InfoAge Wall of Honor – 2007
Harold N. and Mary (Austin) Tate were childhood sweethearts who grew up in Goldsboro, NC and together contributed almost 80 years of their lives to the service of the United States Army at Fort Monmouth’s Evans Area in Wall Township.
Harold graduated from North Carolina Agriculture and Technology College in 1942 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering. After graduation he was employed by the Army’s Signal Corps Engineering Labs as a junior Engineer at Fort Monmouth in the Squire Laboratories. In October 1942, he received a direct commission as a 2LT in the Electronics Training Group. He attended classes in Asbury Park – where the Army had taken over the Convention Center – and in February 1943 he became an officer in the Signal Corps. He was assigned to attend the Electronics Training Group at Harvard University and graduated from the Army’s Radar School at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in September 1943. For the remainder of WW II, he served at Camp Davis, North Carolina as a Radar Officer in an Army Anti-Aircraft Battalion.
During this busy time, in early 1943, he managed one Friday night to travel to North Carolina from New Jersey, got his and Mary’s parents’ approval, whisked Mary off to South Carolina, got married, and had Mary back to her classes in Durham on Monday, as he headed to his newest assignment.
In 1945, Mary graduated from North Carolina Central University in Durham as a Mathematician and joined her husband at Fort Monmouth. Mary was employed as a clerk but was RIF’d after six months as part of the drawdown of personnel after the war. Mary remained at home until 1948 when she was hired by the Army as a mathematician. As Mary’s career progressed, she was assigned to Top Secret work in the Applied Physics Division. She was the only woman in her group and eventually became a Team Chief. Her work was vital to the Army’s efforts during the Cold War as she and her team had the responsibility to measure and interpret seismic events taking place in Russia as part of the Russian underground nuclear testing activity.
After the war, Harold was assigned to work at Russel Hall on Fort Monmouth and eventually worked his way down to the Evans Area. He became the “go-to” person in Army radar and, among many other successes, was instrumental in the development of many critical Army Radar Systems. Most notable was the Weapon Locating Radars AN/TPQ-36 and 37 and their predecessor, the AN/MPQ-4. These systems have played a major role in protecting US Forces in Vietnam and their descendants have done the same in Iraq. His mentoring of young engineers left a legacy of talented radar systems specialists who have continued his extraordinary work. During his years at Evans, he worked with many notables in the rapidly emerging field of radar to include Dr. Harold Zahl, Dr. Fred Daniels, and Dr. Donald Swingle. Upon his retirement, Harold was the Director of the Radar Division.
The Tates had two children. Their daughter Claudia received her PH.D from Harvard and was a professor of English at Princeton – and Head of the Black Writer’s Department – until her untimely death in 2002. She published three books which have been translated into Chinese and Japanese. Her son, Reed Hubbard, received his Law Degree after graduating from New York University and Harvard University. Her other son, Jerome W. Lindsay III, spent a tour in the Marine Corps and is now attending the University of Washington in Seattle. The Tate’s other child, Harold Austin Tate, is a Diagnostic Radiologist in Las Vegas. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Howard University in Washington, DC and his Medical Degree from Princeton. He also had a Fellowship at Harvard and a Research Grant at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston.
The Tate’s retired in 1980 and currently reside in Fair Haven, NJ.