Capt. Forrest R. Biard USN (Ret)
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Biard, USN (Ret), Capt. Forrest R. Died November 2, 2009, at age 96. He was the last surviving pre-war trained Japanese cryptolinguist member of the U.S. Naval codebreaking organization during World War II. Capt. Biard served in all three Navy codebreaking units during the war. Biard was born December 21, 1912, in Bonham, Texas. A graduate of North Dallas High School, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1934. He was attached to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo to study Japanese language, history, and culture from September 1939 to September 1941. He was attached to and worked with the "Station Hypo" codebreaking unit at Pearl Harbor from September 1941 to August 1943. He was called to the Washington, D.C. "Station Negat" codebreaking unit from August through October 1943, and was attached to "Station Cast" codebreaking unit at Melbourne, Australia from November 1943 to April 1945. He was assigned to USS Wasatch at New Guinea and the Philippines from September 19 to November 2, 1944 (and decorated with the Bronze Star for capturing and interrogating prisoners from ships sunk during the Battle of Leyte Gulf during this period). He retired from the Navy in 1955. He resided in Dallas, Texas. In September 1941, as a Navy language student in Japan, then-Lt. Cdr. Biard secured passage out of Japan for ten expert Navy linguists weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor. These individuals went on to make major contributions to U.S. military intelligence operations during the war in codebreaking, radio intelligence, interrogation, and other critical capacities. In the Fall of 1941, Biard was stationed at Pearl Harbor, where he served as a language officer in the Station Hypo codebreaking unit that worked to break JN-25, the key strategic code used by the Japanese Navy. Regarding the accomplishments of the Station Hypo group, Adm. Nimitz "enthusiastically endorsed" the following statement issued by then-Capt. Jasper Holmes in a postwar assessment report: "The fate of the nation quite literally depended upon about a dozen men who had devoted their lives and their careers, in peace and war, to radio intelligence." Layton, Rear Admiral Edwin T., U.S.N. (Ret.), with Captain Roger Pineau, U.S.N.R. (Ret.). and John Costello, "And I Was There" - Pearl Harbor and Midway - Breaking the Secrets, William Morrow and Company Inc., New York (1985) at 470. From February 15 to May 27, 1942, Biard was temporarily assigned to the carrier USS Yorktown as the radio intelligence officer. Biard rallied the troops on the Yorktown on the eve of the final engagement of the Battle of the Coral Sea. His talk culminated in a key instruction session by the Squadron Gunnery Officer on effective dive-bombing techniques, ensuring that neither of two Japanese carriers present at the Coral Sea was able to participate in the pivotal Battle of Midway one month later. In February 1944, Biard and Lt. Cdr. Tom Mackie were dispatched to Gen. Douglas MacArthur's intelligence center in Brisbane to decrypt messages encoded in Japanese Army code books found in New Guinea. Biard and Mackie decrypted communications identifying the detailed immediate Japanese defensive plans in the New Guinea area, a key strategic Japanese stronghold. The information developed at Brisbane enabled Gen. MacArthur to anticipate the enemy's movements, and thereby to execute his successful island-hopping strategy to reclaim New Guinea in just a few weeks, which consequently accelerated the end of the war in the Pacific by several months, with minimal casualties. After World War II, Biard attended post-graduate school in Annapolis, Maryland, where he studied nuclear engineering, nuclear physics, and radiation hazards. He pursued a master's degree in physics at The Ohio State University (OSU). While working on his master's program, Biard served as the operations officer for the first hydrogen bomb test. He received his master's degree in 1953. After retiring from the Navy, Biard taught physics at Long Beach City College until his retirement in the 1980s. Biard was preceded in death by his wife, Winifred, his parents Robert Jackson and Forest Lynn Elkin Biard, and siblings Dorothy Allen, Margaret Sansom, Mattie Elkin Biard Trigg, and Jack Biard. He is survived by nephews and nieces Ted Sansom, Steve Sansom, Lynn Allen, Judy Spalding, Beverly Allen, Nancy Wendler, David Biard, Betsy Clark, Patti Foster, John Biard, Bob Biard, and Cyndi Poe; and many great-nieces and nephews. Visitation will be Sunday, November 8, 2009 4:00-6:00 pm at Sparkman Hillcrest Funeral Home. A graveside service will be at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia at a later date.



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Published in Dallas Morning News on Nov. 8, 2009.
Memories & Condolences
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6 entries
November 20, 2009
You will be missed but never forgotten Capt.
Patrick Juren
November 12, 2009
While I unfortunately did not get to know Forrest, I wish to express my deepest sympathy to the Biard family. They, and we, have lost a man of true greatness. I hesitate to imagine what might have happened to the course of history, had it not been for the talents and dedication of men such as Forrest.
Jim Aldendifer
November 9, 2009
To the Biard Family:

I wish to express our deepest condolences on your loss. For the past 9 years I have directed the US Navy Japanese/Oriental Language School Archival Project at the Archives, University of Colorado at Boulder . While CPT Biard was a Tokyo trained Japanese Language Officer, and not a "Boulderite", we keep track of all of the WWII Navy and Marine Language Officers. Hense, we are mentioning his passing in our project newsletter, THE INTERPRETER (posted on the web). Feel free to check the newsletters on our project website. I used a 1939 photograph of "Tex" Biard from the Roger Pineau Collection with our notification. Let me know if you would like more information. Again, please accept my sympathies.
David Hays
November 9, 2009
Capt. Forrest R. Biard,
One of the brightest of Our Greatest Generation. God Bless him.
Lewis Faulkner
November 8, 2009
Wish as we may, we are powerless to stop the incessant flow of history, but, every now and then, a few people are able to influence it greatly as it passes. Forrest Biard was one such person, and it is an honor to claim a relationship with him, distant though it may be. Forrest will surely be remembered with honor and admiration, and the world is just a bit better for his presence in it. He did his duty -- and more.
William Fuller
November 8, 2009
Forrest spoke several times at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas. We are so sorry to hear of his passing and send our sincere sympathy and condolences to his family and friends.
Helen McDonald
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