Anderson Code Girl' honored with Order of Palmetto.

You never know where that one class you took in collegeon a hunchmight take you.

For Anderson native and high school band director Jeuel BannisterEsmacher, 97, that one U.S. Army cryptanalysis course she took at Winthrop University would land her in the pages of New York Times BestsellerCode Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War IIin 2017.

She reappeared this week in headlines as the recipient of the state's highest civilian honor, The Order of the Palmetto, following a surprise awards ceremony Sunday morning at Anderson's First Presbyterian Church, attended by officials from the governor's office, Winthrop University andEsmacher'sfriends and family.

"We're so happy the state of South Carolina followed our suit and gave the highest honor that they could give," Debbie Garrick, senior development officer ofWinthrop University, said during the event. "Winthrop gave Jeuel the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award, which is the highest honor we could give. We're not a bit surprised by this, because if you know Jeuel, you know she does not seek accolades, but she certainly does deserve every single one that has been given to her."

In theearly years of 1940, her aptitude for code-breaking and music prompteda message from the Department of Defense: "Come at once; we could use you in Washington,"Esmacherrecounted in an interview toCode Girlsauthor Lisa Mundy.

Esmacherresponded to the call from the U.S. Army's top-secret code-breaking operation at Arlington Hall, where women worked to unravel messages coded in Japanese and German during the war, warning troops of impending attacks and creating false communications to be received by Axis forces.

According toCode Girls, one ofEsmacher'spersonal discoveries helped the United States sink a...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT