Rear Admiral Redfield B. Mason, who as a Lt. Commander helped to break the Japanese message codes and in Admiral Hart’s intelligence report to Chief of Naval Operations, his “intelligence officer (Mason) added an endorsement stating that the report revealed the Japanese Navy had assumed a wartime disposition and that the report could not be construed in any other way.” Mason’s work as a cryptologist in naval operations remained secret for a long time, but would later receive a Distinguished Service Medal for his work on the Japanese Code. This code breaking would lead to many highly important information that helped in the defeat of the Japanese in the Pacific; one such incident was finding out that Japanese Admiral Yamamoto was flying to inspect various installations in the Pacific, and knowing this intelligence lead to the shooting down of his plane by Army P-38 fighters. In 1956, Admiral Mason appeared on a NBC quiz show “The Big Surprise” and won national fame and $100,000 on television.
Mason was born in Indiana; a graduate if the USNA Class of 1925. He retired in 1966, after a 45 year career, and died in a nursing home in Warrenton, Va. at the age of 91. He is buried in Arlington Cemetery.
His Dress Whites were recently sold though his Dress Coat is still on sale for $1,250.00.
The ribbons include from top to bottom, left to right:
- Distinguished Service Medal
- Legion of Merit with “V”
- Navy Commendation Ribbon
- Navy Unit Commendation
- China Service with one star
- American Defense Service
- American Service Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Service with 2 star
- WWII Victory Medal
- WWII Occupation Ribbon
- National Defense Ribbon
- Korean Service Medal
- United Nations Service Medal
- WWII Philippine Defense Medal