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. 


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:

Since you've made it this far,

You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *