Jenna Samaniego: This is Jenna Samaniego, Ashley McCurdy, and Dolores
Samaniego interviewing David Hardy for the Veterans History Project.
Dolores: Ok.. .hmm.. .Were you drafted or did you.. .did you enlist?
D. Hardy: I enlisted.
Dolores: Ok... h mm...H ow old were you when you enlisted?
D. Hardy: eighteen.
Dolores: Why did you enlist?
D. Hardy: Because I wanted to serve my country.. .and plus, at the time, the draft was
going on too as well.
Dolores: Did any other people you knew enlist as well?
D. Hardy: No.
Dolores: How did your family feel about you enlisting?
D. Hardy: They didn't have a problem with it. They thought it was a good idea.
Dolores: Did you have any plans besides joining the military such as college or going
into the workforce?
D. Hardy: I was working and looking to going to college, but it never really appealed to
me at that time.
Dolores: Hmm.. . Why did you pick the service branch you joined?
D. Hardy: Cause I wanted to.. . ahh.. .travel more.
Dolores: Did you choose to become a loadmaster, or was it pre-determined for you?
D. Hardy: I chose. I chose [?I
Dolores: Do you recall your first days of service?
D. Hardy: Yeah.. .it was pretty good.
Dolores: Ahh.. .What did it feel like?
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D. Hardy: Well, going to basic training. Ahh.. .first going to San Francisco, checking in
there, processing, and then going to.. . ahh.. .L.A., and then over here to San Antonio. It
was nerve racking-a little bit-but, once you got down here it was pretty good.
Dolores: Ahh.. . What wars did you participate in?
D. Hardy: I was in the Gulf War and an Asian conflict.
Dolores: What sort of specific training did you have to go through to become a
D. Hardy: I had to go through about five months technical school, technical training.
And then.. . . a h . . .in constant I get evaluations, whenever you're applying, all the time.
Dolores: Were you required to have weapons.. .(answered before question finished).
D. Hardy: Yes.
Dolores: (continued previous question). . .training?
D. Hardy: Yes.
Dolores: And if so, were you required to use this training in combat?
D. Hardy: Yes.
Dolores: During your service, did you have to go through "integration training"?
D. Hardy: Interrogation?
D. Hardy: Yeah.. . .Yes.
Dolores: And.. . ahh.. .how long did it take for you to learn how to properly load a plane?
D. Hardy: Oh.. .just a couple of months. Two.. .two technical training schools, but then
once you got qualified you still were constantly being looked at and constantly had
Dolores: Ahh.. .What types of duties does a loadmaster perform?
D. Hardy: What he does.. .he a h . . .takes care of.. . a h . . .loading aircraft. Making sure
it's properly balanced. Ahh.. .taking care of any passengers we have on board, patients,
cargo.. . ahh.. .whatever.. .whatever were need to do as far as getting the airplane in the
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Dolores: Hmm...B eing a loadmaster, did you work under the supervision of someone
else or whom did you have to report to?
D. Hardy: At times I did, but the only one I really report to on the aircraft was the
Dolores: And.. .What kind of equipment does a loadmaster need to perform his duties?
D. Hardy: Ahh.. .just varies on the job. Depends on the job.. . Sometimes.. . ahh.. .we
use.. . ahh.. .what's called fore clips, sometimes we use K-loaders, or sometimes we just
bare load the.. .or hand load the.. .the items on board. Or just load the patients, whatever
is necessary to.. .you know get the job. And sometimes we used buses.. .whatever is
necessary to take care of the mission.
Dolores: Ok.. .and ahh.. .what specifically had to be done to planes to make sure they
were loaded properly?
D. Hardy: Just to make sure that the.. . ahh.. .all the equipment is there.. . Ahh.. .make
sure that the cargo that you're going to carry is going to fit on the aircraft-safely-and
not tear anything up. And making sure that any time you're loading anything, it was
properly secured and tight on properly.
Dolores: Ok.. . hrnm.. .what would happen to a plane that was not loaded properly?
D. Hardy: To a point, then you would have a hard time getting off the ground, safely.
Take more.. .ah...m ore runway to get off the ground. And once it did get in the air, then
controllability could be in question because of the weight and balance of the aircraft. You
wouldn't have a.. .good center of gravity-if you will.. .to allow the aircraft to fly safely.
Dolores: And.. . did you ever experience this?
D. Hardy: No.. . never.
D. Hardy: Never did.
Dolores: How long did it take to load a single plane?
D. Hardy: It varied. Sometimes we.. . ahh.. .like when I was in the Iraq, we
were.. .loading and off-loading in about four to five minutes.. .There wa-interrupted
with next question).
Dolores: How many people did it take.. .
D. Hardy: Huh?
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Dolores: How many people did it take to.. .to load the plane?
D. Hardy: Sometimes myself and two or three other guys, or sometimes five or ten. Just
depending on what we were loading on the aircraft.
Dolores: Ah ok.. .and what was the most difficult part of you job?
D. Hardy: Just ahh.. .making surewell, especially on short ground times-making sure
everything was taken care of properly. It got loaded properly and got the aircraft in the
Dolores: And.. .what was the easiest and most rewarding part?
D. Hardy: Just making sure ahh.. . samethat the stuff was.. .or the items were delivered
properly, the patients were taken care of or delivered.. .to their destination. Passengers as
Jenna: When . . . when you were finished loading a plane did you ride on it or stay where
D. Hardy: I had to stay with the aircraft because as an enlisted crew member or
loadmaster you have to, you are required to fly the aircraft, because I have other duties
besides just being a loadmaster on the aircraft.
Jenna: What types of aircrafts did you fly on?
D. Hardy: 130's.. . C-130s and C-141s, private transports.
Jenna: C-130s were aircrafts of tremendous size, what was your reaction or opinion
when you saw one for the first time?
D. Hardy: I couldn't get wait to.. . I couldn't wait to get flying on it, being part of the
Jenna: Being so tremendous in size were the C-130s difficult to fly or operate?
D. Hardy: No, not at all.
Jenna: What kind of cargo would you transport?
D. Hardy: It varied.. . uh at the times like when um.. . Mount Pena tuba blew off we were
carrying passengers, we were carrying their animals, we were carrying their pets. At
times we camed armor personal camers, uh.. .prisoners, uh.. . wherever we went to we
would carry pretty much anything.
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Jenna: What types of locations would you drop off troops or cargo?
D. Hardy: Just wherever was directed uh.. . We, I dropped of troops all over the world,
parts like Korea, everywhere.
Jenna: Would it be at like military camps?
D. Hardy: All different military instillations and also civilian instillations.
Jenna: Did you ever see combat?
D. Hardy: Yes
Jenna: And what was that like?
D. Hardy: It was pretty enjoyable it . . . it wasn't bad at all. It was over in Iraq, we flew a
lot of night missions up in Iraq.. . it, it wasn't bad, it wasn't bad at all.
Jenna: Okay, C-130s dropped B1U-82 bombs on Iraq fortifications and airdropped food
and water to Iraq prisoners of war, did you ever participate in these missions and how?
D. Hardy: I didn't drop the, the bombs, but I did do a lot of POW drops (Prisoner of War
drops) if you will, we were dropping water and supplies to and into prisoner war camps.
Jenna: What specific missions did you participate in?
D. Hardy: (pause). . . Just.. . we participated in pretty essential support missions, uh
special airliR missions, uh operation Deep Freeze where we went down to the South Pole,
I just been in various numerous missions all over the world.
Jenna: What happened in this missions and what was your duty?
D. Hardy: Oh it just depends on like in Deep Freeze we went down to the South Pole
supplied Antarctic research down there and my mission again as a loadmaster is to make
sure that everything is taken care of on the aircraft, make sure that everything that was
loaded on the aircraft properly and downloaded properly. And all those other missions,
just depending on what the job was and where we went to they varied from day to day.
Jenna: One of the C-130s main missions is refueling, did you ever participate in these
refueling operations and if you did how was this experience different from loading?
D. Hardy: No I never did I never experienced any of those, no.
Jenna: Did you ever transport prisoners of war and what kind of work was involved with
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D. Hardy: Yes I did transport a lot of prisoners of war over in Iraq, the only thing you
have to do on that is just make sure that you have the seats for them, plus at the time you
just use those side-facing seats, you load them in the airplane and if once their strapped in
we take off to our next destination.
