U.S. Senate Passes Spanberger Legislation to Name a Chesterfield Post Office After World War II Code Breaker, Midlothian Resident Dorothy Bruce, Bill Heads to President’s Desk

Dec 04, 2020
Local Issues
Press

Bruce Was Among a Select Group of Secret Codebreaking Women During the Second World War

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate last night voted to pass 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. The bill now heads to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.

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. Bruce passed away at the age of 99 last year.

“Dorothy Bruce was a true pioneer. Her selfless contributions to our country and the stories of her fellow women codebreakers are worth celebrating, and I’m proud to see this legislation clear the final step on its way to becoming law,” said Spanberger. “Dorothy’s courage, determination, and sense of duty embody the best of our district and our Commonwealth — and I’d like to thank every Member of the Virginia delegation for commemorating her remarkable life. With this legislation now heading to the President’s desk, I look forward to generations of Central Virginians — particularly young women and girls — being inspired by Dorothy Bruce’s example of trailblazing leadership, excellence, and service to others.”

Spanberger’s bill 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.

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.

Spanberger’s bipartisan bill is cosponsored by Virginia’s entire U.S. House delegation.

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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