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Chuck Hinman: IJMA. Chuck Cryptographer
=Chuck Hinman: Chuck Cryptographer. Chuck emphasizes the seriousness of his World War Two work and asks, who wants to die by being strung up by your fingernails?
Next earlier Chuck Hinman column - Waiting in the doctor's office
By Chuck Hinman
Don't have much lined up for today so will add a few remarks, never previously revealed about my 'cryptographer' work in service. After finishing basic training in the Air Force in 1942 at Sheppard Field, Texas, I was assigned to training in California.
Chuck's friends and neighbors interviewed for security clearance
When I was chosen to go to 'Crypt' school, I was aware that I had to be cleared for Top Secret (the highest) security. I didn't know until years after the war, who all of my friends and neighbors had been questioned about me -- for my Top Secret clearance. They really checked you out - big time!
In addition our training and actual work was very secure. When we were doing our thing, there was an armed guard on duty outside the barricaded working area.
Training on the M-209 not to be breathed to anyone
The laugher is -- when I first went to crypt school in Fresno, California, I trained on a machine called (I believe) an M-209 -- it wasn't the 'ultimate' but just the training machine. It was kind of box shaped with a typewriter keyboard.
Cryptographers were constantly reminded of the terrible fate that would come to us if we breathed anything about our business to anyone, including wives! And I, and everyone else, took our work seriously!
M-209 seen in a pawn shop but seriousness maintained
But one time, I and some crypt buddies were walking the streets of Fresno and noticed an M-209 in the windows of a big pawn shop -- which shops were always the friend of service people!! We hooted about that but never let up on the seriousness of our mission. After all, who wants to die by being strung up by your fingernails?
My fingernails are kind of messed up from fungus infection received in the Marianas Islands but not from revealing any secrets as a cryptographer -- not even close!
Psst -- don't tell anyone what I have told you!
Written by Chuck Hinman. Date unknown but before May 2005.
Editorial Note: When I saw 'laugher,' I immediately thought 'laughter' misspelled but there is such a word and its meaning is appropriate to cryptographers: a contest or competition in which one team easily overwhelms another. Wish I could ask Chuck! -RHS
This story was posted on 2013-08-25 00:41:00
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