THOMAS K. TARDY, CAPT, USMC
Thomas Tardy '68
Date of birth: January 17, 1946
Date of death: March 3, 1978
From the 1968 Lucky Bag:
From Together We Served:
… were to fly this helicopter from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa to Iwakuni, Japan and on to Pohang, South Korea. Along the way they stopped at another airfield close to Futenma named "Hamby Field" in order to pick up some more helicopters which would join them in their flight. This is where the crash occurred at Hamby field on Friday, March 3, 1978 at approximately 11:35 A.M.
… the CH-46 helicopter (#YT-07) took off and was leading the other helicopters when it suddenly just fell out of the sky at an altitude of about 300 feet. Both engines failed and the helicopter crashed on its rear without an explosion. Both of the pilots along with two enlisted crew members aboard were killed. Since the helicopter fell approximately 32 feet per second, aviation experts believe that both pilots had "blacked out" prior to impact. The helicopter was found 900 meters north of runway #20 at Hamby Field and 100 meters off the beach. The crash site location was 150 kilometers north of Camp Zukeran, Okinawa Prefecture. The crash occurred within approximately 3 feet of ocean water. Immediately following the accident, aviation experts believed that the engine malfunctioned due to fuel contamination. The whole wreck was sent back to the U.S. east coast (probably North Carolina) to be studied.
He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
From the May 1978 issue of Shipmate:
Capt. Thomas Kinnard Tardy USMC died on 3 March 1978 in the Naval Regional Medical Center on Okinawa as the result of injuries suffered when the helicopter he was flying developed engine trouble and crashed into the East China Sea. The co-pilot and two crewmen of the aircraft were killed as well. Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on 13 March at the Ft. Myer Chapel and interment w as in Arlington National Cemetery.
A graduate of the U.S. Military Preparatory School at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, he was graduated with the Class of 1968 and proceeded to flight training shortly after completing basic training at Quantico. He had service with the First Marine Air Wing in Okinawa, at the Marine Corps Auxiliary Station in Hawaii, and with the Fourth Marine Air Wing in New Orleans. In addition, he erned his master's degree in systems management at the University of Southern California. He was designated naval aviator in 1970 and held Marine flight assignments throughout his career. He is survived by his widow, Kathleen, a son and a daughter; his parents, Col. (USA Ret.) and Mrs. Walter E. Tardy; and a brother.
Tom's father's obituary was published in The Washington Post on January 21, 2006; it recounts his dad's exploits in WWII as a commander of the 601st Tank Destroyer Battalion, a unit of the 3rd Infantry Division, in North Africa, Sicily and France.
Kenneth Ilgenfritz '68 was also in 4th Company.