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George Franklin Hardwick, Sr., 94, of Fayetteville, NC, died peacefully in his home on October 24th, 2023. He was born in Rushville, Indiana on February 18th, 1929 to William Hardwick and Lettie Myers-Hardwick, who he always had very fond memories of. George was preceded in death by his wife Eleanor and son Frank, and is survived by his brother Thomas Hardwick and sister Janice Hardwick-Taylor.
George met the love of his life, Mary Eleanor McElveen in 1948 while stationed at Ft. Gordon, GA. George returned to Oklahoma and mailed a ring to a friend still stationed at Ft. Gordon with the intent of asking her to marry him. To which she said yes. Excited to start their new lives together, the two were married December 25, 1949. George and Eleanor couldn’t wait to start a family of their own, and their children meant the world to them. They had 5 children and adopted 2 children.
Children- Frank, Jeff, William(twin), Barbara(twin), and John
Adopted Children- Dale Dulan and Morgan Hardwick
Though George loved his work, the boy scouts, and fishing, George’s favorite role was that of a grandparent. George treasured his time with his grandkids and loved being their Grandpa, never failing to make time for and support them. One of George’s favorite things to do for his grandchildren was to be Santa every year during Christmas. He had 13 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and has 1 great-great-grandchild on the way.
Grandchildren- Morgan, Robin, Allison, Andrea, Audrey, Frank, Andrew, Will, Kyle, Candace, Shelly, Catherine, and Dale
Great-Grandchildren- Zach, Shelby, Devin, Ashlynn, Azrael, Liam, Cairo, Jacob, Ethan, Gunnar, Constantine, and Eli
George enlisted in the Army in July 1948 and due to his potential for leadership he was commissioned as a 2LT in 1950 in the Signal Corps. He served in the Korean War as a Radio Intelligence Officer from 1950 to 1951 earning 4 campaign stars. George then transitioned into the Special Operations Division (forerunner to the Military Intelligence Branch/CIA) and undertook several classified assignments around the world; Japan, Philippines, Italy, and France. He retired in August 1968 as a Major while stationed at Fort Bragg, NC.
In 1968 after retirement he then went into professional scouting and was responsible for teaching, training, and fundraising for the organization until he decided that it was affecting his family time and became a private investigator until such time he reenlisted in the civil service.
George became a Government Service Civilian in 1979 starting out as an Intelligence Research Specialist becoming one of the most knowledgeable analysts on Cuban operations. He rose through the civilian ranks and became the Director of the Signals Intelligence Readiness Facility, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg. In this role, he implemented the first ever fixed, strategic SIGINT operations in the United States which provided the XVIII Airborne Corps a new method of merging strategic and tactical intelligence interfaces into one coherent package. He became the proponent of the classified Trojan Spirit program which allowed the Military Intelligence Community to have a dedicated communications platform. His intelligence expertise and advisement to the senior leaders of the XVIII Airborne Corps was instrumental in many operations such as Urgent Fury, Just Cause, Desert Storm/Shield and Restore Hope. He retired in 1997.
George was an active member of Gardners United Methodist Church, devoting his time and energy to the church and The Boy Scouts. George will always be remembered for his kindness, generosity, and the way that he always had great stories to tell. We couldn’t have asked for a better Father, Brother, Grandpa and will miss George every day. His memory will live on in the hearts of all those who loved him.
Visitation will be held from 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM with the funeral service to follow from 12:30 - 1:30 PM on Friday, November 3, 2023 at Rogers and Breece Funeral Home, 500 Ramsey Street, Fayetteville, NC 28301, followed by the procession to Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery, 8220 Bragg Blvd, Spring Lake, NC 28390 for the service and burial with military honors.