It is my firm belief that simplicity and certainty have never been properly studied in connection with Tactics and Signals in our Navy, and in consequence it is my opinion, that since Admiral Walker's Squadron in 1887-1890, we have not improved one iota as regards Tactical Signal Book or the System of Tactical Signals needed either in time of peace or war. In some respects our system of flag signals is not as good as it was in 1889. Our slowness in these matters is to me incomprehensible and inexcusible. We talk a great deal, drill a great deal, work very zealously and accomplish little or nothing in the few vitally important points that would tell in time of war.Concerning the conditions existing in radio communications Hooper, years later, commented:
In the event of hostilities the useless complexity of our Tactical and Signal System could be clearly demonstrated. We have failed to develop or employ the wireless, as a means of signaling . . . The present systems, so far as they relate to battle or preparations for battle should be blown sky-high. It is no exaggeration to say that dynamite is needed for this purpose--now, not a month or a year hence, but now.
And right here let me say that the one great trouble--the secret of slowness in our Navy, is that officers either have no opinions, or if they have any they are not sufficiently encouraged to speak them out, or they are afraid to do so except in a namby-pamby way. It too often happens that an officer who really proposes to do something is stigmatized as a radical or extremist and his voice is drowned by the self-styled 'solid men' who are quite unmindful of the distinction between solidity and density.
By the way, what particular individual, bureau or institution in our Navy is supposed to consider and keep our Tactical and Signal System up to date?1
As for radio discipline at that time--there was none whatsoever. The fact that an operator was able to send a radio message from one ship to another or to a shore station seemed so thrilling to his captain that each one thought his own operator was the "boy wonder" and gave him absolute authority to send whatever he pleased. If the flagship operator was unfriendly with the operator in another ship he would delay him until all the other operators had transmitted their messages. If a ship was fitted with a more powerful transmitter than others the operator would usually deliberately usurp the air to the detriment of all others. There were more personal than official messages and more operator conversation than messages.2
At the Navy Department I was asked if I knew of an officer of the rank of Lieutenant who possessed the specified qualifications (being reminded that my own rank of Ensign barred my serving on an Admiral's staff) I had recently become acquainted with Lieutenant Hooper . . . I had learned he was interested in radio . . . I suggested that he would be an admirable choice. When I returned to Annapolis from Washington I informed him that his name was under consideration for appointment as Fleet Radio Officer of the Atlantic Fleet, and recall his expressed indignation at the threatened abrupt termination of his first tour of shore duty. However, after being summoned to the Navy Department he apparently was persuaded that this was a golden opportunity, and his appointment immediately followed . . . Due to his genius and continuous association with naval radio since that time, the United States Navy has the most extensive and efficient radio system of any navy in the world today.7On his 27th birthday, 16 August 1912, Hooper reported to Rear Adm. Hugo Osterhaus, USN, Commander in Chief of the Atlantic Fleet, for duty on his staff as Fleet Radio Officer. He quickly discovered that the establishment of the billet did not automatically establish his position. Osterhaus, not wishing to increase the number of officers on his staff, had objected strenuously to the creation of the new billet. To overcome his objections the Bureau of Navigation concurred in his suggestion that the billet should be combined with the existing one of fleet tactical and athletic officer. All these functions were assigned Hooper. He was far from qualified as an athletic officer, and he found that duty time-consuming and so demanding that he could only perform his radio duties by working long hours each day.8
The preparation of regulations and issue of detailed instructions for the operation of stations in accordance with military efficiency, international agreements in force, and the laws effecting the operation of naval radio stations.He was also charged with all matters pertaining to the operation of radio afloat and ashore, excepting technical control which remained with the Bureau of Steam Engineering, and was authorized to correspond directly within the naval service in regard to all matters on which he was authorized to take action in accordance with the procedure established for bureau and other offices of the Navy Department. He was also empowered to deal directly with private and commercial interests upon matters of reciprocal concern in the operation of naval radio stations, including questions of interference, and details of traffic agreements, rates, and accounting.21 Unfortunately, he was not made responsible for devising and issuing codes and ciphers at this time.
Control of the commercial work handled by naval radio stations, including issue of accounting and operating forms, auditing commercial accounts, traffic agreements, and accounting with commercial and other government managements involved.
8856 . . . Smuggle, ed, ing, sIt further provided ". . . in connection with the Signal Code a Navy list of officers will be used, consisting of the names in the Annual Navy Register of the latest issue, each one of which bears a number for this purpose." Some security was provided by restricting the use of the telegraphic dictionary section to commissioned officers.29
344 . . . Hydro
The code was considered versatile and provided for encodement either by numeral or letter groups or by the sequential number of the signal in its particular section. The cipher was of the transposition type, varied by the use of key words.30
First Scouting Signals . . . Represented by 5-letter words. Second Letters, numerals and date signals . . . Represented by 3 and 4-letter words. Third Course and bearing signals . . . Represented by 4-letter words. Fourth A method of reporting latitude and longitude. Fifth A method of transposition of letters for sending messages not contained in the code. Sixth Call letters and code words for each portion of the force.".
Messages encoded in this system were prefixed by the word "radiocode."33
1658 CWYE Barricade, ing, s. 11512 TZPJ USS REHOBETH