WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Donald Trump has signed into law U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger’s legislation to name a Chesterfield County post office after World War II code breaker and former Midlothian resident Dorothy Braden Bruce.
Dorothy Bruce was recruited by the U.S. military during World War II to serve in a top-secret group of code-breaking women. Sworn to secrecy, Dorothy’s unit worked to disclose the locations of Japanese ships in the Pacific, identify and intercept enemy supply movements, and protect the lives of American servicemembers. Bruce passed away at the age of 99 last year.
With Spanberger’s legislation now law, the U.S. Post Office facility located at 1201 Sycamore Square Drive in Midlothian will be renamed the “Dorothy Braden Bruce Post Office Building.” Spanberger’s bipartisan bill was cosponsored by Virginia’s entire U.S. House delegation.
“We thank Congresswoman Spanberger for her skill in achieving enactment of a public law dedicating the Sycamore Square Post Office to our mother, Dorothy Braden Bruce,” said Nancy Robertson, Jim Bruce, and Virginia Evans – Children of Dorothy Braden Bruce. “We also thank author Liza Mundy for revealing the secret story of women code breakers in WWII, a story almost lost to history. Even at age 97, our mother’s remarkable memory helped Liza interpret and validate declassified archive records and bring to life the challenges and successes of these 10,000 women code breakers who kept their secret for nearly 70 years. There is no monument to these young women, handpicked and secretly summoned to hasten the end of WWII, saving the lives of thousands of Americans. We are grateful that this public building is a part of that remembrance.”
“For decades, the pioneering and lifesaving efforts of women codebreakers were kept a secret, and American heroes like Dorothy never knew if their efforts would be recognized in history books or even remembered by future generations. With the ‘Dorothy Braden Bruce Post Office Building’ now a reality, Virginians who look to live a life in service to their country, particularly young women and girls, will have the opportunity to gain inspiration from a remarkable life of service, honor, and determination,” said Spanberger. “I look forward to visiting this facility and celebrating this historic moment in the near future, and it is my true honor to help preserve the legacy of Dorothy Bruce and her contributions to our Commonwealth and our country.”
Ahead of the bill’s passage in the U.S. House in September 2020, Spanberger spoke on the House floor to honor Dorothy’s life. Click here to watch her full remarks.
As a cryptanalyst with the U.S. Army Signal Corps’ Signal Intelligence Service, Dorothy Bruce was one of thousands of American women serving as codebreakers throughout World War II. Dorothy’s story is featured in the bestselling book Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy.
According to Mundy in a 2017 interview with the Chesterfield Observer, the contributions of women like Bruce were key factors in delivering an Allied victory in the Pacific:
“While it might not sound as significant as cracking the Enigma machine, Mundy says it’s one of the three most important Allied codebreaking efforts of the conflict, up there with the sinking of Nazi U-boats or intelligence gained ahead of the crucial Battle of Midway.”