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"It made a big difference in winning the war in the Pacific-and we were aware of that." (Video Interview, 17:20)

   Ann Caracristi
Collection image
Ann Caracristi [detail from video]
War: World War, 1939-1945
Service Location: Washington, DC
Status: Civilian
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In her senior year of college, Ann Caracristi was recruited for wartime intelligence work in Washington. She joined the Signals Intelligence Service, which spent much of the war breaking down codes the Japanese military was using. Caracristi enjoyed her time in wartime Washington, but she didn't understand how much she enjoyed the work until after the war. When she returned to the "real world" and found work there unchallenging, she returned to government intelligence and made it her career for the next forty years. (Also included on her tape is a brief interview with Jack Ingram of the National Cryptologic Museum.)

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (8 clips)
» Part 1 |  Part 2 |  Part 3 
Download: video(1) | 
Download: video(2) | 
Download: video(3) (73 min.)
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»Intel:Behind the Scenes
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (8 items)
How she was recruited out of college for the Signals Intelligence Service; moving to Washington, DC; training by working on puzzles; assigned to work on Japanese documents. (07:10) Describing an additive system of codes. (02:00) A "eureka" moment in her work; uncovering an enciphering system; working with military men; how her office's work contributed to the war effort. (04:36)
Life in wartime Washington. (02:27) Security encouraged socializing with her colleagues; interesting mix of people in the office, all of them very bright. (03:28) Why she left the service after the war ended, assuming the need for intelligence would diminish; why she returned to work in intelligence for the next forty years. (02:08)
A high point of her work during the war: V-J Day and the euphoria that accompanied it. (02:53) Camaraderie of the women she worked with; no competition other than to be first to solve a problem. (01:16) 

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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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