Monterey, California - The mild summer afternoon brought an unusual sight to the Presidio of Monterey sports complex: Sailors lining up in front of binder-wielding petty officers, Sailors securing ropes to and pulling tractor tires over great distances, and Sailors running around the track in team relays behind their divisional guideons, June 28.
In the middle of it all could be found patches of Sailors lying prone around scraps of paper, murmuring to each other and working feverishly on some unseen task. Could this be the new Navy physical fitness test? No, this was Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Monterey's annual "HYPO" inter-division competition.
The competition's namesake, Station HYPO, was the United States Navy signals monitoring and cryptographic intelligence unit based in Hawaii during World War II. In the weeks and months leading up to the Battle of Midway, members of Station HYPO worked around the clock to intercept and decrypt the Japanese naval code, known as JN-25. Through ingenuity, teamwork, and perseverance, the station's cryptologists and linguists, under the command of then Lt. Cmdr. Joseph J. Rochefort, were able to decrypt enough of the code to identify Midway as the location of the next Japanese attack.
Navy linguists were a critical part of the effort at Station HYPO, making its story and legacy all the more impactful to IWTC Monterey's Sailors, most of whom are currently going through one of the Defense Language Institute's intensive foreign language programs themselves.
"There's no better way to honor Capt. Joe Rochefort and his team of high-performing cryptanalysts and linguists at Station HYPO than a team-building event with IWTCM Sailors," said Cmdr. Michael Salehi, commanding officer of IWTC Monterey. "Today was an opportunity for our Sailors to learn about 'service before self,' and to mentally and physically relive a small portion of what it is was like to break Japanese naval operational code that our cryptologic ancestors did so skillfully back in 1942. I think we accomplished that and had a great time in the cradle of where great linguists are made."
Activities at the HYPO event revolved around a cryptology activity in which Sailors were given an encrypted text. They worked in teams to decipher the text and reveal a series of tasks, thereby earning points for their division. Meanwhile, their teammates were being grilled on Navy history and heritage and competing in various team-based physical challenges in order to earn additional points for their divisions.
"We designed the HYPO event to build camaraderie, esprit de corps, and
service pride through a friendly competition that pushed Sailors physically and mentally," stated Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Michael Haggerty. "We wanted to demonstrate the importance of teamwork and instill a sense of pride to our Sailors."
For Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) 1st Class Demian Ford, a leading petty officer at IWTC Monterey, the real value of the competition was that, "The event connected young Sailors to both their maritime and cryptologic heritage."
At the end of the competition, each division's points are combined with points earned throughout the year in standards-based events and measurements such as uniform inspections, barracks observations, academic achievement, and physical fitness scores. The division with the most overall points is named as the HYPO Division and earns a streamer for their guideon. The bragging rights are nice too.
IWTC Monterey, as part of the Center for Information Warfare Training, provides a continuum of foreign language training to Navy personnel, which prepares them to conduct information warfare across the full spectrum of military operations.