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Orville B. Lefko papers

Identifier: COU:977


The Orville B. Lefko Papers consist of translations of the Nagasaki Shimbun accounts pertaining to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The collection also contains photographs, documents, and poems related to his World War II experiences in the Pacific Theater. Lefko graduated from the US Navy Japanese Language School in 1943. The school was located at the University of Colorado in Boulder from 1942-1946. Lt. Lefko served as a Navy Intelligence Officer in JICPOA, the 5th Amphibious Corps, principally with the 4th Marine Division, the Navy Technical Mission to Japan, and the United States Bombing Survey.


  • Creation: 1943 - 1946

Biographical Note

Orville B. Lefko was born on October 3, 1922, in Detroit, Michigan. He attended the University of Michigan and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A in Economics in 1942. Following his graduation from the University of Michigan, Lefko entered the US Navy Japanese Language School at the University of Colorado. Lefko graduated from the Japanese Language School on July 10, 1943. After receiving further instruction in naval intelligence at the Henry Hudson Hotel in New York City, Ensign Lefko was assigned to JICPOA in Pearl Harbor.

While in Hawaii, Lefko translated Japanese war documents and interviewed Japanese prisoners. As part of his duties he was sent to the Mariannas and Kwajalein. In his free time, he organized a country & western band, which played weekends at the Officers Club and at enlisted dances. Although the musical group was selected to tour the Pacific as a part of an USO troupe, Lefko was unable to receive a leave from his Naval Intelligence duties. The band dispersed when Lefko was assigned to the 5th Amphibious Corps.

In late 1944, Lt. Lefko, along with Lt. Cmdr. Neal Jensen, volunteered for a special mission to capture a rock islet which supported an enemy radio tower and transmitter in Philippine waters off Leyete Island. When MacArthur was notified of the sortie, he denied permission for Admiral Nimitz’s officers to enter the Philippines, thereby canceling the mission. Lefko and Jensen then returned to their regular JICPOA duties.

In 1945, Lt. Lefko landed on Iwo Jima with the 4th Marine Division. On a daily basis, Lefko performed reconnaissance on recent battle areas seeking Japanese maps, documents, and other abandoned materials of intelligence value. At times he unknowingly crossed enemy lines. Lefko was also assigned to search caves for Japanese soldiers and documents. Although he was able to retrieve many documents during this campaign, Lefko never encountered a Japanese soldier.

During the occupation of Japan, Lefko remained with the 5th Amphibious Corps. He was assigned to Commander Taylor in Sasebo and was put in charge of a motor pool while he awaited an intelligence assignment. Lefko was later ordered to the Navy Technical Mission to Japan to serve as interpreter for various groups of Navy personnel investigating different aspects of the Japanese military effort, including planned defenses and activities prior to surrender. As a part of his duties, Lefko located the place of manufacture of the Japanese suicide miniature submarines and found several Japanese flag-rank officers who had scattered and were working in various menial occupations to avoid interrogation.

After his assignment to the Navy Technical Mission to Japan, Lt. Jg. Lefko served with the United States Bombing Survey. His duties included both interpretation for various intelligence officer groups and supervision of the translation of newspaper articles pertaining to the atomic bombings published in the Nagasaki Shimbun from August 10, 1945, to November 10, 1945. With the assistance of Guy Riccio, he was able to complete the translations in December 1945. Following this assignment, Lefko and Riccio left Japan for San Francisco on the USS Tryon, APH-1.

Lefko returned to the University of Michigan to attend the Graduate School of Business Administration. In 1947, he graduated Beta Gamma Sigma with an MBA in marketing and began working in Texaco’s International Marketing Department. In 1950, Lefko left Texaco and from 1951 to 1953, he was an auditor with L.R.B.&M, now Price Waterhouse Coopers. In 1951, Lefko was awarded the Seidman Economics Award for his paper on Economics and Public Finance, which was written in connection with the CPA examination. In 1954 and 1955, Lefko was Manager, Marketing Budgets & Sales Forecasting in Carboloy Department of General Electric Company. Since 1955, Lefko has been with The Lefko Group, his professional practice. From 1955 to 1968, Lefko provided service as a Certified Public Accountant and since 1968; he has focused on business analysis.

On August 5, 1967, Lefko married Janet Mather and on August 10, 1969, their daughter Tami was born. Tami attended the University of Michigan, spending her last year at Kyoto University. She has also spent a part of a summer on Hokkaido. Because of her experiences, Tami is fluent in the Japanese language and is currently a lawyer residing in Los Angeles, California.

Lefko is the author of the following articles published in the Michigan State Bar Journal: “Buy-Sell Agreements and Appraisals” (February 1976), “Holder’s Interest” (1992), and “Incompatibility Between Prenuptial and Buy-Sell Agreements Can Cause a Host of Problems” (January 1999). He has spoken before legal, accounting, financial and estate planning, and other professional groups and has taught courses on economics and financial analysis. Lefko is a member, and has frequently served as officer, of many organizations including Association for Investment Management and Research, Financial Analysts Society of Detroit, Economic Club of Detroit, ESOP Association, National Association of Business Economists, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants-Honorary Member, and Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants. In September 2000, he presented a seminar on “Accounting Abuse and Manipulation” for the AIMR at the University of Michigan Dearborn campus.


.25 linear feet

Language of Materials