Arkansas
Military Veterans'
Hall of Fame

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Arkansas
Military Veterans'
Hall of Fame

Colonel Alva Bryan Lasswell | Arkansas Military Veterans' Hall of Fame

Colonel Alva Bryan Lasswell

 Colonel Lasswell, deceased, Piggott, U.S. Marine Corp, WWII. Awards include the Legion of Merit Medal, Marine Corp Commendation Medal. During 1942-1944, Lasswell became the key translator and codebreaker in the Communications Intelligence Unit of the Fleet Radio Unit, Pacific. In this capacity, he made very important contributions to the US victory in the Pacific in WWII, saving countless American military lives. 

Colonel Lasswell was commissioned in January 1929.  He was enrolled in a Japanese language program and sent to Japan from 1935-1938 to study Japanese further.  Colonel Lasswell became not only fluent in translating Japanese messages, but also became an expert cryptanalyst (codebreaker).  Some of the highlights of his decoding accomplishments include the following:
-Translated and decoded a Japanese Naval Operation order identifying a planned attack of Midway Island.  Knowing the Japanese plan of attack enabled the US Nave to deliver a devastating blow to the Japanese fleet and to turn the tide of the war in the Pacific theater. 

-On April 13, 1943, Colonel Lasswell decoded a Japanese naval message informing a Japanese outpost on the island of Bougainville that Japanese Admiral Yamamoto, the architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor, would be arriving for a visit.  The information enabled the US Army Air Corps to shoot down Yamamoto’s plane, a major blow to the morale of the Japanese military.

-Later in 1943, Colonel Lasswell uncovered a Japanese plot to retaliate for the death of Yamamoto by using seven submarines to eliminate General Douglas McArthur upon his return to the Philippines.  This information enabled the Navy to destroy the submarines and save General McArthur. 

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