Joseph Rochefort file photo [16433]

Joseph Rochefort

SurnameRochefort
Given NameJoseph
Born12 May 1900
Died20 Jul 1976
CountryUnited States
CategoryMilitary-Sea
GenderMale

Contributor:

ww2dbaseJoseph John Rochefort was born in Ohio, United States in 1900. In 1918, he dropped out of high school to join the United States Navy; the fact that he never graduated from high school was known by very few. He initially served with the rating of electrician 3rd class; failing to secure a transfer to the United States Naval Reserve Flying Corps, he instead transferred to the United States Naval Auxiliary Reserve in New York, New York, United States, where he attended the Navy Steam-Engineering Training School hosted by nearby Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, United States. His studies at Stevens was limited to military training only; he was never matriculated at Stevens and did not attend any academic courses taught by the regular faculty at Stevens. In Jun 1919, he graduated from the Navy Steam-Engineering Training School and was commissioned a temporary ensign for service as the engineering officer of a tanker and later a minesweeper. In Mar 1921, he married Elma Fay Aery. Two months later, he took a test at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California, United States, soon succeeding in transferring into the regular navy at the rank of ensign. This made him one of the "mustangs", a nickname for the very few US Navy officers who did not attend the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, United States. In the early 1920s, he briefly served aboard battleship USS Connecticut, cruiser USS Charleston, and destroyer USS Stansbury before returning to the tanker USS Cuyama which was his first assignment after completing the Navy Steam-Engineering Training School back in 1919. On 28 Sep 1924, while serving as officer of the deck aboard Cuyama during the early hours of the day, Cuyama and several destroyed tied to her began drifting in San Francisco Bay in California, with the ships slamming into each other and into nearby ships, causing minor damage to several ships; luckily for Rochefort, responsbility to this accident would not be placed on his shoulders, thus saving his young career. Between Dec 1924 and Sep 1925, he was the assistant engineering officer of battleship USS Arizona; around this time, his interest in puzzles and card games, and his skills with them, led to his officers recommending him for intelligence work, leading to his Oct 1925 transfer to Washington DC, United States to serve with the cryptanalysis section of the office of the Chief of Naval Operations. In Feb 1926, as the previous cryptanalysis section chief took on sea duty, he assumed command of the section. In Sep 1927, when it was Rochefort's time for sea duty, he became the executive officer and navigator of destroyer USS Macdonough. While serving aboard Macdonough, he observed a general poor handling of sensitive radio communications codes by communications officers in his fleet and submitted a report to his superiors noting so; this report did not achieve much improvement, and it might had, though impossible to conclude with certainty, earned him some political enemies. Between Sep 1929 and Jun 1932, he and his family relocated to Japan as he was chosen as a part of a very small group of US Navy officers (only two were chosen per year) to study the Japanese language. Returning to the US in Oct 1932, he was assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence located in Washington DC. His knowledge in language and intelligence work would not be put to use immediately, however, as he returned to sea duty, serving aboard battleship USS Maryland, battleship USS California, cruiser USS New Orleans, and cruiser USS Indianapolis in the 1930s. Although serving in operational roles aboard ships and in fleets, he always had his eyes on communications and intelligence.

