Asset Publisher Asset Publisher

Serving With Honor: Aiming High

Serving With Honor: Aiming High


Morristown, N.J. (December 4, 2019) – American flags waved from every street corner, marching bands played patriotic tunes while confetti streamed over large crowds and Dr. Marion Hardy, '60, stood in the middle of it all.

It was June of 1944. The Allied Forces had just invaded Normandy, securing a victory that would ultimately lead to the end of World War II, and Hardy's mother took her to New York to celebrate. In that moment, even though she was only a child, Hardy's admiration for the military was born.

"If I could, I would reenlist today," says Hardy, who spent several decades serving in the United States Air Force and retired as a full colonel. During her military career, Hardy filled positions that had never before been held by a woman. She was one of the first to fly in an F16 fighter aircraft as a Flight Surgeon, the first to hold the position of Commander, Chief of Hospital Services and one of the first to be appointed State Air Surgeon of New Hampshire.

"I never tried to hide my identity. I'm a woman and I expected respect," says Hardy. "I never made excuses, I volunteered for unpleasant jobs and knew I could compete with the best of them. I was proud of who I was and made it very clear who was in charge."

Hardy's efforts earned her an excess of 16 medals throughout her military career, including the Legion of Merit Medal which is the third highest medal awarded during peace time.

As a civilian, Hardy also dedicated her life to the medical field. Her passion for this career was fueled by several tragic examples of the failures of medicine.

"My 13-year-old brother died from a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage due to a fall, my grandmother died in childbirth and another family member died from blood poisoning," recalls Hardy. "These sights deeply affected me and I always thought, 'Maybe I could do better.'"

After studying biology at the Saint Elizabeth University, Hardy went on to earn a master's in human anatomy and a doctorate in osteopathy. For many years, she worked as an osteopathic physician and specialized in internal medicine, emergency medicine, drug addiction and travel medicine.

Hardy's ingenuity and ability to think quickly has saved countless lives in both her military and medical career. Her actions have certainly proved that she could do better.