My mother was, I believe, a cryptographer with Naval Intelligence during WWII. I say "I believe", because she never really said. I have ribbons and commendations she received- the commendations say little to nothing and the ribbons she was never allowed to wear. She never talked about her work with my father, also a WWII veteran, and she certainly never talked to me, though I pressed her my whole life. I know she worked in Washington and I know it had something to do with Japanese code and I know her service began before the war- that's all she ever confirmed to anyone.
She died in 1982 and took her secrets to her grave. A few weeks after her death, we received a certificate from The White House, signed by Ronald Reagan, referencing her meritorious and invaluable service to her country. My father, also a vet, didn't get one and I've never heard of anyone else getting one. Again, she took her secrets to the grave.
That's the way it's done.