On May 30, 2017, ADM Michael Rogers, USN, Director National Security Service/Chief Central Security Service, during the Agency's annual Cryptologic Memorial Wall Observance, paid tribute to the service and supreme sacrifice of two Marines and 10 Sailors who gave their lives in defense of our nation and our way of life.
These service men were assigned to the Naval Security Group Activity in Kamiseya, Japan. The site, on the Japanese island of Honshu's Kanto Plain near Atsugi Airfield, provided a secure environment and was optimally situated for the reception of signals.
In the early morning hours of September 24, 1965, as over 100 personnel were standing watch in the operations complex at Kamiseya, a fire broke out in Building 25, a two-story wooden building in front of the "tunnel" where the actual work took place. After an hour of unsuccessful efforts to contain the fire, the order was given to evacuate the building. By that time, Building 25 was engulfed in flames. Working to save the lives of others and to protect classified information, the following men ultimately perished in the conflagration: LCPL Richard Eugene McKown, USMC; Sgt Paul Charles Rodrigues, USMC; CTSA Roger W. Alex, USN; CTSN Dennis Eugene Etzweiler, USN; CTSA William Edward Briley, USN; CT3 Archie Russell Garofalo, USN; LTJG Ernest Don Moody, USN; CTSN Wilfred Dewey Cordell, USN; CTSA John Dewey House, USN; CT3 Wayne Edgar Tower, USN; CTSN James Kenneth Whitman, USN, and CT3 Gregory Scott Williams, USN.
The names of all twelve men were engraved on the NSA/CSS Cryptologic Memorial Wall during its dedication in 1996. Today, the Wall displays the names of 176 Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine and civilian cryptologists who have made the ultimate sacrifice, "serving in silence," in the performance of their duties since World War II. Today's ceremony, which included a traditional wreath laying and remarks by ADM Rogers, told the story of twelve brave Americans. Their sacrifice is a solemn reminder of all those men and women who have paid the ultimate price in defense of freedom and our way of life.
Additional information on the NSA/CSS Cryptologic Memorial Wall and a special monograph highlighting the twelve men's service and sacrifice can be viewed via the NSA/CSS website.
NOTE: Media outlets interested in receiving photographs from the ceremony or additional information should contact the NSA Public and Media Affairs Office via phone at 301-688-6524 or via email.