Pierce L. Hardy
Biography: Pierce Lamar Hardy was born on April 2, 1922, in Appling, Georgia. He was the son of Cleuse Martin Hardy and Pearl Celesta and attended local schools through the grammar levels. He then worked at a sawmill. His enlistment record and separation records indicate the he had some experience in the manufacture of textiles.
On October 11, 1942, Pierce married the former Mildred Estelle Buffington who was born in McCormick, South Carolina and was the daughter of Horace Eugene Buffington Sr. and Estelle Banks. The couple would make their home in Thomson, GA.
Service Time: Pierce entered the service on January 9, 1943, at Fort McPherson, GA. He was sent to basic training and ultimately assigned to Company A of the 630th Tank Destroyer Battalion and trained with them in the U.S. It was during his training that he qualified as an Expert with the light machine gun and a Sharpshooter with both the carbine and the M1 Garand Rifle.
The 630th shipped out on June 3, 1944, from the New York port, aboard the ship New Amsterdam. They arrived in England on June 12th and after a month of additional training and final preparations, they boarded LST transports and landed at Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, on July 24th.
The 630th was equipped with 3″ towed anti-tank guns and entered the line near Colombieres. They advanced across France with the 28th Infantry Division to Luxembourg and supported operations against the Siegfried Line in September & October. Operating in the Hürtgen Forest in November, they shifted to the Ardennes sector with the 28th ID in late November and were still located there at the start of German offensive in December.
The unit shifted south to the Colmar area in January, 1945, where the 28th Infantry Division operated under French control. They returned north in mid-February only to redeploy south to the Saar region of Germany in mid-March, after which the battalion converted to the M36 self-propelled tank destroyer. They 630th participated in the elimination of the Ruhr Pocket in April and finally took up occupation duties at Zweibrücken on April 28th.
Pierce received credit for five campaigns, including Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe. He shipped home on November 1st and arrived on the 13th being discharged on the 21st, from Camp Gordon, GA. He left the service at the rank of Sergeant and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, American Theater Service Medal, EAME Medal and WWII Victory Medal.
Pierce returned home to Mildred and found work in the home construction industry, later becoming a construction supervisor. The couple had a son, Horace, born in 1944 while Pierce was overseas and then in 1953, they had a daughter named Cheryl. In his spare time, Pierce enjoyed fishing and hunting and was an avid fan of the Atlanta Braves and Falcons. He was also a member of the VFW.
Pierce passed away on April 12, 2002, and was buried in the Savannah Valley Memorial Gardens in Thomson, GA. I want to thank Pierce’s daughter-in-law, Diane, for providing the information and materials used in this tribute. Thank you also to Find A Grave contributor Jerry Moore for the use of the grave marker photo.