Numerous civil defense personnel in North Carolina came from military backgrounds, the vast majority having served overseas during World War II, in both the European and Pacific theaters. Two men in particular who were county civil defense directors received the highest award for bravery from the United States Army and the United States Navy.
Colonel David Lydall Hardee (1890 – 1969) served as the first paid, full-time Raleigh-Wake County Civil Defense director from March 1954 until February 1960. Hardee, almost from scratch, organized the civil defense effort in the county and capital until he turned the organized over to Colonel John C. Thorne. Hardee died on 23 November 1969.
A native of Granville County, Hardee attended Trinity College (now Duke University) and graduated in 1913. Entering World War I as a private in 1918, he served in the First and Fifth Infantry Divisions and ended the war at the rank of 1st Lieutenant. Hardee would continue to serve in the U.S. Army through World War II, retiring at the rank of Colonel in 1949. He was present at the Battle of Bataan as a Lieutenant Colonel, desperately holding together his men against overwhelming Japanese forces. For his actions on 7 – 8 April 1942, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (citation below). Unfortunately, Hardee had to wait until 1945 to receive his medal. The U.S. and Filipino forces surrendered to the Japanese on 9 April. Lt. Col. Hardee and 75,000 other American and Filipino soldiers were then marched to Prisoner of War camps in what was known as the Bataan Death March. Hardee survived the march and three years in captivity at the Davao Penal Colony before the Philippines were liberated in 1945.
HARDEE, DAVID LYDALL (POW)
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to David L. Hardee, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy in action against enemy forces on 7 and 8 April 1942. Lieutenant Colonel Hardee's outstanding leadership, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
Headquarters, U.S. Army Forces in the Far East, General Orders No. 69 (1945)
Home Town: Raleigh, North Carolina
Rear Admiral (RADM) Hamilton Wilcox Howe (1904 - ? ) was a 1936 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. During World War II, he served as commander of the destroyers USS Roper, September 1941 to August 1942, and the USS Earle, as her first commander beginning in September 1942 (when this command ended I do not know). At the end of World War II, Howe was in command of the U.S. Naval Training Center in Miami, Florida.
Howe received the Navy Cross (citation below) for his actions on the night of 13 – 14 April 1942 in command of the Roper, when his destroyer sank the German U-boat U-85, the first German u-boat sunk off the East Coast of the United States in World War II, and the first u-boat sunk after the start of Operation Drumbeat (Paukenschlag) in January 1942. The U-85 rests in approximately 100-110 feet of water, around 14 miles east of Oregon Inlet. I have fished for black sea bass off the submarine, which is a German War Grave.
In the summer of 1946, Howe commanded the attack transport USS Appling at Bikini Atoll during Operation Crossroads from 2 June until 15 August. The ship was assigned to support the preparation, placement, and salvage of the target fleet bombed in shots Able and Baker.
Following his retirement from the U.S. Navy in 1956 with the rank of Rear Admiral (RADM), Howe became the director of the Forsyth County – Winston-Salem Civil Defense office. Howe held this position from 1956 until 1969. In addition to his duties as civil defense director, Howe also was the past president and a charter member of the State Association of Civil Defense Directors (North Carolina Civil Defense Association) and served on the U.S. Civil Defense Council.
His son, Jonathan Trumbull Howe, retired from the U.S. Navy in 1992 with the rank of Admiral (ADM) and is currently the Executive Director of The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.
HOWE, HAMILTON WILCOX
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Hamilton Wilcox Howe, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Commanding Officer of the Destroyer U.S.S. ROPER (DD-147, when his ship made a successful attack upon the German submarine U-85 in the waters of the Atlantic on the night of 13 - 14 April 1942. Lieutenant Commander Howe with an offensive singleness of purpose tracked, attacked and completely destroyed the German U-85 off the Coast of Virginia, without injury to his vessel or its personnel. Lieutenant Commander Howe's inspiring leadership and the valiant devotion to duty of his command contributed in large measure to the outstanding success of this successful mission and reflect great credit upon the United States Naval Service.
Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin No. 304 (July 1942)
Born: January 16, 1904 at Albert Lea, Minnesota
Home Town: Norfolk, Virginia