Oral History/Interview with RADM Mac Showers

The National Museum of the Pacific War presents an oral interview with Donald Mac Showers.  He joined the Navy after finishing school at the University of Iowa in August 1940.  He signed up for the V-7 program and was commissioned an ensign in September 1941 after Midshipman School at Northwestern University.  His first assignment took him to the intelligence center at the 13th Naval District in Seattle.  He stayed in Seattle for six weeks hoping to get in with the public relations section.  Instead, he was sent to fill a billet in the combat intelligence unit in the 14th Naval District in Hawaii, reporting to Commander J.J. Rochefort.  Showers discusses breaking the Japanese Naval code (JN-25) at Station HYPO, at Pearl Harbor.  He recalls the origins of the ruse involving fresh water at Midway to determine what AF stood for in the JN-25 code.  Showers also comments on the dysfunctional torpedoes used early in the war.  He also discusses the role of intelligence gathering in the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Battle of Midway and Operation VENGEANCE.  Showers describes the emergence and flexibility of JICPOA (Joint Intelligence Center Pacific Ocean Areas) in Hawaii and the need for various intelligence gathering apparatus (communication intelligence, photo reconnaissance, etc.) to function together.  He also discusses the use of atomic weapons and the plans for invading the home islands of Japan.  He also comments on what it was like to work closely for Admiral Nimitz.  After the war, Showers remained in the Navy and became an intelligence specialist whose primary focus became the Soviet Navy during the Cold War.  Showers retired from the Navy in 1971 and went to work as a civilian for the Central Intelligence Agency, retiring in 1983.