ww2dbaseIt was not until 1941 when Rochefort officially returned to communications and intelligence work. He reported to the main US Navy building at Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii on 2 Jun 1941 to command a cryptanalysis section code name Station HYPO, where he and his team busily intercepted and decrypted Japanese Navy communications, with priority placed on the disposition of Japanese warships and the projection of where the warships might travel to in the short term. Rochefort was known to his subordinates as a very casual commanding officer, unlike most of Rochefort's peers. He did not enforce a strict dress code for his officers and men, and did not require his subordinates to address him as "sir" or "commander" after every sentence. Working in the cold basement of the main US Navy building in Pearl Harbor, he often wore a smoking jacket to keep warm; the practical purpose of the jacket would later be exaggerated into a form of eccentricity by fellow officers who viewed cryptanalysis as an auxiliary function of the navy performed by oddballs. By Sep 1941, the team had already detected hints of Japanese aggression in the Pacific Ocean, and Rochefort reported such findings to the admirals in Pearl Harbor and in Washington. The team regularly uncovered strong hints throughout the fall of 1941, such as the changing of encryption in Nov and the changing of warship call signs in Dec, but Rochefort, along with most of the US Navy leadership, did not believe Pearl Harbor would be among the first Japanese targets. The resulting devastating raid on Pearl Harbor would remain a sore spot in his heart for years to come. In the subsequent month, Station HYPO produced valuable intelligence that aided the carrier raids in the Marshall Islands and the Gilbert Islands, among other early US operations in the Pacific War. On 27 Apr 1942, his team intercepted and decrypted a Japanese Navy radio message requesting navigation charts for the Dutch Harbor and Kodiak Island areas of the Aleutian Islands; not long after, another request for charts of the Hawaiian Islands was intercepted. By May 1942, Rochefort had hypothesized, with good certainty, that the Japanese were going to attack the Aleutian Islands and Midway Atoll. He was able to convince his superior at Pearl Harbor Chester Nimitz, and by mid-May Ernest King was convinced as well, but there were still others (amongst them other intelligence officers) who believed the Japanese were instead heading south toward Port Moresby in Australian Papua or toward northern Australia. To confirm this idea, Rochefort adopted his subordinate Lieutenant Commander Jasper Holmes's idea in which a fake message regarding a breakdown of the water distiller system in Midway was sent over radio unencrypted; the message was intercepted by Rochefort's Japanese counterparts and, falling for the bait, the Japanese promptly ordered the invasion fleet to take along ample water, thus confirming the target of the upcoming Japanese attack. The team would accurately determine the Japanese carrier fleet strength and the approximate location where the carriers would launch the attacks, both of which greatly contributed to the eventual US victory. Although Nimitz supported a recommendation (by David Bagley) to award Rochefort a Distinguished Service Medal for his success, political intrigues at upper levels of the US Navy, namely a disliking of Rochefort on the part of Ernest King's chief of staff Russell Wilson, caused this recommendation to be rejected by King. Ultimately Rochefort only received a letter from King with simple words of congratulations. Rochefort cared little, though, as he believed such high recognitions for him or his team might attract unwanted attention for Station HYPO's highly classified work. In late Jun 1942, he was named the temporary chief of the Intelligence Center of Pacific Ocean Areas of the US Navy Pacific Fleet, an organization still being formed. Around this time, he had sensed that the bureaucratic in-fighting in the US Navy threatened his career in naval intelligence. In late Oct 1942, he received word that he was to be temporarily transferred to Washington DC, and knew that it was in effect his relief from Station HYPO. This relief was made official on 16 Nov. Perhaps unjustifiably, he blamed Chester Nimitz for not being able to protect him from his political enemies; he did, however, encourage his former subordinates to be loyal to his successor William Goggins, as Goggins had little to do with the fight between Office of Naval Intelligence and Office of Naval Communications for the control of the cryptanalysis sections of the US Navy.

ww2dbaseBetween Nov 1942 and May 1943, Rochefort was attached to the Western Sea Frontier based in San Francisco, California. Between Aug 1943 and Apr 1944, he oversaw the construction of floating drydock USS ABSD-2; although slated to be the ship's commanding officer upon completion, he was transferred a short time before ABSD-2 set sail for the Admiralty Islands. Assigned to the Far Eastern Section of the US Navy Office of Naval Intelligence, he led a team in evaluating previously captured Japanese messages to form a larger picture of the Japanese situation.

