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Wagener in Aiken County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

The Crawfords Memorial

 
 
The Crawfords Memorial Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, June 24, 2012
1. The Crawfords Memorial Marker
Inscription.
(Left)
Herbert Boyd (H.B.) Crawford
U.S. Navy
Honorably Discharged
April 8, 1946
During World War II with Japan
his back was broken & both
legs were paralyzed when his
cargo ship was torpedoed

(Right)
Mabel Garvin Tarver Crawford
U.S. Navy
Honorably Discharged
May 6, 1945
Presented the Exceptional Award
By The National Security Agency
At Washington, D.C.
While on assignment to the United States Naval Intelligence OP-20-G;
Rendered exceptional service on Project Ultra in the breaking of the
German Code, during World War II, thereby contributing to the saving
of many lives and bringing World War II to an early victory.

 
Location. 33° 38.732′ N, 81° 23.421′ W. Marker is in Wagener, South Carolina, in Aiken County. Marker is on Wagener Road (State Highway 302), on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6533 Wagener Road, Wagener SC 29164, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Wagener Museum (approx. 1.6 miles away); Wagener Memorial Monument (approx. 1.7 miles away); Wagener
The Crawfords Memorial Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, June 24, 2012
2. The Crawfords Memorial Marker
(approx. 2 miles away); Commemorative Memorial (approx. 4.7 miles away); Indian Head / The Middle Road (approx. 5.7 miles away); Old Indian Trail (approx. 7.2 miles away); The Salley Family (approx. 7.3 miles away); Capt. Dempsey Hammond Salley (approx. 7.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Wagener.
 
Regarding The Crawfords Memorial. Born in Wagener, SC on June 25, 1919, Mrs. Crawford was a daughter of the late Ottice and Annie Lou Miller Garvin. She lived most of her life in Wagener and had six brothers; Cecil, Connie, Quincey, Ottice, Jr., Frank and Earl. Mabel served in the United States Navy WAVES during World War II as a cryptographer working to break German codes, thus helping to bring the war to an end. She was a member of the Navy League, WAVE National White Cap Association and the Cryptographic Association. She was a lifetime member of DAV, VFW and American Legion. She was a member of First Baptist Church in Wagener, Pairs & Squares and Sunny Monday at St. John's United Methodist Church. (Find A Grave Memorial# 53854882)
 
Additional comments.
The Crawfords Memorial Herbert Boyd Crawford Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, June 24, 2012
3. The Crawfords Memorial Herbert Boyd Crawford Marker
(not noted) Birth: Jan. 18, 1908
Lavonia Franklin County Georgia, USA
Death: Oct. 16, 1985
Aiken County South Carolina, USA

1. OP-20-G or Office of Chief Of Naval Operations
(OPNAV), 20th Division of the Office of Naval Communications, G Section / Communications Security , was the US Navy's signals intelligence and cryptanalysis group during World War II. Its mission was to intercept, decrypt, and analyze naval communications from Japanese, German, and Italian navies. In addition OP-20-G also copied diplomatic messages of many foreign governments.(Wikipedia)
    — Submitted June 24, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.

2. Mabel Garvin Crawford
Excerpt:
Wagener Monthly, June 2010
By Suzanne R. Stone, Staff Writer

WAGENER — Mabel Garvin Crawford, who died Thursday,
June 17, 2010, was one of the last of her kind – a U.S. Navy
veteran who ran the decryption machines that
cracked Axis command’s encoded messages to
their troops in World War II.

Crawford was one of about 250 female Navy
codebreakers who worked from dawn to dusk
decoding intercepted German messages at a converted
building on the Hunter College campus in
Washington, D.C.

The codebreakers’ work was kept top secret for
50 years after the war, and the veterans could not
speak of it until it was declassified in
The Crawfords Memorial Herbert Boyd Crawford Marker image. Click for full size.
By The Crawfords Memorial, `
4. The Crawfords Memorial Herbert Boyd Crawford Marker
1995. The
National Security Agency issued all the veterans the Exceptional
Service Award in September of 1995.

Widowed young during her second year of marriage in 1941,
Mabel Garvin Tarver moved from Wagener to Aiken, where she met
Mayor Odell Weeks, who encouraged her to join the military. She
served from 1941 to 1942 as a cryptologist,
using one machine to decode German and
Japanese cyphers and another machine to
relay the intercepted messages to U.S. military
command.

Although the codebreakers weren’t on the
front lines, the job wasn’t without its own
hazards. The facility was kept completely
secure, with all windows bricked over and a
Marine guard checkpoint at every entrance
and exit. The codebreakers could not enter or
leave during the day and could speak of their
work to no one outside the building’s walls.
The generators for the code machines – giant
proto-computers – left most of the codebreakers
hard of hearing, the 2-mile walk
back to the barracks made them susceptible
to frostbite and the intense secrecy and stress
left many of them with heart trouble, according
to Crawford’s nephew, Charles Sharpe.

“Mabel signed up for the military and
got on the Greyhound bus for training in
New York with just the dress and sandals
she had
The Crawfords Memorial Mabel Garvin Crawford Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, June 24, 2012
5. The Crawfords Memorial Mabel Garvin Crawford Marker
(not noted) Birth: Jun. 25, 1919
Wagener Aiken County South Carolina, USA
Death: Jun. 17, 2010
Wagener Aiken County South Carolina, USA
on. She got frostbite, and one of her
problems later in life was with her legs from
that,” he said. “She joined the U.S. Navy
Cryptological Association and kept up with
the others after 1995, and she said every
one of those girls came out with hearing
problems, and every one of them had had
open heart surgery for problems relating to
the stress of that work. After so much stress,
they were discharged after their tour was
up; some of them wanted to stay in, but the
Navy felt it was no good to them.”

After her discharge in 1942, she spent nine
weeks in a veterans’ hospital, where she met
Herbert Boyd Crawford, a Navy veteran
who was paralyzed in a torpedo attack on his
ship. The couple remained close and eventually
married after returning home from the
hospital.

As of 1999, there were about 135 codebreakers
still living, but the numbers have
dwindled to almost nothing. As of last
December, there were three still living
including Crawford, but one died in April,
and the remaining codebreaker has taken up
residence in a nursing home; the Cryptological
Association is unable to get any information
on her current status, Sharpe said.

“After 1995, she talked at the schools
around here, and she joined the V.F.W. and
the D.A.V. and could
The Crawfords Memorial Mabel Garvin Crawford Marker image. Click for full size.
By The Crawfords Memorial, `
6. The Crawfords Memorial Mabel Garvin Crawford Marker
The codebreakers’ work was kept top secret for 50 years after the war, and the veterans could not speak of it until it was declassified in 1995. The National Security Agency issued all the veterans the Exceptional Service Award in September of 1995.
talk to them about the
things they did during the war,” said Sharpe.
“She thought she had saved the world, her
and those girls. She thought if they hadn’t
done that job, the Germans would have
taken over the United States, and who
knows? They might have.
    — Submitted June 24, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.

 
Additional keywords. Codebreakers,Ultra,
 
Categories. Notable Persons
 
The Crawfords Memorial ,seen looking southwest along Wagener Road image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, June 24, 2012
7. The Crawfords Memorial ,seen looking southwest along Wagener Road
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 24, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 530 times since then and 35 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on June 26, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.
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