He was still an undergraduate college student when he began a three-year stint as an Army codebreaker, working to decipher the secret messages of the Japanese high command. That was in 1943. Today, at age 85, Sumner Redstone sits athwart an array of high-powered communications and entertainment companies that include Viacom, National Amusements Inc., CBS Corporation, publishing house Simon & Schuster, Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Studios (co-founded by Steven Spielberg), MTV, and Nickelodeon. Among many others.
My time in the Army wasn't like your typical war movie. But it was the most demanding, exciting desk job that I could have imagined. For three years, I helped break the war codes whose deciphering played a major role in defeating Japan.
We labored in a set of stark, cluttered offices in a purposely nondescript complex in Arlington, Virginia, a few miles from the Pentagon, which had just been completed. The secrecy was unprecedented, rivaled only by the security that later surrounded the Manhattan Project.