Jenna: Um.. . How many star missions and/ or camel missions would you say you were a
D. Hardy: As far as what do you mean by star?
Jenna: Like transport and camel cargo.
D. Hardy: Oh transport missions.. .uh oh God that would probably be probably in the
D. Hardy: Oh yeah it is cause I've been flying airplanes for the last 17 about 14 years.
Jenna: Describe your everyday routine?
D. Hardy: Well you wake up, you get loaded, you go to your aircraft, um you get a
briefing with the aircraft commander, and then you pick up your forms, find out about
your cargo and just load up the cargo and take off to the next destination.
Jenna: Do you think the C-130s played a vital role in the success of Operation Desert
Storm why or why not?
D. Hardy: Yes I do, because we were able to fly into the places that the other larger
aircrafts could not fly into, we flew a lot of night missions, and we were able to get into
very little small landing strips. And go into combat uploads, downloads a lot quicker than
the large aircrafts could be able to do.
Jenna: Did you ever encounter any severe weather while you were working, and if so
how did it affect your job?
D. Hardy: Yes we did uh.. . we incurred quite a bit, but in that type of situation the best
thing to do is just to sit down and make sure your strapped in properly.
Jenna: What was the atmosphere when preparing for battle, when the troops were
preparing for battle?
D. Hardy: Just through uh most of the time uh when I looked at em when I saw em
when I talked to them they just were just relaxed and knew that they had a job to do.
Jenna: How about after the battle?
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D. Hardy: They came back; when we picked them back up they seemed to be fine they
didn't seem to have any bad feelings about anything that I saw.
Jenna: During a battle did you ride in a plane or stay behind?
D. Hardy: I was with the aircraft.
Jenna: During a battle what were your thoughts and feelings, what did you do?
D. Hardy: I didn't really give it a thought. I didn't really, I didn't think about it that
much about it because I knew that if something was gonna happen I had no control over
Jenna: What were your thoughts and feelings before and after battles and what did you
D. Hardy: I just again accepted it as part of the job and uh reflected on it a little bit, but I
didn't think that much about it. I just knew that we were there to do a job and I guess
Jenna: What was done to try to keep the troop moral high?
D. Hardy: Provide them uh.. .Provide good uh shelter uh-good places to eat uh
relaxation such as movies uh you know relaxation time, among many things.
Jenna: What kinds of techno.. . technological advances if any occurred during your
D. Hardy: I would think the advancement in uh.. . military aspects of uh how to prepare
for battle war if you will uh the new computerized systems that we had out in the
airplanes now make it a lot easier and a lot safer to fly.
Jenna: How did you like MREs the (meals ready to eat)?
D. Hardy: I didn't care for them that much, but I ate them I had to.
Jenna: What would they consist of,
D. Hardy: Well you had mostly uh it came in a little black bag about that long and it had
uh like crackers, uh canned meats, canned fruit, vegetables. I mean they're not that bad if
you kind of mix them all together and eat them up. I wouldn't want a steady diet of them,
but no there not that bad. In emergency situation they're not bad.
Laughing in background
Jenna: Were you married or had a relationship at the time of your service?
MS 315. Veterans History Project Hardy - 7
D. Hardy: Yes I was married.
Jenna: How would you keep in touch and how accessible was it?
D. Hardy: My phone if possible then by mail.
Jenna: Was it easy to contact.. . ?
D. Hardy: Like when I was in Iraq or when I was over in the desert when I'd write a
letter back it would take about because she was in Pan it would take around a month in a
half to get to her. And for her to send me one back.
Ashley : Have you ever heard about or have suffered the "Persian Gulf Syndrome"?
If have suffered, what kind of symptoms did you encounter and how intense were they?
D. Hardy: I've heard about it but I have not suffered it. I didn't really talk to anybody
who had it. I didn't investigate it, no.
Ashley: What kind of conflicts, if any, was apparent between the Air Power, Sea
Power, and Ground Power?
D. Hardy: Well pretty much when we were over there, well we pretty much worked
together. They had a mission to do, we had a mission to do, we were pretty much able to
Ashley: Were you awarded any medals or citations?
