Walter E. Tardy
The following information is gathered mostly from Col. Tardy’s page on the unofficial Arlington National Cemetery website, available here. Some additional information is included.
Walter Earle Tardy was born in Bryan, Texas. After completing high school, he continued his education at Texas A&M University, graduating in 1936. During his time at the University, he was a member of Battery B, of their Field Artillery unit and also worked on the school’s Longhorn yearbook and as a columnist for the Press Club.
At the completion of his schooling, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Reserves and went to work in the states of Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana looking for oil deposits.
In 1940, Tardy was called to active duty and worked his way up the ranks until he was assigned to the 601st Tank Destroyer battalion, assuming command on April 26, 1943. At the time, he held the rank of Lt. Colonel and led the unit into action in North Africa, Italy and Europe. Lt Col. Tardy called the Kasserine Pass in Tunisia, “One of the unit’s worst times and one of only two times that it was on the defensive. 75 German tanks knocked out half of the unit’s tanks, and the others were so disabled that battalion members had to hike back over the pass and wait several days for repairs.”
The battalion had a record 546 days in actual combat and destroyed 155 enemy tanks and armored vehicles. Tardy Commanded the unit until March of 1945. In total, the unit received credit for nine campaigns. Tardy received numerous awards, including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Purple Heart.
After the war, Tardy remained in active service, fulfilling staff positions in France, the United States, Hawaii and on attaché duty in Baghdad. He was on duty in Baghdad in 1958 when a military coup claimed the lives of the king, several members of the royal family and many senior Iraqi government ministers.
He lived in Annandale, Virginia for more than 30 years with his wife Mary Elizabeth Smith. The couple would have two sons, Marine Corps Captain Thomas K. Tardy who passed away in 1978, and Rhodes E. Tardy, who passed away in 1995. Walter and his wife were married for 63 years, until her death in 2002.
Tardy retired from the Army in 1967, at the rank of Colonel. Now a civilian, he worked in real estate and as a tax consultant in Northern Virginia. He was a member of the Society of the 3rd Infantry Division and served as an elder at Old Presbyterian Meeting House in Alexandria, Virginia.
Col. Walter E. Tardy passed away on January 7, 2006, at the Westminster at Lake Ridge retirement center. He was buried in the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia on February 24, 2006, with full military honors. At the time of his death, he was 91 years old.
I want to thank E-Yearbook.com for the photo of Walter while at Texas A & M. Thank you also to the Tardy family for the additional photos of Walter and to Find A Grave contributor, Anne W., for providing the grave marker photo.