After 23 years in the Navy, active and reserve, Capt. Tim Hardy is accustomed to humanitarian missions.
After 23 years in the Navy, active and reserve, Capt. Tim Hardy is accustomed to humanitarian missions. So when Hardy received his marching orders in January to return to Haiti after the 7.0 earthquake rocked the small island in the Caribbean, he reported to duty at Newport, R.I.
“My son had just gotten back from Haiti after 129 days,” his father, Pete Hardy, said Monday. “Tim left his Penfield, N.Y. home last April 1 aboard the U.S.S. Comfort, a big, white hospital boat, on humanitarian trips to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, El Salvador and Nicaragua.”
Captain Hardy, who is a Navy reservist and works for Sunoco as an engineer, is taking a break from his busy schedule to visit his parents, Pete and Pat Hardy, at their Lexa residence this weekend.
“He’s flying into Memphis Thursday. We’re going to pick him up at the airport and go turkey hunting at (the) Jackson Point (Hunting Club),” Pete Hardy said.
Captain Hardy and crew left aboard the U.S.S. Bataan, a smaller vessel, for the return trip to Haiti in January, Pete Hardy said.
“My son was part of the Bataan Amphibious Relief Mission bound for Haiti,” Pete Hardy said. “They were involved in serving a million meals a day to survivors from the earthquake.”
The Bataan mission landed at Leogane, located 14 miles west of Port au Prince, the Haitian capital. That area was near the epicenter of the earthquake.
Captain Hardy described the Bataan relief corps to his father in an email.
The relief team consisted of four ships, staff, 1,600 Marines and their equipment, two Marine air squadrons, a Navy air squadron along with detachments – beach groups, assault craft units, etc.
Hardy has known even more precarious duty as a Naval officer.
“It wasn’t long after Tim received his commission he was assigned to the U.S.S. Nashville out to sea during Desert Storm,” Pete Hardy said.
Captain Hardy has also spent time in Afghanistan among his years in the military.
Visits to the Arkansas Delta offer rest and relaxation for the Naval captain. He was born and raised in Michigan, Pete Hardy said.
“I was born and grew up in Leachville,” the senior Hardy said. “I moved to Benton, Harbor Mich. and lived there 22 1/2 years before moving back to Arkansas to live in Phillips County,” Pete Hardy said.
Pete Hardy met his future wife, Pat, in 1973 while he was vacationing in Phillips County. “I came down to Phillips County to visit my brother Ernest,” who was in farming, Pete Hardy said. Ernest Hardy died in 2009.
Young Tim Hardy completed his Bachelor of Science degree in engineering at Western Michigan University. His academic record earned him a fellowship to Cambridge University.
“All it cost me was $520 for Tim’s travel on a Concorde,” Pete Hardy said.
After Cambridge, Tim Hardy enlisted in the Navy and entered the officer’s candidate school at Newport, R.I.
Captain Hardy furthered his education through the Navy War College at Newport, R.I.
He has spent most of his 23 years in the Naval reserve while working for Sunoco.
One of his duties as manager of distribution operations for Sunoco involves the opening of new service stations.
Captain Hardy’s wife, Joani, knows the perils of a military officer.
When asked about Captain Hardy’s gung-ho military stance, Joani Hardy says, “If you want someone to go to war with this is the man to take.”
Their daughter, Emma, who graduates in May from American University in Washington, D.C., is no stranger to world travel.
“Emma went to Santiago, Chile last year to teach English,” Pete Hardy said. “She went to Mexico in 2008 to teach English.”
After graduation she intends to return to Chile, Pete Hardy said.
Pete Hardy said Emma Hardy drew on some political strength to help get her into American University.
“(Then-)Gov. (Mike) Huckabee, Rollie Remmell and Gen. Wesley Clark wrote letters to help Emma get into American University,” Pete Hardy said.
After she was accepted, Emma Hardy called Pete Hardy to tell him, “Now all I need is $45,000.”
The Captain Hardy family’s international ties stretch to Russia.
“My and his family had a Russian girl living with them briefly while Emma was in high school,” Pat Hardy recalled.