ww2dbaseAfter the end of the Pacific War, Rochefort found himself idling, and thus requested for sea duty. The transfer was accepted, and on 1 Oct 1945 he was detached from intelligence for combat information center training in San Diego, California and damage control training in San Francisco, California, both intending to refresh his knowledge in preparation for command at sea. In Nov, already slated for sea command, he was unexpectedly ordered to travel to Washington DC to act as a witness for a Pearl Harbor raid investigation. Stuck in naval bureaucracy once again, he became disenchanted and requested retirement, which was granted on 9 Jul 1946, effective 1 Jan 1947. In Jun 1948, he contacted his high school, which he dropped out of in 1918, noting that his cryptanalysis and language work with the US Navy should provide enough real world credit for him to receive a high school diploma; the high school agreed. With a diploma in hand, he enrolled in the University of Southern California to study international relations, with some additional courses in the Russian language and in advanced mathematics. His college career would end abruptly in 1950, however, as he agreed to be reactivated by the US Navy to head up the Intelligence Section of the Fleet Evaluation Group during the Korean War; in this role, he visited Japan twice, first time to investigate why the US military was taken by surprise early in the Korean War and to propose new processes to prevent such surprise from happening again, and the second time to ensure that the group's proposals were being implemented. Shortly after he returned to the United States, he requested for permission to retire, but this time he was denied. Instead, he was sent to the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, United States to join a US Navy committee to study the Battle of Leyte Gulf; his primary role was to translate Japanese documents relating to the battle. While he would note that his work at Newport was most enjoyable, reduced budget for the US Navy meant that less critical positions like the one he held would be eliminated. He retired from the US Navy in Mar 1953 and shortly after returned to his studies at the University of Southern California. He later ventured into some real estate work. Around this time, he was also approached by a group of Pearl Harbor conspiracy theorists who wished to prove that Franklin Roosevelt had concrete knowledge of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor as early as 4 Dec 1941 per the "East Wind" message; while Rochefort offered some help, ultimately what he offered gave the conspiracy theorists nothing to further their cause. In the 1960s, his health as well as his wife's health began to decline. In 1969, his wife Elma Fay would pass away first from congestive heart failure. Rochefort worked as a consultant for the 20th Century Fox film "Tora! Tora! Tora!", released in 1970. He was later a consultant for the Universal Pictures film "Midway", released in 1976; aside from providing direction as a veteran who played a part in the battle, he also coached actor Hal Holbrook who played an exaggeratingly eccentric Rochefort in the film.

ww2dbaseAs the calendar turned into 1976, Rochefort's health declined further as he suffered from ulcers, low blood pressure, and heart disease. He passed away on 20 Jul 1976 after a heart attack at the Little Company of Mary Hospital in Torrance, California. He was buried at the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California next to his wife.

ww2dbaseIn the 1950s and 1960s, Rochefort's former subordinate Jasper Holmes started a campaign to get a Distinguished Service Medal for Rochefort, the award that was denied by Ernest King and King's chief of staff Russell Wilson in 1942; Holmes was not able to secure the award before the usual cutoff time for decorations had passed. In 1981, another former subordinate Donald Showers, more recently a high level official in the Central Intelligence Agency, made the attempt once again. After the request for review sat in US Navy bureaucracy for many months, it was approved in 1985. The posthumously medal was personally awarded to the Rochefort family by US President Ronald Reagan in 1986, witnessed by Vice President George Bush and other high level officials; the ceremony took place in the Roosevelt Room in the White House in Washington DC, United States. Later in the same year, he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2000, he was posthumously inducted into the Central Security Service Hall of Fame of the United States National Security Agency.

