U.S. Army Soldier Who Fought and Died in WWII Posthumously Awarded Medals

by Kati Kuuseoks
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Here at Outsider, we proudly support all our veterans and troops. We especially strive to recognize those that gave the ultimate sacrifice. We also try to illuminate the fact that many of those heroes never received the recognition they deserved. Private Gordon Lee Hardy is one such U.S Army soldier. He fought and died during the events of WWII. Sadly, he never saw recognition for his sacrifices while serving. The silver lining, though? His brother just accepted several medals of honor that a Kentucky representative awarded posthumously on his behalf. We’ve got all the details of this touching story for you right here.

Kentucky Recognizes Fallen WWII Soldier

Private Gordon Lee Hardy served alongside his brother Donald C. Hardy, now a retired U.S. Colonel. Gordon tragically lost his life in action on April 18th, 1945, in Germany. This came just before his 20th birthday and just before they officially declared the end of WWII. Had he survived 3 more weeks, he would have seen the Nazis surrender on May 7th, 1945. 

You can imagine the shock when Gordon’s brother, Donald answered the door to a special visitor. The knock came from United States Representative Andy Barr in his small Kentucky town. Barr told Fox the following in a statement on their meeting:

“Over seven decades later, I am honored to finally deliver long-overdue recognition for Private Hardy’s extraordinary service that his family deserves. Private Hardy was part of our greatest generation and gave the ultimate sacrifice so that all generations that came after him would have their freedoms and way of life preserved. His story is an inspiration and no matter how many decades pass, his legacy and impact will never be forgotten.”

Donald’s son/Gordon’s nephew, William Hardy, said he grew up knowing his uncle’s legacy, although the family rarely discussed his passing.

“It was an overwhelming experience for [Donald] to see those seven medals and know that [Gordon] had finally been recognized after 76 years,” said William. “And at the age of 94, my father was overwhelmed with emotion. And that’s not something you see from that generation.” 

A Breakdown of the Awards

Representative Andy Barr actually honored Private Gordon Lee Hardy with a handful of awards. Many consider these awards some of the most prestigious honors available to veterans for their service. The Bronze Star stands to honor heroic acts on the ground versus something aerial. A Purple Heart honors those injured or killed during their service. Although records never kept official counts since its conception in 1932, the official board estimates around 1.8 million Purple Hearts awarded since then.

Gordon also posthumously earned a Combat Infantry Badge, an Army Good Conduct Medal, a European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medical with a Bronze Service Star, an Honorable Service lapel pin, and a WWII victory medal.

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