PEARL HARBOR — A Crestview, Florida native and Rocky Bayou Christian School graduate, Seaman Natalie Pippins, is serving in the U.S. Navy as a member of the Navy Information Operations Command in historic Pearl Harbor during the 75th commemoration of the Battle of Midway.

Pippins works as an NIOC Cryptologic Technician Collection Specialist, supporting real-world strategic intelligence missions primarily in support of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Pacific Command. The work done at their operation center remains as important today as it did in turning the tide of war in the Pacific 75 years ago.

Following the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, the Navy and nation relied on the U.S. Navy “Station HYPO” code breakers in Hawaii who deciphered the Japanese messages ahead of the Battle of Midway from June 4-6, 1942.

Armed with critical insight about Japanese battle plans, Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Chester Nimitz dispatched three American carriers to surprise the Japanese force at the area named for being “midway” in the Pacific.

The U.S. Navy sunk the four enemy carriers while losing one of their own. The victory turned the tide in the war and is widely considered the most important victory in the U.S. Navy’s history.

“Continuing the traditions established during World War II and the Battle of Midway helps keep the nation safe and our brothers and sisters in the services safe as well,” Pippins said.

In today’s connected information environment, the need for talented, committed Americans to fulfill these assignments is critical. Recruiting, retaining and training technically oriented and dedicated Americans for this capability helps to keep the nation and our forces prepared against adversary’s actions, including cyber attacks.

"I am very proud of our nearly 2,000 officers, chiefs, sailors, and Department of the Navy Civilians at Navy Information Operations Command Hawaii. The work they do is a testament to the legacy of the father of cryptology, Capt. Joseph J. Rochefort, and his team of cryptologists,” said Cmdr. James W. Adkisson III, NIOC Hawaii’s executive officer.

“From code breaking that informed the Battle of Midway 75 years ago, to the Information Age today, cryptologic and cyber warfare serve as a key role, countering terrorism and aggression, and protecting the United States, our way of life, and our interests worldwide.”

“I joined because I believe that every American is supposed to serve their country,” Pippins said. “This is the way that I chose to serve.”