ww2dbaseSources:
Elliot Carlson, Joe Rochefort's War
Wikipedia

Joseph Rochefort Timeline

12 May 1900 Joseph Rochefort was born in Dayton, Ohio, United States.
20 Apr 1918 Joseph Rochefort enlisted in the United States Navy.
8 May 1918 Joseph Rochefort was activated by the United States Navy with the rating of Electrician 3rd Class at San Pedro, California, United States.
14 Aug 1918 Joseph Rochefort applied for the transfer to the United States Naval Reserve Flying Corps; this request would soon be denied.
16 Sep 1918 The United States Navy denied Joseph Rochefort's request to transfer to the Naval Reserve Flying Corps.
1 Dec 1918 Joseph Rochefort reported to the headquarters of the United States Naval Auxiliary Reserve at the ferry terminal in Manhattan, New York, New York, United States.
17 Mar 1919 Joseph Rochefort was given the rating of Machinist.
30 Mar 1919 Joseph Rochefort was assigned to the passenger ship Koningin der Nederlanden.
23 Apr 1919 Joseph Rochefort departed Brest, France aboard passenger ship Koningin der Nederlanden as a member of the crew.
30 Apr 1919 Joseph Rochefort arrived at Newport News, Virginia, United States aboard passenger ship Koningin der Nederlanden as a member of the crew.
5 May 1919 Joseph Rochefort received a fitness report from his commanding officer aboard passenger ship Koningin der Nederlanden; the evaluation was mixed, noting that he was not ready to be promoted to become an officer. The United States Navy would soon promote him despite of this report.
14 Jun 1919 Joseph Rochefort was promoted to the rank of temporary ensign as he completed the Navy Steam-Engineering Training School hosted by Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, United States.
5 Jul 1919 Joseph Rochefort, deactivated from the United States Navy, returned to home near Los Angeles, California, United States and would soon begin working as a plumber.
19 Sep 1919 While living at home near Los Angeles, California, United States, Joseph Rochefort received a letter from the United States Navy Bureau of Navigation asking him to return to service aboard tanker Cuyama based out of San Diego, California. Rochefort would readily agree to return to naval service.
7 Oct 1919 Joseph Rochefort reported for duty aboard tanker Cuyama as her assistant engineering officer; the ship was based out of San Diego, California, United States.
29 Mar 1921 Joseph Rochefort married Elma Fay Aery in California, United States.
16 May 1921 Joseph Rochefort took a test at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California, United States for transferring to the regular navy.
19 May 1921 Joseph Rochefort was assigned to minesweeper Cardinal based at San Pedro, California, United States as the ship's chief engineer.
20 Aug 1921 Joseph Rochefort became one of the rare few during this period who were transferred from the naval reserve into the United States Navy. He was given the rank of ensign.
16 Nov 1921 Joseph Rochefort requested transfer to battleship USS Connecticut.
31 Dec 1921 Joseph Rochefort was assigned to USS Connecticut.
4 Jan 1922 Joseph Rochefort was transferred out of battleship USS Connecticut and was assigned to destroyer USS Stansbury.
27 May 1922 Joseph Rochefort was transferred out of destroyer USS Stansbury and was assigned to cruiser USS Charleston.
31 May 1922 Joseph Rochefort was assigned to tanker Cuyama.
22 Dec 1922 Joseph Rochefort was promoted to the rank of lieutenant (junior grade).
27 Sep 1923 Joseph Rochefort's son Joseph Rochefort, Jr. was born in California, United States.
8 Dec 1923 Joseph Rochefort's request to the United States Navy Mine Force was denied.
23 Jun 1924 Joseph Rochefort requested transfer to Mare Island Naval Shipyard at Vallejo, California, United States, noting that its proximity to the University of California would allow him to take Japanese language courses; the request would be denied.
28 Sep 1924 Shortly after 0000 hour, while Joseph Rochefort was acting as the officer of the deck, tanker Cuyama and the several destroyers attached to her began drifting into the San Francisco Bay in California, United States, causing minor damage to various ships but causing no casualties. Rochefort would escape blame in the resulting inquiry, receiving only a minor reprimand on his file.
9 Dec 1924 Joseph Rochefort was assigned to battleship USS Arizona based at San Pedro, California, United States as the ship's assistant engineering officer.
19 Sep 1925 While serving aboard USS Arizona in California, United States, Joseph Rochefort received orders to report to the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington DC, United States for a new assignment.
1 Oct 1925 Joseph Rochefort reported to the Chief of Naval Operations office in Washington DC, United States for his new assignment in the cryptanalysis section.
6 Feb 1926 Joseph Rochefort was promoted to the rank of lieutenant and would soon take over the cryptanalysis section of the US Navy in Washington DC, United States as the previous commanding officer received sea duty.
24 Sep 1927 Joseph Rochefort was assigned to destroyer USS Macdonough as her executive officer and navigator.
25 Nov 1927 Having observed poor handling of sensitive codes by other officers in his destroyer squadron while he served aboard USS Macdonough, Joseph Rochefort submitted a report noting so and would soon make recommendations to secure communications.
26 Jul 1929 Joseph Rochefort received orders to transfer to Japan to study the Japanese language.
6 Sep 1929 Joseph Rochefort, his wife, and his son boarded the passenger ship President Adams at San Francisco, California, United States, bound for Kobe, Japan.
27 Sep 1929 Joseph Rochefort arrived at Kobe, Japan via passenger ship President Adams.
28 Sep 1929 Joseph Rochefort reported in to the United States Embassy in Tokyo, Japan.
9 May 1931 Joseph Rochefort's second child, Janet Fay Rochefort, was born in Tokyo, Japan.
