Roll of Honor

Student soldiers marching on Broadway

Lee West Sellers

  • School: Journalism
  • Class Year: 1919
  • War: World War I
  • Date of Death: June 2, 1919

First Lieutenant Lee West Sellers died in France from nephritis, June 2, 1919. His military service involved the decipherment of enemy messages. Bright young officers such as Lee West Sellers (who had been a music critic for the New York Sun before the war) were selected to join the American Expeditionary Forces’ radio intelligence effort. The G2A6, as it was called was the first organized cryptologic effort run by the United States. Sellers was the lead analyst on German three-letter codes in what the allies called the “Fritz” series of codes. His knowledge of these systems assisted in a major breakthrough on the evening of April 28, 1918, when Sellers broke a coded message that indicated there would be a German attack in the area between Beaumont and Bezonvaux at approximately 1am the following day. The message was intercepted at 9:05 pm, and by midnight, Sellers had cracked the code. Within a half hour. the information was in the hands of the French Second and Eighth Armies, preparing them for the German action which has been assumed not to have been successful.

Lee West Sellers

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