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  Margaret Dilley Monitored Japanese Communications During And After World War II:   October 31, 2019 Edition  
Margaret Dilley
     Mon., Nov. 11, is Veteran’s Day, and couched behind a wall of secrecy for her services to her country is a Boardman native, Sara Margaret Dilley, now deceased, and a 1933 graduate of Boardman High School. She was born in Boardman in 1915, in a home that still stands today near Market St. and Stadium Dr., the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Dilley.
      To this day, members of her family, Peggy Entzi Yuhas, and niece Leslie Axelson, are trying to determine just what she did for her country, and they strongly believe she was a ‘Code Girl’ during and after World War II.
      Margaret Dilley left Boardman to attend Wooster College, where she was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate in 1937. The following year she was hired as an English and Latin teacher at Belleview High School, earning $1,100 a year, and left that job for a similar post at Poland Seminary High School, where she served until 1941, earning $1,500 a year.
      It was on Dec. 7, 1941 that Pearl Harbor was bombed and when the opportunity presented itself, Margaret entered the U.S. Navy Japanese Language School in Boulder, Col. in 1943.
      “I felt I should get involved,” Margaret said at a 50th union of the WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) held in 1993.
      While in Boulder she applied for a commission in the United States Naval Reserve as a Japanese language student at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
      On Dec. 15, 1943, Margaret received her commission as an ensign in the Naval Reserve from Secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox, who cited her “special trust, patriotism and valor.”
      Prior to her appointment as an ensign, Margaret underwent an interview by Lt. G.K. Conover, officer in charge at the language school.
      Conover noted that Dilley had “prospective value as a naval reserve officer “with special reference to officer-like qualities” of self control, poise and friendliness.
      In Jan., 1945, Margaret was assigned to the Communication Annex of the U.S. Navy in Washington, D.C. where an ‘Officer’s Fitness Report’ dated Jan., 30, 1945 says she served as an intelligence officer, “well qualified in her specialty,” the Japanese language, and recommended that she be promoted for duty as a member “of the Japanese translating organization.”
      Margaret was then recommended for confidential duties in the Communications Intelligence Group “in work vital to the war effort of an extremely confidential nature.”
      For her work in that group, she was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation Medal, with one admonition---
      “It is directed that, because of the nature of services performed by this unit, that no publicity be given to your receipt of this award.”
      Japan surrendered to the Allies on August 14, 1945, when the Japanese government notified the Allies that it had accepted the Potsdam Declaration.
      In May, 1946, then Lt. Dilley was honorably discharged from active duty with the U.S. Navy, and as her separation papers noted, “Entitled to wear the World War II Victory Ribbon and the American Theater Ribbon.”
      Upon her discharge from the Navy, Margaret was hired by the Department of the Army to pursue intelligence work. She served with the Army in Tokyo, Japan from Aug., 1946 to June, 1948, where the United States closely monitored the communications of the Japanese government, translating a wide-variety of documents, such as Japanese Army orders, medical records of British prisoners of war, and a history of the war in Philippines written by surviving Japanese officers.
      She had arrived in Japan on a ship (some called these ships ‘Civilian Transport Vessels’) that left Staten Island, New York, then sailed on to Japan via the Panama Canal.
      Upon completing her work in Japan, she and a co-worker decided they would “circumnavigate” the world, and did, first flying to Shanghai, China, then to Hong Kong, then obtaining passage on a Swedish freighter to Marseilles, France. After traveling mostly by train all around Europe, Margaret said she was “unable to book sea passage back to the United States, and had to fly home.”
      Returning to Boardman, she still had the desire to be overseas, and she applied for a job with the United States Information Agency (USIA). The agency existed from 1953 to 1999, and was a United States agency devoted to “public diplomacy,” ‘tho some might say its principle duty was to oversee official propaganda of the U.S. government.
      She served as a USIA librarian until 1963, working in Athens, Greece; Bombay, India; New Dehli, India; Ankara, Turkey; and in Washington, D.C.
      Margaret resigned from the USIA in 1963 to marry local contractor Andrew Entzi, and the couple made their home at 55 Buena Vista Ave. in Boardman. She passed away in May, 2003 at the age of 87.
      Of her service in Japan during the occupation, Margaret recalled at the 50th WAVES reunion in 1993, “It was difficult to reconcile the Japanese people we knew, with the ones we read about.”
      Margaret Dilley Entzi learned the meticulous work of code-breaking and she stands among group of women whose efforts in Japan helped to shorten World War II, saved countless lives, and gave them access to careers previously denied to them. A strict vow of secrecy nearly erased their efforts from history.
      Code breakers of World War II advanced what is known as signals intelligence—reading the coded transmissions of enemies, as well as (sometimes) of allies. They laid the groundwork for the now burgeoning field of cyber security, which entails protecting one’s data, networks, and communications against enemy attack. They pioneered work that would lead to the modern computing industry.
      Editor’s Note: To learn more about
      code breakers, read Code Girls: “The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II,” by Lisa Mundy.
      PICTURED: MARGARET DILLEY, pictured, served wit the U.S. Navy during World War II as an intelligence officer, well qualified in her specialty, the Japanese language.
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