18 Jun 1932 Joseph Rochefort received the order to detach from the United States Embassy, effective 4 Oct 1932.
4 Oct 1932 Joseph Rochefort and his family boarded passenger ship President Coolidge at Yokohama, Japan, bound for the United States.
18 Oct 1932 Joseph Rochefort arrived at San Francisco, California, United States via the passenger ship President Coolidge. Instead of reporting to Washington DC, United States as ordered, he would request the US Navy to allow him to see his family in the Los Angeles, California area first.
18 Nov 1932 Joseph Rochefort arrived at the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington DC, United States.
30 Dec 1932 While in Washington DC, United States, Joseph Rochefort was ordered to travel to Norfolk, Virginia, United States, where he would depart for the west coast of the United States for sea duty aboard USS Maryland.
20 May 1933 Joseph Rochefort was assigned to USS California, the flagship of the United States Navy Battle Fleet, as the assistant operations officer.
18 Oct 1934 Joseph Rochefort received a perfect fitness report from his commanding officer.
18 Jun 1938 Joseph Rochefort was assigned to heavy cruiser New Orleans as the navigator.
29 Sep 1939 Joseph Rochefort was ordered to transfer to heavy cruiser Indianapolis currently based out of San Pedro, California, United States.
30 Sep 1939 Joseph Rochefort reported to heavy cruiser Indianapolis at San Pedro, California, United States.
5 Oct 1939 Joseph Rochefort arrived at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii with the US Navy Scouting Force.
9 Nov 1939 Joseph Rochefort was evaluated for promotion, but a promotion was not granted; it was speculated that he had made too many political enemies.
2 Jun 1941 Joseph Rochefort reported to the main US Navy building at Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii for his new duty heading up a cryptanalysis section.
13 Oct 1941 Joseph Rochefort was promoted to the rank of commander, retroactively effective 1 Apr 1941.
27 Nov 1941 Husband Kimmel met with Joseph Rochefort at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii in the late afternoon to discuss possible moves Japan might take should Japan and United States continued to head toward a military conflict. Rochefort believed that the main Japanese thrust would be toward the South Pacific, and the Hawaiian Islands did not seem to be in direct danger for now.
10 Dec 1941 Joseph Rochefort and his team in Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii began working on decrypting the main Japanese Navy operational code.
2 Jan 1942 Joseph Rochefort was interviewed by staff members of the Roberts Commission at Honolulu, US Territory of Hawaii regarding the events leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack; he answered more than 100 questions.
14 Jan 1942 Joseph Rochefort's cryptanalytic team in US Territory of Hawaii detected Japanese carrier activity in the central Pacific area, which might interfere with the planned US carrier strike in the Gilbert Island and the Marshall Islands.
16 Jan 1942 Joseph Rochefort's cryptanalytic team in US Territory of Hawaii concluded that the Japanese carrier presence in the central Pacific was based at Truk in the Caroline Islands, thus clearing the way for the planned US carrier strike in the Gilbert Island and the Marshall Islands.
26 Jan 1942 Joseph Rochefort's cryptanalytic team in US Territory of Hawaii reported that there were no radio traffic regarding Japanese carriers in the Gilbert Islands and Marshall Islands area, thus concluding that the planned US carrier strike in the two island groups should be able to continue without unexpected threats.
2 Mar 1942 Joseph Rochefort reported that intercepted Japanese Navy radio messages revealed a planned air attack on a location code named AK, which was soon interpreted as Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
6 Mar 1942 Joseph Rochefort's cryptanalytic team at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii began noticing a target location code named AF appearing in Japanese Navy radio messages, and that this target might be struck within a short time.
10 Mar 1942 At Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii, Joseph Rochefort concluded that the target AF which had appeared in Japanese radio messages in the past few days referred to either Johnston, Palmyra, or Midway, and he promptly sent out warnings to all three locations. Privately, he reported to his superiors that Midway was the likely target.
15 Jun 1942 Joseph Rochefort was made the temporary chief of the Intelligence Center of Pacific Ocean Areas, a new intelligence branch in the US Navy Pacific Fleet based in Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
20 Jun 1942 The US Navy Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington DC, United States proposed to take over Joseph Rochefort's cryptanalytic team based in Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii, which currently reported to the US Navy Office of Naval Communications.
22 Jun 1942 In a message to Admiral Ernest King, Vice Admiral Russell Wilson recommended against the proposal to award the Distinguished Service Medal to Joseph Rochefort; this fact was not known to Rochefort.
23 Jun 1942 At Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii, Joseph Rochefort received a message from Admiral Ernest King to congratulate him on a job well done. There were no mention of any award of medals or other forms of recognition.
25 Jun 1942 Joseph Rochefort officially assumed the role of the temporary chief of the Intelligence Center of Pacific Ocean Areas of the US Navy Pacific Fleet based in Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
14 Jul 1942 The Intelligence Center of Pacific Ocean Areas of the US Navy Pacific Fleet based in Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii officially began its operations; its first chief, in a temporary capacity, was Joseph Rochefort.
