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Elizabeth Ann Allen

Elizabeth Allen

                         Name: Elizabeth Ann Allen

                         Branch of Service: U.S. Navy

                         Unit: OP20GL, Washington, DC

                         Rank: Yeoman 3/C

                         Dates of Service: 5/30/1943-11/21/1945

                         Area of Service: American Theater

                         Elizabeth Allen's WWII Service:

Elizabeth served as a WAVE in the U.S. Navy and was assigned to the Naval Communications Annex in Washington, D.C., from 1943 until June 1945. At the Annex, Elizabeth reported to duty on OP20GL, which was tasked with enemy radio communications including traffic analysis, transmitter tracking/locating, and cryptanalysis. One of the civilian employees of OP20G was Edward Van der Rhoer decoded a message telling of the plans of Japanese Admiral Yamamoto to visit troops in Bouganville in the Solomons. U.S. Army planes intercepted the Admiral's plane and shot it down, killing the Admiral. The cause of Admiral Yamamoto's death was not revealed by U.S. officials because they did not want the Japanese to know that the U.S. had broken the Japanese code.

Elizabeth and several other WAVES in OP20GL were taught basic Japanese to help with writing reports on the decoded documents.  In the summer of 1944, Elizabeth received her FBI clearance and was given the job of cataloging captured Japanese documents that had been translated. These documents had been captured on the Mariana Islands, and at one point, Elizabeth had both a WAVE JG and a male Naval lieutenant working for her. Elizabeth remembered: "I enjoyed this very much. I had my own little office where I worked. I thought I was doing something very worthwhile."

When VE Day was celebrated on May 8, 1945, Elizabeth knew that her small office in the Annex had helped in some way to reach the war's end which they hoped would come soon. The total population of the Annex at that time consisted of 3,7722 people: 374 male officers, 401 female officers, 417 male enlisted, 2407 female enlisted, and 99 civilians. As Elizabeth recalled the work environment at the Annex: "OP20GL was a wonderful place to work, and the friends I made there I would never forget."

On 19 June 1945, Elizabeth was reassigned to Station S19 on Bainbridge Island, Port Blakely, Washington. Station S19 was the ear of the Naval Communications network, catching the codes from Japanese secret messages which were then sent to OP20GL in Washington, D.C., for cryptanalysis. Elizabeth remained on Bainbridge Island after Japan signed the Peace Treaty on 2 September 1945; she was discharged from the Navy on 21 November 1945 as a Yeoman 3/C. Her final pay included $300 plus $100 to buy civilian clothes.

Elizabeth attended a 15 October 1985 reunion of WAVES assigned to OP20GL during WWII. In the photo below the WAVES posed in front of the Chapel at the Naval Security Station, Washington, D.C.:

First Row (L to R): Elizabeth (Allen) Butler, Mary Koch, Ruth Mirsky, Ethlyn Stewart.
Second Row: Patricia DeLozier, Dorothy Kitchen, Georgia Ludington, Ina Winger.

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