Editor’s note: This Veterans Day Voice of OC is publishing a series of plaques honoring some of Orange County’s most decorated veterans. Commander Hardy was born on March 2, 1920, near Corning, Ca. He also received the Distinguished Flying Cross, and five Air Medals. He served as president for the American Fighter Aces Association.
CMDR. Willis E. (Bill) Hardy, U.S.N.
Citation: Navy Cross
War: World War II
Willis Everett Hardy, Lieutenant, United States Navy: for extraordinary heroism as pilot of a fighter plane in fighting Squadron Seventeen, attached to the U.S.S. Hornet, in action against enemy Japanese forces in the vicinity of Okinawa Shima, April 6, 1945. Participating in the interception of the large force of Japanese aircraft, Lieutenant Junior Grade, Hardy attacked an enemy fighter plane, causing it to crash into the sea. Sighting two hostile dive bombers, he shot both down in quick succession. Centering his fire upon the third dive bomber, he skillfully exploded it in midair after which he set off in relentless pursuit of another Japanese dive bomber, which crashed into the sea, exploding with terrific force upon impact. His courage and devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon Lieutenant Junior Grade, Hardy and the United States Naval Service.
Orange County Walk of Honor by AMVETS
More about Willis Hardy:
- Ace of the Day: Cmdr. Willis E. Hardy, USN (Ret) (Wings of Valor)
- Willis E. “Bill” Hardy, Cdr., USN, (Ret.) Navy Cross, DFC, WWII (Freedom Committee of Orange County
- Willis E. Hardy Tribute (Veteran Tributes)
- Bill Hardy (USN Army Air/Hellcat Pilot): Iwo Jima Veterans Interviews on the 70th Anniversary of the Flag Raisings on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima (You Tube)
- San Juan Capistrano honors veterans (OC Register)
- Voice of OC to Publish Series on Veterans Memorial Plaques