D. Hardy: Yes I was.
Ashley: How did you get them?
D. Hardy: By flying and in job performance.
Ashley: What sort of medals were they?
D. Hardy: I got Tom Base medals, I got MSN Aviatory medals, distinguished, uh
Ashley: How did you stay in touch with your family?
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D. Hardy: Like I said by phone or by mail.
Ashley: Was there something special you did for "good luck"?
D. Hardy: No.
Ashley: How did people entertain themselves?
D. Hardy: Just pretty much they would find ways to amuse themselves like movies,
or sitting around a tent and relaxing and talking, uh exercising.
Ashley: What did you do when on leave?
D. Hardy: Just sat back and relaxed and just kinda enjoyed life.
Ashley: Where did you travel while in the service?
D. Hardy: We spent a lot of time in the Philippians, Japan, Korea,
(indistinguishable). . .Europe, spend a lot of time in Europe, little bit in Africa, mostly in
Ashley: Do you recall any particularly humorous or unusual event?
D. Hardy: Not really to think of off hand, no.
Ashley: Did you keep a personal diary?
D. Hardy: No I didn't.
Ashley: Many people opposed the President's decision to go to war, both in
Vietnam and Desert Storm- Did you support or oppose these decisions and why?
D. Hardy: I didn't, I uh, I thought at the time I felt it was the thing to do we needed
to take care of the Kuwaiti situation, and I didn't have a problem going over there, no I
Ashley: Did you ever feel like the wars were unnecessary and the problems could
have been solved in different ways?
MS 315. Veterans History Project Hardy - 9
D. Hardy: That's really hard to say I don't know much about how they do it in
Washington but I didn't have a problem with what we were doing I thought it was the
right thing to do, I thought we were trying to help other nations as well as ourselves.
Ashley: Was there ever a time where you felt as though you wanted to give up
and go home- if so, when?
D. Hardy: No, I never did.
Ashley: For many people, the hardest part was being away from their families-what
was the hardest part for you?
D. Hardy: Being away from my family.
Ashley: Do you recall the day your service ended?
D. Hardy: Yes I do.
Ashley: What was that like?
D. Hardy: It was uh, we were over in Japan it was a nice quite day, I spent it with my
wife and just uh, cause that was the day I retired, and it was very nice. A very nice
Ashley: What did you do in the days and weeks afterward?
D. Hardy: Well, I just took a little bit of vacation time and I went to work after that,
after a couple of weeks.
Ashley: Okay, so you did go to work but you didn't go to school or anything?
D. Hardy: No I didn't, not till I got back to the United States.
Ashley: If you had the opportunity to change anything about your "serving"
experience, what would it be?
D. Hardy: I wish I could have flown more.
MS 315. Veterans History Project Hardy - 10
Ashley: When you returned home, did you ever find that the stories reported to the
civilians through media did not truly reflect what you saw occur? If so, what is an
example of this?
D. Hardy: At the times I did because a lot of the missions that we flew the reporters
were not allowed, we were not allowed to take anybody with us and we got into areas
where that they thought something was going on and in reality it was an entirely different
situation. But you know we could have, uh, in the areas we went into we weren't allowed
to have anybody with us so they really didn't get a true picture of what we were doing in
that certain area.
Ashley: What was your families' reaction on your last day of service or when you
D.Hardy: Very, very happy.
Ashley: What are your best and worst memories of your service?
D. Hardy: Best memories are, uh, trying to do the very best job I could serving, or uh
helping people out, and I think the worst is just being away from my family when I had to
Ashley: How did your service and experiences affect your life?
D. Hardy: Oh, they made me a better person.
Ashley: If you could, would you do it all again?
D. Hardy: Oh certainly. You bet.
Ashley: Is there anything you would like to add that we have not covered in this
D. Hardy: Not really, just that I enjoyed the time that I was in the service, and
hopehlly that the way things are going now, hopehlly we can get everybody
MS 315. Veterans History Project Hardy - 11
back from where they are now, and hopefully maybe we can start slowing that situation
down over there in Iraq, so we don't have, so we don't loose so many men and woman
over there. I don't that's, right now I don't think now that the situation warrants us being
Ashley: Alright, thank you very much.
D. Hardy: You're more than welcome.
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