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Cryptologic Hall of Honor

The Cryptologic Hall of Honor was created in 1999 to pay special tribute to the pioneers and heroes who rendered distinguished service to American cryptology.

The standards are high for induction into this great hall. The individuals honored were innovators over their entire careers or made major contributions to the structure and processes of American cryptology. The men and women who have been inducted to the Cryptologic Hall of Honor are all greats in the once silent world of cryptology.

In the early days of America's cryptologic effort, many of the "giants" did both Signals Intelligence and Information Assurance. They made important contributions to both offensive and defensive cryptology. As such, they were among the first inducted into the Cryptologic Hall of Honor.

Chief Harry Kidder, USN

2019 Hall of Honor Inductee


Chief Radioman Harry Kidder, USN, one of the ablest radio operators in the US Asiatic Fleet in the early 1920s, became interested in Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) transmissions. Chief Kidder taught himself Japanese syllabary and IJN radio procedure. The value of his IJN intercepts was recognized up the chain of command to Washington. Influenced by this effort, the Navy established intercept sites around the Pacific.

Chief Kidder was assigned to Washington to teach a select group of radiomen in intercept and traffic analysis. He designed the curriculum --- due to its secrecy, the course was given on the roof of the main Navy building in Washington. Kidder, known by then as “Pappy,” instructed the first classes from 1928 through 1930. They, in turn, were nicknamed the “On-The-Roof Gang” (OTRG). 

In 1931, Chief Kidder returned to the Fleet, inspecting and assisting intercept sites across the Pacific. In 1933, he returned to D.C. to instruct three more classes of new Roofers.  

He retired in 1935, but returned to active duty in 1941 to help establish new intercept sites for the war effort. 

Chief Kidder’s OTRG pioneered SIGINT work and provided essential wartime support; today’s Navy SIGINTers stand on his and their shoulders.