The World Wonders - Message

Message

When Nimitz, at CINCPAC headquarters in Hawaii, saw Kinkaid's plea for help he sent a message to Halsey, simply asking for the current location of Task Force 34, which due to a previous misunderstanding, was unclear:

Where is, repeat, where is Task Force Thirty Four?

With the addition of metadata including routing and classification information, as well as the padding at the head and tail, the entire plaintext message to be encoded and transmitted to Halsey was:

TURKEY TROTS TO WATER GG FROM CINCPAC ACTION COM THIRD FLEET INFO COMINCH CTF SEVENTY-SEVEN X WHERE IS RPT WHERE IS TASK FORCE THIRTY FOUR RR THE WORLD WONDERS

U.S. Navy procedure called for the padding to be added to the start and end of the message, which, due to the common words and phrases often being used in those sections, were vulnerable to cryptanalysis. The words chosen for padding should have been obviously not part of the actual message, however Nimitz's enciphering clerk used a phrase that " popped into my head".

While decrypting and transcribing the message, Halsey's radio officer properly removed the leading phrase, but the trailing phrase looked appropriate and he seems to have thought it was intended and so left it in before passing it on to Halsey, who read it as

Where is, repeat, where is Task Force Thirty Four? The world wonders.

The structure tagging (the 'RR's) should have made clear that the phrase was in fact padding. In all the ships and stations that received the message, only New Jersey's communicators failed to delete both padding phrases.

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Famous quotes containing the word message:

    if once the message greet him
    That his True Love doth stay,
    If Death should come and meet him,
    Love will find out the way!
    —Unknown. Love Will Find Out the Way (l. 53–56)

    Children in home-school conflict situations often receive a double message from their parents: “The school is the hope for your future, listen, be good and learn” and “the school is your enemy. . . .” Children who receive the “school is the enemy” message often go after the enemy—act up, undermine the teacher, undermine the school program, or otherwise exercise their veto power.
    James P. Comer (20th century)

    What the hell is nostalgia doing in a science-fiction film? With the whole universe and all the future to play in, Lucas took his marvelous toys and crawled under the fringed cloth on the parlor table, back into a nice safe hideyhole, along with Flash Gordon and the Cowardly Lion and Luck Skywalker and the Flying Aces and the Hitler Jugend. If there’s a message there, I don’t think I want to hear it.
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