WWII Veteran Recognized for Military Intelligence Service at Vint Hill Farms Station

The Fauquier Historical Society presented Greenspring resident Bob Zikowitz with a Certificate of Appreciation

(Springfield, Va.) – Bob Zikowitz was inducted into the U.S. Army at Ft. Meade in Maryland and received signal corps training at Camp Crowder in Missouri.  After his training, he was selected in May of 1942 as one of only 16 students for top secret service at Vint Hill Farms Station in Warrenton, Va., a critical site for the strategic intercept of foreign communications during WWII.  This summer, Zikowitz was recognized for his service at Vint Hill by the Fauquier Historical Society.

According to the Fauquier Historical Society, the Vint Hill Farms Station site was purchased by the U.S. Army in 1942 and operated as a cryptology school and intelligence gathering station, eventually employing more than 2,000 military and civilian employees.  Bob served as a Technical Sergeant in the 2nd Signal Service Battalion while working at Vint Hill from 1942-1945.

“Bob was one of the very first soldiers to help open up Vint Hill Farms Station as the nation’s first listening post,” said Col. Rick Davis, U.S. Army (ret.), former Commander of Vint Hill Farms Station from 1991-1993.  “He was a key player during those early days at Vint Hill Farms Station, and during his wartime tenure there, he steadily climbed the ranks of both responsibility and importance,” said Davis.

Vint Hill played a critical role in intercepting a message from Berlin to Tokyo that led to the D-Day invasion at Normandy in June of 1944.  According to Zikowitz, decryption of that message proved to be so significant that Gen. Omar Bradley, U.S. Army Combat Corps Commander during WWII, personally visited Vint Hill to thank those involved in the intercept.

In 1945, Zikowitz left Vint Hill and was sent to its sister station, Two Rock Ranch Station in Petaluma, California, to learn Katakana, a Japanese method of sending codes.  A year later, he had the honor of assisting Gen. George Marshall with his duties overseas in China.  In 1948, Zikowitz was commissioned and in 1962 retired with the rank of Major in the U.S. Army. 

According to Davis, for nearly 50 years after WWII ended, Zikowitz and his colleagues were unable to tell their family and friends about their service during the war.

“In preparation for celebrating Vint Hill Farm’s 50th Anniversary in 1992, a major portion of Vint Hill’s history was declassified,” said Davis.  “Among the data uncovered and declassified were the names of those soldiers who had originally served at Vint Hill.”  That data included the name of Bob Zikowitz, who noted that he experienced limitations based on his classified service.  “I wasn’t allowed to travel to Germany, for instance, because of what I knew,” said Zikowitz.

On June 23, 2015, Zikowitz was honored at an event hosted by the Fauquier Historical Society.  There, he was recognized by the Society with a Certificate of Appreciation for his distinguished service during WWII.  The certificate was presented to Zikowitz by James Clapper, the Director of National Security, who serves as the principal intelligence advisor to the President of the United States.  Previously, Zikowitz had also received recognition for his service during WWII by the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM). 

Now a resident at Greenspring retirement community in Springfield, Va., Zikowitz spends much of his time volunteering at the Channel 6 in-house television station on campus.  He hosts shows, does voice overs, and operates cameras for live productions.  In 2013, he was presented with the President’s Lifetime Service Award, which is bestowed on individuals who have given more than 4,000 hours of volunteer service.  He is one of only 26 residents at Greenspring to have received this award since the program was initiated in 2007. 

About Greenspring: Greenspring, one of 18 retirement communities managed by Erickson Living, is situated on a scenic 58-acre campus in Springfield, Virginia. The community is home to nearly 2000 residents, many of whom reside in the community’s 1404 independent living apartment homes. At Greenspring, over 200 resident-run and resident-driven programs promote an engaged, fulfilling lifestyle reflected in resident satisfaction levels that exceed the industry average. Additional information about Greenspring can be found at www.ericksonliving.com