Henry Alexius Courtney, Jr., born on 6 January 1916 in Duluth, Minn., was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in February 1940. As a company commander on Guadalcanal in 1942, he shared in the Presidential Unit Citation awarded the First Marine Division. While serving as executive officer of a battalion of the Sixth Marine Division on Okinawa, he was killed in action after exhibiting great courage and self-sacrifice leading a successful night attack against Japanese positions on Sugar Loaf Hill on 15 May 1945. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, and a second Presidential Unit Citation that was earned by the Sixth Marine Division.
(DE-1021: displacement 1,280; length 314'6"; beam 36'9"; draft 9'3"; speed 25 knots; complement 170; armament 4 3-inch, 6 12.75-inch torpedo tubes, 1 ASW projector (Weapon Alfa); class Dealey)
The second Courtney (DE-1021) was laid down on 2 September 1954 at Bay City, Mich., by the Defoe Shipbuilding Co.; launched on 2 November 1955; sponsored by Mrs. H. A. Courtney; commissioned on 24 September 1956, Lt. Cmdr. Carl W. Coe in command.
Assigned to the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Courtney joined Escort Squadron 10 at Newport, R.I., on 26 April 1957, and operated from that port exercising in antisubmarine warfare and convoy escort techniques in the British West Indies until 3 September. She arrived at Milford Haven, Wales, on 14 September for maneuvers with ships of other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) navies in the Irish Sea, visiting Plymouth, England, and Brest, France, before returning to Newport on 21 October 1957 to resume local operations. She took part in hunter-killer exercises off North Carolina and in convoy exercises extending into the waters off Florida.
Courtney cleared Newport on 1 April 1958 and called at Reykjavik, Iceland, on the way to Bodø, Norway, to conduct exercises with ships of the Norwegian Navy. She put in to Antwerp, Belgium, and Argentia, Newfoundland, and returned to Newport on 14 May. From 7 August to 30 September she cruised in the Atlantic with her squadron on convoy escort and screening duties, visiting Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 15 to 19 September. Again cruising to South American waters from February through March 1959, she called at ports in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile, and exercised with ships of the Colombian and Peruvian navies. NATO exercises in August and September 1959 found her calling at Newfoundland, Northern Ireland, England, and Portugal. Through the first half of 1960, she cruised along the east coast on a variety of exercises, including an amphibious operation with marines on the coast of North Carolina.
From August through December 1960, Courtney participated in Operation UNITAS, the combined antisubmarine training cruise of the American nations.
Stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 14 December 1973, ex-Courtney was disposed-of, by Navy Sale, bids opening on 18 June 1974, being sold to Union Minerals & Alloys Corp. of New York, N.Y., on 1 July 1974, for scrapping.
Updated, Robert J. Cressman
21 October 2020