Our visit to Collington yielded a treasure trove. Our gracious hostess and dear friend Anna Shea invited us to stay at the Collington Retirement Community in Mitchellville, Maryland. I had interviewed two of her friends, Sue and Ricky, on a previous visit. Both worked as Cryptologists during WWII. I wanted Pook to meet these amazing Women. On this visit not only did we meet with Sue and Ricky delving further into their experiences as cryptanalysts, we met other fabulous women of the greatest generation. These women lead incredible lives, breaking barriers while serving their country. Even our own Anna told of her contribution during the War. Come meet The Women of Collington:
Suzanne “Sue” Harpole Embree – Recruited in College, she joined the Navy and became a WAVE cryptanalyst serving at the Naval Annex on Nebraska Ave in Washington DC. “I worked Language. We were sworn to silence for the rest of our lives.” Sue said she repeatedly volunteered to go to Europe or the Pacific but Waves were not allowed to go overseas, only the nurses.
Mary “Ricky” Evans – Worked as a Cryptanalyst for the Army at Arlington Hall as a Civil Servant. “I worked Machines.” Working machines did not literally mean that she ran equipment but meant that she deciphered the numbers generated by machines. The Army sent Ricky to school to learn Japanese, then later to learn Korean and Russian. After WWII, she continued to work in cryptology during the Korean War. Her husband John Evans also worked as a cryptologist at Arlington Hall. Ricky showed us this photo of her with the other cryptologists she worked with at Arlington Hall. She is seated in the first row far left.
Mary Olmsted – First Council General and First Ambassador of Papau New Guinea during the 1970s. Mary said that the New Guinea natives called her ‘Number One Big Mama Mary”. Notice the array of New Guinea tribal artifacts mounted on her wall.
Barbara Nicodemus Daughter of a SigInt WAC