BG (Retired) Ward LeHardy had a distinguished career in his 32 years in the Army. Following graduation from West Point in 1956 he served as a platoon leader and company executive officer in both the 1st Cavalry Division in South Korea and the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He then served as an Aide to the Commanding General, US Army Japan. He then served as an Infantry Battalion advisor to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam during his first tour in Vietnam. Upon his return to CONUS he was a Battalion S-3 and Company commander in the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington before becoming a Tactical Officer to the Corps of Cadets at the United States Military Academy. He subsequently served as the Army Liaison Officer to the United States Naval Academy. Following that he returned to Vietnam to serve as a Brigade S-3 and Assistant Chief of Staff in the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). He next served as a Staff Officer in the Infantry Branch at the Department of the Army before being assigned as the Assistant Chief of Staff for the US Command in Berlin.
With the reduction of forces as operations in Vietnam were winding down the decision was made to consolidate the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 509th Airborne/Mechanized into a single Battalion Combat Team. BG LeHardy was chosen to take command of the new 3rd Battalion of the 509th in the Federal Republic of Germany and relocate it to Vicenza, Italy. After the move the unit was redesignated as the 1st Battalion (Infantry), 509th (Airborne) Airborne Battalion Combat Team where it was the only forward deployed conventional Airborne battalion in the Army. The Battalion Combat Team included an artillery battery, light and combat engineers and other support elements, making it the largest battalion in the US Army. There the 1st 509th assumed the mission of being the primary American ground contingent for the Allied Command Europe (ACE) Mobile Force. As part of the AMF the BCT had the mission of participating in any missions outside of NATO as directed by SACEUR, or in the event of a war in Europe with Warsaw Pact forces to defend the flanks of NATO in Greece, Turkey or Norway. BG LeHardy's leadership was instrumental in preparing the 1-509th ABCT for all contingencies. During the 1973 Yom Kippur War the BCT was not only on the ready for any missions required, but prepared and shipped their recently received TOW missiles.
Following this assignment BG LeHardy became a Chief of the War Plans Division at the Department of the Army. He then became the Deputy Commander of the 193rd Infantry Brigade in the Panama Canal Zone; the Brigade Commander of the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile); the Chief of Staff of the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile); the Director of the OPMS Study Group in the Pentagon; the Assistant Division Commander of the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized); and served as the Chief of Staff of the 2nd US Army at Fort Gillem, Georgia before retiring.
Since retiring BG LeHardy has served as a Board Member and President of the Northern Neck Chapter of the Military Officers Association for four years; a member and President of the local Public Library board for three years; and Chairman of the Eagle Scout review board for three years. He has served as a Vestry Member at three different churches and is a Senior Warden of his current church. And for five years he served as Chairman of the Fund Raising Committee to build a new church.
BG LeHardy and his wife Judy sailed around the world in 5 years on their 39 sailboat "Cormorant" (1991-1996). In 1997 they co-authored a book, "Once Around" about that adventure. They also went around the world in 72 Days via Space "A" flights in C-17 cargo planes and a free 17-day cruise ship supporting Sanctity of Life issues (Feb-April 2015).
Retired Brigadier General Ward LeHardy's career brings great credit upon the 509th Parachute Infantry, the US Army and the United States of America.
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