Henry Francis deCourt
Henry Francis deCourt born to Elva and Henry
deCourt on April 4, 1922 in Orange, Texas. During his childhood he
lived in Orange, Tx, Chicago, IL and Savanna, Ga.
While in Chicago his favorite past time was getting 15 cents
from his mom and spending as much time as he could at the Chicago
science museum. His love of science and engineering lead him
to his first Amateur Radio License while in high
school. In Savannah he graduated from Armstrong Junior
College and entered the Navy where he was placed into the V12 program
The V12 program was established by the U.S.
Navy to to meet the need for officers to fill the ranks during WWII.
Between 1943 and 1946 over 125,000 college age men
were enrolled at 131 colleges and universities in the V12 program.
Approximately 60,000 of those in the program were eventually
commissioned as Navy ensigns or Marine Corp second
lieutenants. Henry graduated from Georgia Tech with an
Electrical Engineering degree in 1946 and enrolled into Georgia Techs
master program. In 1948 he graduated with a Masters in
During the time between high school and
graduating from Georgia Tech he learned from the FCC that his amateur
call sign was being used illegally by others. The FCC then
issued him a new license and call sign, W4HDM which he used until he
relocated to Bethesda, Maryland in 1952. Following his move to
Bethesda his call sign became W3WZN.
Meanwhile, he met his wife to be, Dorothy, at
party in 1946 and married her in her home town of Lillington, NC
following his graduation in 1948. Dorothy was a graduate of
Greensboro College and was working for Davison's in Atlanta as an
Assistant Buyer following her successful completion of Macy's Executive
Following their marriage, Hank was enrolled
at UNC to work on his Phd. However, the Korean war erupted
and he was recalled back into the Navy. Following the
conflict he ended up at the Naval Security Station in 1952.
Below is a press release regarding the first U.S. ELINT
program, GRAB, which can be seen in it's entirety by clicking the link
on the left, "Father of ELINT".
A National ELINT Program was established in 1955,
under Air Force Secretary Donald A. Quarles, who had previously chaired
the JCEC. ANEEG was reorganized as the National Technical Processing
Center (NTPC). Soldiers, sailors, and civilian technicians, including
some from CIA, were joined by an influx of airmen and civilians from
ATIC at Wright Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio. NTPC's primary mission was
to inform the Strategic Air Command about Soviet air defense radar that
SAC's B-47 and B-52 bombers would encounter in the event of nuclear
war. Lorenzen's Countermeasures Branch participated in and supported
the National ELINT Program by serving on technical committees;
developing intercept equipment; collaborating with Army Signal Corps
Signals Research and Development Laboratory in Fort Monmouth, New
Jersey, and Air Development Centers in Rome, New York, and Dayton,
Ohio; and evaluating data acquired from ECM configurations. NTPC was
headed by an Air Force lieutenant colonel, and continuity was provided
by senior civilian engineers like John E. Libbert and Henry F. (Hank) DeCourt.
Lorenzen continued to chair the steering committee of the Navy's
Technical ELINT Panel, which supported NTPC.
continued to work for the DOD as a
civilian and in 1965 was transfered to Japan as a station
chief. While in Japan his call sign was KA2HD. When
he returned to the States he continued to work for DOD and became
active with the Foundation for Amateur Radio, FAR where he was the
chairman of the scholarship committee until his death in 1980.
Hank was buried with full military honors at
Arlington National Cometary.
have a story about Hank, please drop us an email at hank-AT-decourt dot
org. Thank you.