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Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Nathan H. Hardy

Died February 4, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

29, of Durham, N.H.; assigned to East Coast-based SEAL team; died Feb. 4, from wounds sustained from small-arms fire during combat operations in Balad, Iraq. Also killed was Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Michael E. Koch.

Navy son of UNH professor dies in Iraq

The Associated Press

NORFOLK, Va. — The Navy son of a University of New Hampshire professor and administrative assistant has been killed in action in Iraq.

Navy SEAL Nathan Hardy and fellow SEAL Michael Koch of State College, Pa., died Feb. 4 after being wounded by small-arms fire, the Defense Department said. Both men were stationed in Norfolk, Va.

It was Hardy’s fourth deployment in Iraq, according to his father, Stephen Hardy, a professor of kinesiology. His mother, Donna Hardy, is an administrative assistant in UNH’s psychology department.

Nathan Hardy grew up in Durham and was a 1997 graduate of Oyster River High School. He joined the Navy after graduation.

Other family members include his wife, Mindy, and their 7-month-old son, Parker; and a brother, Ben, of Middlebury, Vt.

Another brother, Josh, died in 1993 while a senior at Oyster River High School.

“Our hearts go out to Steve and Donna Hardy, and their son, Ben, at this incredibly difficult time,” UNH President Mark Huddleston said in a statement. “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. 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.”

Koch leaves behind his parents and a fiancee. He enlisted in July 1998 and entered SEAL training in January 1999, according to The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk. He received the Bronze Star, Joint Service Commendation Medal and three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

Family, friends remember sailor’s dedication, kindness

The Associated Press

Math teacher Ginny Tagliaferro said Nathan H. Hardy was defined by his kindness.

“As a student, classmate and teammate, Nate was honest, committed and kind to those around him. He was a caring individual who supported his friends, his teachers and his community.”

Hardy, 29, of Durham, N.H., died Feb. 4 from wounds suffered from small-arms fire. He was a 1997 high school graduate and was assigned to Virginia Beach, Va.

It was Hardy’s fourth deployment in Iraq, according to his father, Stephen Hardy, a professor at the University of New Hampshire. His mother, Donna Hardy, is an administrative assistant at UNH.

Martin Brewer, his former English teacher and soccer coach, said: “Nate was a great player who relished physical challenges. Whether defending like a lion in the heart of our defense or being part of my backup plan to attack the opposing goal, he always came through.”

Brewer added: “If he tackled any endeavor, you had better believe it was with every fiber of his being — Nate attacked life with vigor.”

He is survived by his wife, Mindy, and their 7-month-old son, Parker.

Navy SEAL remembered in N.H. hometown

The Associated Press

DURHAM, N.H. — Nearly 1,000 people packed into a University of New Hampshire gym to remember a Navy SEAL who died in Iraq.

Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Nathan Hardy, who grew up in Durham, died February 4 at age 29. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery later that month but his family did not have a local memorial service for him until Saturday.

Members of Hardy’s SEAL team who just returned from Iraq two weeks ago were among the mourners, as was Gov. John Lynch.

“We owe his family a debut we can never repay,” Lynch said.

Friends said Hardy’s short life must be measured not in years but accomplishments. He was married to the love of his life, had a beautiful baby son, loved his job and was the “elite of the elite” in his profession, said Amos Goss, Hardy’s childhood friend.

“Never has a life so short been so complete,” he said.

Others recalled Hardy’s passion for his job, his commitment to serving his country, his immense love for his family and his penchant for practical jokes.

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, Ben, said his Hardy’s last moments were spent trying to drag a fellow SEAL to safety.

“Nate’s death was a good death. It was an honorable death. It was a warrior’s death,” he said.

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