Tex Biard

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Captain Forrest R. "Tex" Biard (December 21, 1912 in Bonham, Texas[1] – November 2, 2009[2]) was an American linguist in the U.S. Navy codebreaking organization during the Second World War. A pre-war student of Japanese, Biard's translation work is considered to have been an important part of American military success.

In September 1941, Biard (then a Lieutenant Commander) was stationed at Pearl Harbor as a senior linguist for Station HYPO, part of American attempts to break Japanese military codes, including the key strategic code, JN-25. In February 1942, he was temporarily assigned to the USS Yorktown as the radio intelligence officer under Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher. His translation and decryption work on JN-25 contributed substantially to Allied efforts in the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway.

In February 1944, Biard worked with Tom Mackie to decrypt and translate captured Japanese Army code books for Douglas MacArthur; MacArthur was able to use Biard and Mackie's data to accelerate his "island-hopping" strategy to liberate New Guinea and hasten the end of the war.

In 1946, Biard served as Executive Officer in the Intelligence Division and Chief of the Security Section for Operation Crossroads, the first nuclear weapons tests conducted by Joint Army/Navy Task Force One at Bikini Atoll.

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References[edit]

  • Layton, Rear Admiral Edwin T., U.S.N. (Ret.), with Captain Roger Pineau, U.S.N.R. (Ret.). and John Costello, “And I Was There” - Pearl Harbor and Midway – Breaking the Secrets, William Morrow and Company Inc., New York (1985) at 51, 470. Regarding the accomplishments of the Station Hypo codebreaking group, Adm. Nimitz "enthusiastically endorsed" the following statement issued by then-Capt. Jasper Holmes in a postwar assessment report (which was not declassified until 1984): "The fate of the nation quite literally depended upon about a dozen men who had devoted their lives and their careers, in peace and war, to radio intelligence" at 470.
  • Kahn, David, The Codebreakers, The MacMillan Company – New York (1967) at 38.
  • Dear, I.C.B., and Foot, M.R.D. (Eds.), The Oxford Companion To World War II, Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York (1995) at 796, 1174.

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