Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Patrick C. Hardee, Capt. USAFDecember 25, 1941 – January 03, 1987
Captain Patrick C. Hardee, United States Air Force Academy Class of 1964, died of cancer in Aurora, CO. on January 3, 1987.
Pat Hardee lost a long and difficult battle with cancer. Over a five-year period, Pat endured repeated radiation and chemotherapy treatments, almost constant pain, and the fear felt by all of us of leaving our families before our time. At the same time he maintained total involvement with his family, a full-time engineering position with the Martin Marietta Corporation, and a leadership role in his church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Pat was born Christmas December 25, 1941 in Long Beach, CA, spent his early years at Fort Benning, GA. and the Panama Canal Zone, and attended high school in Denver, CO. He studied at Brigham Young University for one year before entering the Academy and joined the Class of 1964 prepared to change the world. Like a lot of the Blue Tags of that era, Pat was hard working and hard headed, sensible and cynical, and unafraid to challenge authority or the unknown. Unlike those of us who wanted only to learn the required amount and get on with flying, Pat was a superior student who did original research at the Academy, with the sincere belief that he could understand and explain things that were yet unsolved. As an athlete, he was a national caliber gymnast in both trampoline and high bar despite a decidedly un-gymnastic 6’4” frame, and was ranked 14th in the nation in 1963. Even his doolie stunts were bigger than life including blind leaps to Vandenberg Hall roofs to rappel into upper-class rooms, leaving Bill Garrett dangling on a rope from the sixth floor wall of Fairchild Hall while getting help to pull him up.
After graduation in 1964, Pat married Judy Dawn Allen of Springville, UT. and drove south to get his wings at Randolph AFB, TX. From there he chose helicopters and received the Commander’s Trophy for finishing first in his class at Stead AFB, NV. After a tour at Warren AFB, WY., he went to Vietnam in helicopter gunships, where he received numerous decorations including two Distinguished Flying Crosses in almost constant combat operations. My strongest recollection of Pat in the war was both more, and less, heroic: an evening in Nha Trang taking a group of Vietnamese street children to a church party to give them some fun and a look at a different side of Americans.
He completed a final tour at Grand Forks AFB, ND. in 1969, and left the Air Force to attend graduate school at Denver University. There Pat received master’s degrees in mechanical engineering and electrical engineering in 1971 and 1972, and a doctorate in electrical engineering in 1975. Intent upon making it on his own, Pat spent several years with partners doing original research and development in microwave radiometry, voice stress analysis, and received two U.S. patents under the name of Hardee Engineering. In 1981 he joined Martin Marietta Corporation in Denver as an electrical engineer developing products in microwave spectroscopy, photovoltaic power, and microwave communications.
After being diagnosed with cancer in 1982, Pat continued working full time and doing everything possible to provide future security for Judy and his children.
Pat was survived by Judy; his children Amber, Mary, Eileen, Cheryl, Jennifer, David, Camille, and Gail; his parents Mary and Clell, his sister Cathy, and his brother Jim. His family has lost one of their own; one who can never be replaced. His friends have lost a restless, creative individual, who dreamed great dreams, accepted no limits, and fought longer than anyone thought possible. We shall miss him.
(By Frank Wilson, ’64, Gone But Not Forgotten, Checkpoints, Winter 1986)