Lieutenant Willis Hardy, Credit: Freedom Committee of Orange County

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. 

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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

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More about Willis Hardy:

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