archives@nara.gov. Please include full name used during Federal employment, date of birth, Social Security Number (if applicable), name and location of employing Federal agency, beginning and ending dates of Federal Service. For more information, the web site is http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/archival-programs/civilian-personnel-archival/index.html.


          Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) and individual medical reports for enlisted men of the U.S. Army who were separated from the service after October 1912 and prior to 1957 and for officers of the U.S. Army who were separated from the service after June 1917 and prior to 1956 are in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. In many cases where personnel records were destroyed in the 1973 fire, proof of service can be provided from other records such as morning reports, payrolls, and military orders, and a certificate of military service will be issued. Please complete a GSA Standard Form 180 and mail to NARA's National Personnel Records Center, (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO  63138-1002. 


          We hope this information is helpful.  Best of luck with your family research!


          2 people found this helpful
          • Re: Seeking information my aunt, a women code breaker
            J. Andrew Scout

            I'd suggest the following "Know Your Records" video that the National Archives has made available on YouTube on the topic of "World War II Code Girls."   https://youtu.be/DTokbLnm2VY


            This video provides specific guidance about requesting and understanding records of women that worked for the US government in a cryptographic capacity. The presentation itself does not start until 10 minutes into the video so you may want to skip to that point.

            1 person found this helpful
            • Re: Seeking information my aunt, a women code breaker
              Cara Moore Lebonick Adventurer

              As the other posters have mentioned, the personnel records of both military and civilian federal service are at the National Archives at St. Louis. We do have military records of women, as well as men. And while the US Army records were the ones most affected by the 1973 fire, we do have military records for all of the military branches and code girls could have been part of the US Army and the other military branches.


              If you'd like to request a search but are unsure of the specific agency or military branch of employment, you are welcome to provide any and all evidence you have or was mentioned to you through oral history and our staff will do our best to determine where a personnel record may be. You are also welcome to utilize History Hub to try and determine this information and I, as well as the other participants,  may be able to provide additional guidance.




              Cara Moore Lebonick

              National Archives at St. Louis

              2 people found this helpful
              • Re: Seeking information my aunt, a women code breaker

                My mom was a WAAC and then a WAC and was a Cryptographer with the 6719th Overseas Support Group (WAC) and served in Italy in 1944 and 1945. Her command provided cryptographic support for HQ12th Air Force. Her unit started out in Foggia, Italy, then moved to Naples, and finally moved to Florence where they stayed until the end of the war.


                She had a yearbook of her unit and it’s travels (which I now have) that has names, pictures, stateside addresses.


                although I asked her the specifics of her job fifty years after the war she would always tell me it was classified and she couldn’t divulge any information. That tells you how seriously she and others viewed what they did.


                anyway, that’s my contribution.  Hope it helps.


                Best wishes.

                1 person found this helpful