Paratroopers of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment


This page is dedicated to James H. Hardesty


 This biography honors a forgotten hero.

James Hugh Hardesty grew up on a farm in Bladensburg, Knox County, Ohio. He entered the Army from Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana on May 13th 1943. After completing basic training, James attended parachute jump school. Sent overseas, he arrived in Scotland November 10, 1944. Private First Class Hardesty of Service company, 505 Parachute Infantry, was wounded in Belgium on January 24th 1945 and a second time in Germany April 1st 1945. He participated in the Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central Europe campaigns. He was awarded the Purple Heart medal with oak leaf cluster, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Bronze Star medal, the European, African, Middle Eastern Service medal with 3 Bronze Campaign stars, the American Campaign medal, World War II Victory medal, the Army of Occupation medal with Germany clasp, the Belgian Fourragère, a Marksman badge with rifle bar, the Parachutist badge - basic, and the Good Conduct medal. James held the rank of Technician 4th Grade (Tech/4) during his Army service. He served in Berlin, Germany after the war ended with the 82nd Airborne Division's Honor Guard. The only existing picture of James in uniform was taken while in Berlin, dressed in his Honor Guard uniform.(photo below) Private First Class Hardesty returned to the States on December 31,1945, and discharged on January 5,1946.

In the years following the war James could not rid himself of the memories and ghosts of WW-II, in addition, his shrapnel wounds led to operations and the loss of a lung. In 1954, alone in a hotel room, two days before his 30th birthday, James committed suicide.

Since 1954, James Hugh Hardesty effectively disappeared from the conversations of family and friends. Sadly, the term PTSD was not something past generations knew of. However, in recent years, family members Sue Ann (Hardesty) Gonis and Candice (Hardesty) Hunt rallied to find out what they could about this forgotten hero.

James is buried next to his parents in Union Grove Cemetery, Gambier, Knox County, Ohio, (Lot # 183) . His family will never forget the sacrifice he made for his country.

(Bio courtesy of the Hardesty, Gonis, and Hunt families)  

Private First Class James H. Hardesty in his honor guard uniform.
Berlin, Germany 1945.
Pfc. James Hugh Hardesty



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