Spanberger Introduces Legislation to Name a Chesterfield Post Office After World War II Code Breaker, Midlothian Resident Dorothy Bruce

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today introduced legislation to name a Chesterfield County post office after World War II code breaker and former Midlothian resident Dorothy Bruce, who passed away at the age of 99 earlier this year.

Spanberger’s legislation honors the legacy of Dorothy Bruce, who 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.

Virginia’s entire U.S. House delegation has cosponsored the bill, which would rename the post office to the “Dorothy Braden Bruce Post Office Building.” The post office is located at 1201 Sycamore Square Drive in Midlothian—near Spring Arbor Assisted Living, where Dorothy lived.

“Dorothy Bruce was a model of heroism—and she was a much-beloved Midlothian resident. Her efforts saved the lives of countless men and women across the Pacific Theater, but for decades, she kept her key role as a codebreaker a secret and continued to humbly serve others across our community,” said Spanberger. “For women and girls pursuing careers in science and math, she is a shining example of the pioneering contributions of women in these fields throughout our nation’s history. Dorothy embodied the true spirit of our district and our Commonwealth, and it’s a tremendous honor to recognize her life of determination, ingenuity, and service to country. I’d like to thank all Members of the Virginia House delegation for joining this effort, and I look forward to moving our bill through Congress and ensuring Dorothy’s story is remembered for generations to come.”

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.”

Click here to see the full text of Spanberger’s legislation.

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