Born in San Francisco, California, on July, 10, 1909, Rear Admiral Thomas Richardson Kurtz, Jr., is the son of the late Commodore T. R. Kurtz, USN, and Mrs. (Irene Van Arsale) Kurtz.
He attended High School at Annapolis, Maryland, then prepared for the Naval Academy at Severn Preparatory School, Severna Park, Maryland. Entering the Naval Academy on appointment at large in 1927, he was commissioned Ensign on June, 4, 1931. On August 1, 1958 he was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral.
After graduation from the Naval Academy he was assigned to the USS CHESTER (CA 27) from July 1931 to May 1933. Next, he served as Communications Officer of the USS DALE (DD 353). He completed the course in Applied Communications at the Naval Postgraduate School in April 1939, then served as Radio Officer of the USS NEVADA (BB 36), operating the Battleship Division ONE of the Battle Force.
Detached from the NEVADA in 1939, he served as Communications Officer of Convoys and on the Staff of Commander Transports, Base Force, until October, 1 1942 and then transferred to the USS DENVER (CL 58) as Communications Officer and Navigator. During a period in 1943 he also served as Communications Officer for Task Force 68 in the South Pacific. From May 1944 until September 1945, he served as Assistant for Fleet Communications to the Communications Officer on the Staff of the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas.
Returning to the United States in September 1945, he reported for duty in the Fleet Communications Division of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department and with additional duty with the Joint Communication and Electronics Commission for unification of communications. In May 1947 he became Assistant Chief of Naval Communications, Fleet Operations, and in July 1948 was designated for Special Duty Only, Communications. He remained on duty in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations until July 1951, when he reported to the Naval Communications Station, San Diego, California as Commanding Officer with additional duty as District Communications Officer on the Staff of the Commandant of the Eleventh Naval District, and Southwest Sector, Western Sea Frontier.
On June 1, 1954, he assumed command of the Naval Security Station, Washington, D.C., remaining there until June 1957, when he became Commanding Officer, Naval Communications Station, San Diego, California. On August, 25, 1958 he assumed the Assistant Directorship of the National Security Agency and Director of the Production Organization, National Security Agency, Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. He was assigned as Deputy Director of Naval Communications for the Naval Security Group, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and Director of the Naval Security Group Headquarters, Washington,. D.C., in July 1961. In December 1961 he transferred to duty as Assistant Director of Acquisition, Defense Intelligence Agency, Washington, D.C. and on January, 15, 1962 again reported as Deputy Director of Naval Communications for the Naval Security Group and Director of the Naval Security Group, Naval Security Group Headquarters. He remained in that position until August, 23, 1963.
Rear Admiral Kurtz was married to the former Florence Emily Adams of Long Beach, California, and has a son, Thomas Richardson Kurtz, III. He died on May, 15 1979, in San Diego, California. He was 69.
RADM Kurtz was the last “Head, Naval Security Group.”
Source: Echoes of Our Past