20 Sep 1942 US Navy Pacific Fleet's chief communications officer John Redman recommended the relief of radio intelligence officer Joseph Rochefort.
16 Oct 1942 US Navy radio intelligence officer Joseph Rochefort, serving in Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii, received a telegraph from his wife noting that Rochefort's father had passed away in California, United States.
22 Oct 1942 US Navy Pacific Fleet's chief communications officer John Redman ordered radio intelligence officer Joseph Rochefort to travel to Washington DC, United States for a temporary assignment. Rochefort would quickly note that it was likely to be the first step in his removal from his current command at Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
25 Oct 1942 Joseph Rochefort departed Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii.
16 Nov 1942 Joseph Rochefort was transferred to the US Navy Office of the Chief of Naval Operations based in Washington DC, United States. Later in the day, he wrote a personal letter to his former subordinates in Pearl Harbor, US Territory of Hawaii, noting that his relief was the result of politics, and asking them to be loyal to his successor William Goggins, who was not part of the bureaucratic in-fighting.
28 Nov 1942 Joseph Rochefort arrived at the Federal Building in San Francisco, California, United States and reported to the headquarters of the Western Sea Frontier. He would soon be asked to establish and command a naval intelligence center that covered the entire Alaska-California coastline.
18 May 1943 Joseph Rochefort was detached from the Western Sea Frontier based in San Fracisco, California, United States.
7 Jun 1943 Joseph Rochefort was ordered to travel from San Francisco, California, United States to Washington DC, United States for a new assignment.
14 Aug 1943 Joseph Rochefort received orders to go to Eureka, California, United States for the commissioning of the 5th section of floating drydock ABSD-2.
28 Mar 1944 Joseph Rochefort testified before a Pearl Harbor raid investigation board in Washington DC, United States.
6 Apr 1944 Joseph Rochefort was ordered to travel to Washington DC, United States to meet with Ernest King.
19 Apr 1944 Ernest King met with Joseph Rochefort in Washington DC, United States and gave him the command of the Far Eastern Section of the US Navy Office of Naval Intelligence.
23 Sep 1944 Joseph Rochefort was promoted to the rank of captain. His superior Joseph Redman sent him a three-word letter "Delivered with congratulations" for this occasion.
14 Nov 1944 Joseph Rochefort's appointment to lead the Pacific Strategic Intelligence Section of the US Navy was made official.
6 May 1945 Joseph Rochefort was requested to report on the situation of Japanese war materials by the office of Admiral Ernest King.
12 May 1945 Joseph Rochefort reported to Admiral Ernest King's office on the situation of Japanese war materials, noting, among other things, that Japan had nearly depleted its supply of coal while aluminum and oil stockpiles were running low.
15 Sep 1945 Joseph Rochefort requested sea duty, listing service aboard a cruiser as his preference.
25 Sep 1945 Joseph Rochefort's request for transfer to sea duty was accepted; he was ordered to be detached from the US Navy Office of Naval Operations on 1 Oct 1945.
1 Oct 1945 Joseph Rochefort was officially detached from the US Navy Office of Naval Operations in Washington DC, United States.
11 Nov 1945 Joseph Rochefort was ordered to travel from California, United States to Washington DC, United States as a witness for a Pearl Harbor raid investigation.
29 Nov 1945 Joseph Redman gave Joseph Rochefort a good fitness report, recommending Rochefort for promotion.
24 Jun 1946 Joseph Rochefort, not getting the sea command that he wanted, requested retirement.
9 Jul 1946 Joseph Rochefort's request for retirement was approved by the US Navy.
1 Jan 1947 Joseph Rochefort retired from the US Navy.
25 Jun 1948 Joseph Rochefort requested the high school he dropped out of back in 1918 to grant him a diploma based on Rochefort's cryptanalysis and language work in the US Navy.
28 Jun 1948 Joseph Rochefort was granted a diploma by the high school he dropped out of in 1918.
16 Oct 1950 Joseph Rochefort was reactivated by the US Navy.
4 Jan 1951 Joseph Rochefort was ordered to travel to Washington DC, United States.
31 May 1951 Joseph Rochefort was detached from the US Navy evaluation group on the Korean War and was ordered to travel to the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, United States to join a committee to study the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
1 Jul 1951 At the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, United States, Joseph Rochefort began translating Japanese documents relating to the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
2 Mar 1953 Joseph Rochefort retired from the US Navy.
12 Jul 1969 Joseph Rochefort's wife Elma Fay passed away from congestive heart failure.
12 May 1976 Joseph Rochefort received a luncheon in his honor, hosted by civic leaders of the towns of Torrance and Redondo Beach in California, United States.
20 Jul 1976 Joseph Rochefort passed away after a heart attack at the Little Company of Mary Hospital in Torrance, California, United States.
17 Nov 1985 The American newspaper New York Times featured the story of Joseph Rochefort's posthumous Distinguished Service Medal award on its front page on this date.
30 May 1986 US President Ronald Reagan, Vice President George Bush, and other high level officials posthumously awarded Joseph Rochefort the Distinguished Service Medal at the White House in Washington DC, United States.
6 Jan 2012 The Captain Joseph J. Rochefort Building was dedicated at the National Security Adminstration facility in the Hickam Annex of Joint Base Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, United States.

