U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 097-08
DoD Identifies Navy Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of two sailors who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Chief Petty Officer Michael E. Koch, 29,of State College, Pennsylvania, and Chief Petty Officer Nathan H. Hardy, 29, of Durham, New Hampshire, died February 4, 2008, from wounds suffered from small arms fire during combat operations in Iraq.
Both were assigned to East Coast-based SEAL teams.
Friends, family and former classmates are mourning Nathan H. Hardy, 29, a Navy SEAL killed in Iraq Monday by small arms fire during combat.
The special warfare operator Chief Petty Officer was on his fourth deployment in Iraq, according to his father, University of New Hampshire professor Stephen H. Hardy.
“The fact that he was willing to sacrifice himself for his country and his men speaks to his courage and his goodness,” said Ginny Tagliaferro, one of Hardy's math teachers at Oyster River High School, where he graduated in 1997. “His loss is a profound one for all of us.”
Hardy and his wife, Mindi, have a 7-month-old son, Parker.
The Durham man had wanted to join the elite Navy SEALs since high school, where he was a star soccer player.
Hardy enlisted in the U.S. Navy on Nov. 4, 1997, and graduated from boot camp in January 1998, according to Lieutenant David Luckett, a Department of Defense spokesman.
Hardy had been awarded the Bronze Star and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and had campaign medals from Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo and the global war on terror.
He was one of two sailors assigned to East Coast-based SEAL teams in Virginia Beach, Virginia, killed on Monday; the other was Chief Petty Officer Michael E. Koch, 29, of State College, Pennsylvania.
Murphy Kasiewicz, 32, spoke with Hardy's father after hearing the news of his death.
“The first thing Steve does is tell me tell me what happens, then he was trying to make me feel better. Then he told me that Josh has got his little brother back,” Kasiewicz said, referring to Nathan's older brother, who died of cancer in 1993.
“It is definitely rough for them; they have been through a lot losing one son. I can't imagine losing another,” Kasiewicz said.
Hardy is survived by a brother, Ben, of Middlebury, Vermont; his mother, Donna, an administrative assistant at the University of New Hampshire; and father Steve, a professor of kinesiology at the school.
“He had that kind of personality that people gravitate to,” said Mike Marenga, whose children grew up alongside the Hardys. “He loved what he did, that was obvious.”
Officials from the University of New Hampshire said their hearts go out to the entire Hardy family.
“We know it was Nate's dream to become a U.S. Navy SEAL when he graduated from high school, and he pursued that dream and excelled at it,” UNH President Mark Huddleston said in a written statement. “His death has stunned all who knew him, and all who know his parents, who both are so much a part of the UNH community.”
Arrangements have been announced for two locally based Navy SEALs killed by small-arms fire during combat operations in Iraq on Monday.
Both men were assigned to SEAL Team Six at Dam Neck (Officially called the Naval Special Warfare Development Group).
Chief Petty Officer Nathan H. Hardy, 29, of Durham, New Hampshire., who was married and the father of a 7-month-old boy, will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery at 11 a.m. Friday.
A celebration of his life will be held later in New Hampshire, the Navy said Saturday.
Memorial donations may be made to the “Nate Hardy Memorial Fund,” in care of the Navy Federal Credit Union, Building 200, FTC Dam Neck, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23461.
The other SEAL who was killed was Chief Petty Officer Michael E. Koch, 29. His family is in State College, Pennsylvania.
His funeral is to be private, with H.D. Oliver Funeral Apartments, Laskin Road Chapel, handling arrangements.
The Navy said Saturday night that Koch will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday.
President Bush mentioned a fallen New Hampshire soldier in his Memorial Day speech at Arlington National Cemetery.
The president on Monday spoke of Nathan Hardy of Durham, a Navy SEAL who died in Iraq on Feb. 4 at age 29, with his friend, fellow SEAL Michael Koch of State College, Pennsylvania. The two are buried side-by-side at the cemetery.
“Through several missions together, they had developed the unique bond of brotherhood that comes from trusting another with your life,” Bush said. “They even shared a battlefield tradition: They would often head into battle with American flags clutched to their chests underneath their uniform. Nate and Mike performed this ritual for the last time on February 4 — they both laid down their lives in Iraq after being ambushed by terrorists.”
Bush eulogized all U.S. troops who have died in service to the nation, but particularly those who lost their lives this past year.
“I am humbled by those who have made the ultimate sacrifice that allow a free civilization to endure and flourish,” Bush said. “It only remains for us, the heirs of their legacy, to have the courage and the character to follow their lead and to preserve America as the greatest nation on Earth and the last, best hope for mankind.”
Hardy's family had a local memorial service for him earlier this month. Members of Hardy's SEAL team who had recently returned from Iraq were among the mourners.
Hardy enlisted in the Navy after graduating from high school in 1997. He was deployed to the Persian Gulf and Kosovo and was killed in Iraq during his fourth deployment. His brother said Hardy's last moments were spent trying to drag a fellow SEAL to safety.
Hardy was married and had an infant son. His father, Stephen Hardy, is a University of New Hampshire professor and his mother, Donna Hardy, is an administrative assistant in UNH's psychology department.
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard