The more than 100 U.S. Navy intelligence code-breakers who played a key role in the World War II victory against Japan were honored in ceremonies at Pearl Harbor on Monday, the 74th anniversary of the Battle of Midway.
Sworn to secrecy, most of the code-breakers never received public recognition during their lifetime.
"That honor was being denied them while they were doing their work here," said Capt. Dale C. Rielage, director of intelligence and information at the Pacific Fleet.
A commemoration was held before news cameras at Building 1, also known as Station HYPO, where the intelligence unit worked in secret in the basement, intercepting and interpreting Japanese communications during the war. The basement is now used mainly as a storage area.
The Battle of Midway, June 4-6, 1942, is viewed by many historians as the key turning point in the war against Japan because the United States was able to cripple Japan’s carrier fleet and halt its expansion in the Pacific.
The battle resulted in the destruction of four Japanese carriers and 256 aircraft and the deaths of more than 2,204 Japanese sailors and aviators. The U.S., by comparison, lost one carrier, 150 aircraft and 307 men, according to the Navy.
"That broke the back of Japanese naval aviation," said Brad Sekigawa, historian at the Naval Air Museum…