George E. Hardy, Pilot
18th SOS, Udorn and Da Nang, 1970-71
Born June 8, 1925 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Military Service Entered active duty in July 1943. He entered Aviation Cadet Training at Tuskegee Army Air Field, Alabama in December 1943, and graduated as a pilot in September 1944. He received additional combat flying training at Walterboro AAF, SC and in March 1945, was assigned to the 99th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group in Italy. He flew twenty-one combat missions over Germany. Following his return from overseas, in August 1945, he served at Tuskegee Army Air Field and at Lockbourne Army Air Field, Ohio, and was discharged in November 1946.
He was recalled to active duty at Lockbourne Air Force Base, Ohio, in June 1948, and was assigned to the 301st Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group. In September 1948 he was assigned as a student in the Airborne Electronics Maintenance Officers School at Keesler AFB, Mississippi, and in September 1949 he was transferred to the 28th Bomb Squadron, 19th Bomb Group (B-29s), on Guam, as a Maintenance Officer. In 1950, he flew 45 combat missions over Korea in B-29 aircraft. From 1951 through 1962 he served in various Armament and Electronics Maintenance Squadrons in the Strategic Air Command and in Japan as Maintenance Officer and as Squadron Commander. He received his Command Pilot Rating in 1959.
In 1964, following receipt of a graduate engineering degree, he was assigned to the Electronics Systems Division at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts. In August 1966, he was assigned as Chief of Engineering and Program Manager for Development, Installation and Cutover of the 490L Overseas AUTOVON Communications System. It was the overseas portion of the Department of Defense’s first worldwide direct- dial telephone system. The initial sites were successfully cutover in Europe, Panama and in the Pacific in 1969. In 1970, he was transferred to the 18th Special Operations Squadron in Vietnam as a pilot in AC-119K Gunships. He served as Operating Location Commander at Udorn Air Base, Thailand and also at Da Nang Air Base, Vietnam and flew 70 combat missions. He returned from Vietnam in April 1971 and retired from the Air Force in November 1971.
Decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal w/11 Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Commendation Medal w/1 Oak Leaf Cluster.
Post-military In December 1971, he accepted a position with GTE Communications Systems Division, Needham Heights, Massachusetts. He served in various areas of Program Management. Major tasks included management of the continuing development and related software upgrade of communications systems for the U. S. Army. He retired from GTE in July 1988.
• Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, Air Force Institute of Technology, Aug. 1955 to Aug. 1957
• Master of Science in Systems Engineering-Reliability, A.F. Institute of Technology, Feb. 1963 to Aug. 1964
Related Activities: Member of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.: a past President of the New England Chapter.
Residence: Sarasota, FL 34240
Married Wife: Katharine (Bonnie) Children: Six Grandchildren: Nine