The National Security Agency (NSA) never does say much about its duty, but the stories of dedication and sacrifice of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, and civilian cryptologists whose names are engraved in the memorial's stark black stone wall speak volumes.
Names on the wall range from Petty Officer Edward J. Purcell (USN), who died on April 7, 1950, while flying a Cold War cryptologic mission over Russia, to CTT1(SW) Steven P. Daugherty (USN), who gave the ultimate sacrifice on July 6, 2007, during a Navy Seal mission in Iraq.
Until Memorial Day 2001, the stories behind the names on the wall remained classified, secret, in much the same way the heroes carried out their missions and lived their lives while in service to the United States. Since then, the details of the lives and sacrifices of those who "Served in Silence" have started appearing on the Cryptologic Memorial's web site.
"I am an Army cryptologist. In time of peace my work can be done from garrison; but in time of war I take my skills and talents to the battlefront. Like the silent sentinels of the past who served the American nation in times of danger, I remain constantly on watch — always listening. My goal is to gather and protect critical information to secure victory and save lives. I am an Army cryptologist, and I am dedicated, even at the cost of my own life, to providing and protecting our nation’s most important communications."
The National Security Agency is America’s cryptologic organization. It coordinates, directs, and performs highly specialized activities to protect U.S. government information systems and produce foreign signals intelligence information. It is also one of the most important centers of foreign language analysis and research within the government.