Photographs

Joseph Rochefort, date unknownJoseph Rochefort at his desk, 1944; note his handwriting




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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anonymous says:
30 Jun 2013 08:16:33 AM

I served in navy communications intelligence Copying Japanese radio in 1943, 1944 and 1945h6p
2. Gerry says:
20 Jul 2015 10:17:53 AM

Maybe you could add one more item to Capt Joseph Rochefort's timeline; the birth of his second child, Janet Fay Rochefort on 09 May 1931 in Tokyo, Japan. Also, are you certain of his marriage date of 29 May 1921? It is out of date sequence with other entries and I was wondering if the day (29th) is correct. Overall, nice work.
3. Commenter identity confirmed C. Peter Chen says:
20 Jul 2015 07:26:08 PM

Thank you Gerry, the entry you suggested has been added to the database.
4. Anonymous says:
24 Jul 2015 11:05:27 AM

I was wondering if you could add the bio info on Capt Rochefort's counterpart and friend, Rear Admiral Edwin Thomas Layton, who also played a pivotal role in Nimitiz's battle planning for the Battle of Midway and most of the other US Navy campaigns in the Pacific during WWII. Layton also received Japanese language training with Rochefort at the American Embassy in Tokyo. Thanks, Gerry
5. Tom Byerly says:
3 Dec 2015 06:20:40 PM

I just ordered "Joe Rochefort's War: The Odyssey of the Codebreaker Who Outwitted Yamamoto at Midway" by Elliot Carlson. This is a relatively new book but years ago (perhaps 1980s) I saw a documentary on the story of The Rochefort Group. It made a big impression as up to that point I thought in wartime, talent superseded politics. But now I can't find any reference to it or much of anything regarding Rochefort.
6. Commenter identity confirmed David Stubblebine says:
3 Dec 2015 07:37:19 PM

Tom: At the top of the page next to Joe Rochefort's left elbow, is a link to a review of Joe Rochefort's War.
7. J. Craven QMC (SW) USN Ret says:
31 Aug 2016 06:14:56 PM

Tis really a shame the way this gentleman was treated. He saved the country in1942 (Battle for Midway). Politicians dislike those who disagree with them. Captain Rochefort should have been retained and advanced to a flag grade. The country owes/owed this officer.

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More on Joseph Rochefort
Event(s) Participated:
» Attack on Pearl Harbor
» Battle of Coral Sea
» Battle of Midway and the Aleutian Islands

Ship(s) Served:
» ABSD-2
» Arizona
» California
» Indianapolis
» Maryland

Related Books:
» Joe Rochefort's War

Joseph Rochefort Photo Gallery
Joseph Rochefort, date unknown
See all 2 photographs of Joseph Rochefort




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