Lester was the youngest of five children (siblings: Margaret, Donald, George & Robert) born to Louis Bernard & Jennie Nancy (Harris) Hardy. He also had two older half-brothers, Alexander Louis & William Henry from his father's first marriage to Bertha M Rank.
Per Navy ships muster reports, Lester enlisted in the Navy on 14 January 1942 in Detroit. He reported aboard the Gleaves-class destroyer, USS Meredith (DD-434) on 17 February 1942, a day before she sailed from Boston for Norfolk, Virginia... screening the battleship USS Washington (BB-56); there joining the aircraft carrier USS Hornet in Task Force 18.
"USS Meredith was attacked, off the island of Guadalcanal, by a force of 38 bombers, torpedo planes, and escort fighters from the Japanese aircraft carrier Zuikaku.
"In the first three minutes of the attack, Meredith was struck by a bomb that exploded beneath her bridge, destroying all communications, steering control, and gun direction. A second bomb struck the forward port side, and a torpedo exploded below the ready ammunition locker, igniting the ship's pyrotechnics and setting fire to fuel oil leaking from her bunkers.
"The ship & it's crew fought fiercely; bringing down three of her attackers, but she was struck by an estimated 14 bombs and seven torpedoes. USS Meredith rolled over and sank in 10 minutes at 11°53′S 163°20′E Coordinates: 11°53′S 163°20′E. Of the crew of 273 on board that day, only eight officers and 73 enlisted men survived the attack."
SOURCE: US Navy records.
NOTE: This is a CENOTAPH, rather than his actual burial site. His body was never recovered; but his memory lives on. Another cenotaph is located Manila American Cemetery and Memorial
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