Sunday, June 23, 2024

Avenue of Heroes: Ward M. LeHardy

Written by: Sally Barstow (daughter), and Ward, Marcel, and Peter LeHardy (sons)

Ward Morehouse LeHardy was born in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1934 to Navy LT Louis LeHardy and Sara LeHardy. When he was 7 years old, his father was killed in action while serving as a staff officer aboard USS San Francisco during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. The family settled in Coronado, California, where LeHardy was raised in a little home on A

He attended Coronado High School through his junior year, where he made many lifelong friends. When it came time to enter college, he surprised many by selecting West Point over the Naval Academy. LeHardy joined the U.S. Military Academy Class of 1956 and, while there, met the love of his life, Judy Powell Nevins. They were married in November 1956 and a 62-year romance ensued.

Following graduation, LeHardy served in Korea and Vietnam. Other tours included Japan, Germany, Italy, the Panama Canal Zone, and several posts in the United States. A highlight in his service came in 1974 when he formed and commanded the 3 rd Battalion (Airborne) 509 th Infantry in Mainz, Germany, and lead the relocation of the battalion to Vicenza, Italy, becoming the only U.S. Airborne unit in Europe. He was proud to be a member of the
101 st Airborne Division twice, first as a lieutenant in the 1950s and again in the 1980s as a colonel in command of the 3 rd Brigade (Air Assault) and as division chief of staff. LeHardy was promoted to the rank of brigadier general in 1984 and went on to serve as assistant division commander of the 4th Infantry Division in Fort Carson, Colorado, and the second Army chief of staff at Fort Gillem in Georgia.

After retiring in 1988, LeHardy and his wife, Judy, set out to sail around the world. The couple circumnavigated the globe on their 39-foot sailboat Cormorant from 1991 to 1996. Their voyage included an emotional visit on Nov. 13, 1992, 50 years later to the day, to the spot in the South Pacific where LeHardy’s father lost his life in World War II. Ward LeHardy was a patriot, and it was the honor of his life to serve our great nation.

The Hometown Banner Program is a military service recognition program sponsored by the City of Coronado. Introduced in 2014, the program has honored 218 hometown heroes. On Nov. 5, 2022, another 12 will be honored. The City funds all the costs for the program. City staff and volunteers from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2422, the Coronado Historical Association and the Third and Fourth Streets Neighborhood Association oversee its operation. In 2011 the inspiration for the program came spontaneously with the movement of two Navy SEALs to their final resting place. News spread quickly in Coronado. The local Rotary Club passed out American flags. People lined Fourth Street to honor the fallen service members. As the procession approached the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, a lone Navy SEAL stood at attention, saluting as he waited for the passage of his comrades. At that moment, it was clear that Third and Fourth streets were already an Avenue of Heroes. From that spontaneous beginning, the program was launched in May 2015 with 18 banners. Ceremonies are held twice yearly and men and women with ties to the community have been recognized from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. The Hometown Banner program is a reminder that Coronado has a rich history and legacy of service to country.

Managing Editor
Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is happy to call Coronado home and to have raised her children here. In her free time she enjoys reading, exercising, trying new restaurants, and just walking her dog around the "island." Have news to share? Send tips or story ideas to: [email protected]

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