Tipton County Veteran of the Month

James Daniel Hardin enlisted in the U.S. Navy on October 10, 1982. His plan to join the Army was thwarted by the Army recruiter being out to lunch; however, the Navy recruiter was there and before the hour had passed he was a sailor. Bootcamp was at San Diego followed by A-School at Millington. He was stationed in New Orleans with VA-204, working on weapons & radar systems in A-7 corsairs. Next came Dallas Naval Air Station with VA-201’s F-14 Tom Cats where he also supported a Marine Corps Squadron of F-4 Phantoms. Finally he was sent back to Millington to help support a P-3 Orion squadron. Subsequent tours included work in law enforcement and physical security, detainee operations, convoy operations, and as an instructor in Force Protection. After twelve years active duty, Jim got out for a year before coming back in as a reservist in December of 1995. As an active duty reservist, he was privileged to serve onboard the USS Lexington (CV-16) (the same ship on which his grandfather served in World War II), the USS Forrestal (CV-59), and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN– 69) as well as in various other locations with his squadrons. After September 11, 2001, he was recalled to active duty three times. In October 2001 he was sent to Texas to train reservists. February 2003 found him in La Maddalena, Italy, working security, force protection, and harbor security. He then deployed to Iraq in 2008 as part of a joint taskforce operation with the U.S. Army Military Police. He was stationed at FOB Camp Bucca, near Basra with an Army Airborne Division During his 25 years of service he earned more than twenty medals and badges, including two Navy Commendations, one Army Commendation, two Navy Achievement Medals, one Army Achievement Medal, Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, and Iraqi Liberation Medal. He retired from the United Sates Navy in 2009 and continues to serve his country and fellow Veterans through his work at the Department of Veterans Affairs. He and his wife Debbie have been married 38 years. They have 3 children, 8 grandchildren, and a 9th grandchild due in August 2017. He and Debbie are members of First Baptist Church in Covington where he is an ordained Deacon and has taught Sunday school. He is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and is a former member of the American Legion. He was nominated for Veteran of the Month by Andy Dunavant.