• ...The nation’s brightest young minds to consider careers in STEM and cyber related fields

  • ...Robust dialog with the American public on cyber policy, technology, and privacy

  • ...Those who “served in silence” with valor and distinction, especially those who gave their lives in service


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1956: U.S. Navy Recon Plane Shot Down

Monday, August 22, 2022

22 August 1956: Chinese fighters shot down U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane over Shengsi Islands, killing all 16 crew members.

PRC fighters regularly tailed Naval reconnaissance aircraft and, on occasion, had opened fire, but they did not shoot down an SESP platform, until 22 August 1956, when a P4M-1Q Mercator was downed in an unprovoked attack 32 miles off the coast of China and 180 miles north of Taiwan. The aircraft radioed that it had encountered hostile fighters and was not heard from again. All 16 crewman were missing. Despite an intense search and rescue mission, the body of only one of the 16 crewman was recovered and the remainder were presumed dead. The PRC later returned the bodies of three of the crewman. It was the costliest Naval reconnaissance loss to date.

Learn more via the NSA publication: " A Dangerous Business: The US Navy and National Reconnaissance During the Cold War," via the link below.

You can also learn more about the Mercator aircraft via the 2018 AVgeekery.com article by Bill Walton titled, "The Mercator: A Cold War Spy Plane Many Never Even Knew Existed" - included as a link below.

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On This Day In History


  • GRAB I, the first reconnaissance satellite, was launched.

About Us

The NCF's Vision is to Influence the cryptologic future by sharing our educational resources, stimulating new knowledge, and commemorating our heritage.

The Foundation provides exceptional cryptologic programs throughout the year, encourages young minds to explore cryptology and cyber education and careers,  hosts educational, cryptology-related exhibits at various community events, and honors the people— past, present, and future—whose contributions to our national security protect and make possible our way of life.

The NCF also provides needed support to the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM), the first public museum in the U.S. Intelligence Community. Located adjacent to the National Security Agency (NSA) in Maryland, the NCM houses a unique and priceless collection of artifacts that represent our Nation's history in code making and code breaking, as well as a world class library of cryptologic media. The NCF acquires the best artifacts for the Museum and supports new educational and interactive exhibits.

As part of the Foundation's partnership with NSA to build the Cyber Center for Education and Innovation - Home of the National Cryptologic Museum (CCEI-NCM), the NCF also serves as a leader in the field of cybersecurity - striving to provide the best in educational resources and programs.

The NCF has a three-part mission to Educate, Stimulate, and Commemorate. Learn more about our MISSION.