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Donald enlisted in the Army at Fort MacArthur San Pedro, CA on 22 November 1940 and quickly rose to the grade of Sergeant in the next year.  The qualities that enabled him to advance so quickly were further recognized when he was sent to OCS.

He was also a parachutist volunteer and on 16 October 1942, 2nd Lt. Hardwick was transferred from the 507th PIR to Hq Hq, 508th PIR as a cadre team member.

Lt Hardwick was hospitalized for unknown reasons on 18 February 1943 and remained there for 15 days being released on 5 March.  He is recorded as having gone on leave directly from the hospital

Twelve days later Donald and his fiancÚ, Geraldine "Jerry" Suggs, applied for a marriage license at the Clay County Courthouse in Green Cove Springs, FL, approximately 20 miles from Camp Blanding.  Sixty miles further east, they were married that same day at Grace United Methodist Church, 8 Carrera St., St. Augustine, FL. They undoubtedly honeymooned in that same city before Donald returned to duty on 23 March. [Jumpmaster Note: both the courthouse and the church are today on the National Register of Historic Places.]

On 2 September 1943 Lt Hardwick was sent on detached duty to the Engineering School at Camp Forrest, Tullahoma, TN.  He returned to duty on the 18th of September and was then named as the Demolitions Officer.

On 19 November 2/Lt Hardwick exchanged his gold bars for silver when he was appointed a 1st Lt with date of rank of 16 November 1943 and was stated as the Demolition Officer for the 2nd Battalion.

1st Lt Hardwick was wounded i action in Holland on 26 September 1944 and was sent to the 307th Clearing Hospital, Nijmegen and returned to duty 4 days later.

He was discharged on 13 November 1946.  His military decorations include the Purple Heart and the Bronze Service Arrowhead device which was awarded for participation in the Normandy assault.

Following his service he worked for Proctor and Gamble and in 1946 he and his wife were listed in the city directly of Amarillo, TX.

Donald and Geraldine divorced and Donald remarried.  His second wife, Nancy is buried with him in Section 26, Site 299 of the Santa Fe National Cemetery, Santa Fe (Santa Fe county), New Mexico.

His first wife, Geraldine, died in 2007 and she in buried near her family home in Jacksonville, FL.